Today, Apple announced the next generation version of its smartwatch line. The Apple Watch Series 4 is the first major redesign for the smartwatch since it launched in 2015. It brings a ton of new hardware and software features, including many new fitness and health-related additions.
A new thinner look, but a bigger display for new watch faces
The Apple Watch 4 has a thinner case compared to Apple’s previous smartwatches, but a much bigger display too. The 40mm version’s display is 35 percent larger than older Apple Watches, while the 44mm case has a 32 percent larger screen.
Apple designed some new watch faces for the larger display for the Apple Watch 4. Some of the faces can shows as many as 8 different things you may want to keep track of, like the current time, your next appointment, your fitness stats, and more. Some watch faces can show things like your boarding pass. It even converted the popular Breath app into three different watch faces for people who want to get into their calm state.
New hardware features: faster processor, new haptic crown
The hardware inside the Apple Watch 4 includes the S4, new custom 64-bit processor, along with a GPU. The company claims the S4 chip inside the Apple Watch 4 will offer up to two times the performance compared to previous versions.
The digital crown on the side of the Apple Watch 4 now offers haptic feedback, allowing owners to quickly go through apps, or even features inside those apps, such as looking at new calendar appointments and more. The speaker in the Apple Watch 4 is supposed to be 50 percent louder compared to previous versions.
The back of the new watch is made of black ceramic and sapphire crystal, which is supposed to make the Apple Watch 4 detect cellular signals better. Finally, the Apple Watch 4’s improved accelerometer gyroscope can actually detect if you fall down to the ground and send out a call to alert emergency services if you don’t appear to be move for more than a minute.
The Apple Watch 4’s battery is supposed to last up to 18 hours on a single charge, which is about the same compared to previous versions. However, the battery charge time for outdoor fitness use has been increased to up to six hours.
The improved heart rate sensor includes a built-in ECG
The Apple Watch 4 includes improvements to its optical heart rate sensor. It can now detect if your heart rate is lower than it should be, and it can also monitor your heart rhythm. It will even alert you if it detects an atrial fibrillation in your heart, so you can go to a doctor to check it out.
However, the biggest new heart sensor feature is the addition of electrodes around the optical sensor. This will allow the Apple Watch 4 to create your own personal electrocardiogram (ECG). Apple says this is the first such ECG device offered over the counter, directly to consumers. You can share your ECG from your Apple Watch 4 with your doctor so he or she can see if you have any heart-related issues.
Things like alerts for an irregular heart rhythm, along with other such heart-related alerts, have been approved by the Federal Drug Administration. They will be officially added to the smartwatch later this fall. Apple claims all of your medical and fitness data gathered by the Apple Watch 4 is safely encrypted and stored both on the watch and Apple’s cloud servers.
Prices, launch dates, colors and availablity
The Apple Watch 4 will open for pre-orders on Sept. 14, with the standard GPS version starting at $399 in the U.S., and the cellular-enabled one starting at $499. They officially go on sale Sept 21. Apple will launch the standard version in 26 markets, and the cellular version in 16.
The Apple Watch 4 comes in silver, gold, and space gray varieties, along with stainless steel and space black stainless steel. It will also come in a new gold stainless steel model for the first time. Apple will also sell its Nike and Hermes editions of the Apple Watch 4, as it has for previous versions, with their own bands and watch faces.
All of the bands made for previous Apple Watch models will also work with the Apple Watch 4.
Watch OS5 Update and Apple Watch 3 price cut
For those who already own an Apple Watch, the Watch OS5 update will begin rolling out to supported devices starting Sept. 17. It will be available for all of the previous Apple Watch models except the first generation version, which launched in 2016. In addition, the company announced it will continue selling the current smartwatch model, the Apple Watch 3, with a new lower price starting at $279.
Those are the big highlights for the Apple Watch 4. It’s certainly a huge upgrade compared to previous models. Are you planning to get the new Apple Watch 4?