Apple has just announced the Watch Series 4, and it is — naturally — better than its predecessor(s). For one, the new wearable bigger, fancier and packs more features.
The Apple Watch Series 4 looks different than Series 3, which was pretty much the same as Series 1 and 2.
Let's delve into details…
Size wise, instead of the 38mm and 42mm models, the Watch Series 4 comes in 40mm and 44mm flavors to accommodate 35% and 32% bigger panels, respectively. This change has also been reflected in the new version of watchOS (5), which is taking advantage of the extra screen estate to show more information. Unfortunately though, always-on display feature is still missing, but we assume the reason for that is the battery life.
Another slight change is in the materials used — all Series 4 units will come with ceramic and sapphire backs, not just an LTE-enabled model as that was the case with Watch Series 3. Furthermore, the crown got haptic feedback which should reportedly make rotating it more enjoyable and functional. Also, the speaker is said to be 50% louder.
The Watch Series 4 is compatible with all the straps released before, and users can now also opt for the Gold Stainless finish design, as well as one of new leather straps.
Inside the Apple Watch Series 4 there's an all-new Apple S4 chipset, incorporating a dual-core 64-bit CPU and a more powerful GPU. This combo will apparently deliver up to 2x better performance compared to the Series 3.
When it comes to battery, Apple was scarce on details, saying that users should not expect any changes despite the bigger screen. That's the same 18 hours of battery life of mixed usage, with Bluetooth 5.0 LE connectivity doing its magic to help preserve juice.
All of the usual sensors are still there to keep up with "every move you make." There are some important differences, which will help Apple further cement its dominant position as the wearable of choice for healthcare applications. Which leads us to next sections…
The Watch Series 4 packs a more advanced gyroscope sensor that is not only in charge of motion tracking, but has also allowed Apple to develop an algorithm for detecting a fall. So if the user falls from a ladder, the Watch will prompt him/her with a message asking to call 911. If nothing happens for more than 5 seconds, Siri will call an ambulance automatically. This feature alone makes the new Apple Watch an ideal wearable for senior population (as well as other iPhone owners).
Another health feature of the new Apple Watch is the built-in ECG (electrocardiography) monitor that promises vastly improved heart rate tracking capabilities. The capability has been approved by the FDA, and it works by putting your finger for 30 seconds on the crown, which in turn is connected to the electrodes positioned on the back; the readouts are shown through a dedicated ECG app. This allows for more advanced features like tracking heart rate rhythm irregularities.
The important thing to note is that ECG functionality will not arrive at launch, and will be added later this year. Also, it will be limited to the US market until further notice. We're guessing, the Cupertino-based giant wants to get appropriate regulatory clearances before being able to sell it in other parts of the world.
Pricing and availability
In the U.S. – the Apple Watch Series 4 without LTE connectivity starts at $399 while the $499 LTE version begins at $499, both of which will be made available on Friday, September 21. Pre-orders have already started.
The new Watch Series 4 will launch in 26 countries initially while the cellular version will be supported in only 16 countries.
Apple will also offer Series 3 for some time at a reduced the price of $279; the watchOS 5 will be released on September 17 with updated UI and app features.