During Apple’s keynote, the company introduced the Apple Watch Series 4. The display is over 30% larger and integrates into the thinner, smaller case, while the new interface provides more information with richer detail. The Apple Watch Series 4 with watchOS 5 brings advanced activity and communications features, along with revolutionary health capabilities, including a new accelerometer and gyroscope, which are able to detect hard falls, and an electrical heart rate sensor that can take an electrocardiogram (ECG) using the new ECG app,1 which has been granted a De Novo classification by the FDA.
The Apple Watch Series 4 represents a fundamental redesign and re-engineering of Apple’s smartwatch. It’s offered in two sizes: 40mm and 44mm. The speaker is 50% louder, optimized for phone calls, Siri and Walkie-Talkie, and the microphone has been relocated, to reduce echo for better sound quality. The device includes the next-generation, Apple designed S4 chip with a custom 64-bit dual-core processor, delivering twice the speed while maintaining the same all-day battery life.
The back of the Apple Watch Series 4 is composed of a black ceramic and sapphire crystal, allowing radio waves to more easily pass through the front and back for better cellular service. The Digital Crown now includes haptic feedback, offering a more mechanical and responsive feel through the sensation of incremental clicks.
The Apple Watch Series 4 enables customers to take an ECG reading right from the wrist using the new ECG app, which takes advantage of the electrodes built into the Digital Crown and new electrical heart rate sensor in the back crystal. With the app, users touch the Digital Crown and after 30 seconds, receive a heart rhythm classification.
It can classify if the heart is beating in a normal pattern or whether there are signs of Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), a heart condition that could lead to major health complications. All recordings, their associated classifications and any noted symptoms are stored in the Health app in a PDF that can be shared with physicians. With watchOS 5, Apple Watch intermittently analyzes heart rhythms in the background and sends a notification if an irregular heart rhythm such as AFib is detected.3 It can also alert the user if the heart rate exceeds or falls below a specified threshold.
Fall detection utilizes a next-generation accelerometer and gyroscope, which measures up to 32 g-forces, along with custom algorithms to identify when hard falls occur. By analyzing wrist trajectory and impact acceleration, Apple Watch sends the user an alert after a fall, which can be dismissed or used to initiate a call to emergency services. If Apple Watch senses immobility for 60 seconds after the notification, it will automatically call emergency services and send a message along with location to emergency contacts.
With watchOS 5, Apple Watch becomes an even better fitness and workout companion, says Williams. Activity competitions allow users to challenge other Apple Watch wearers, automatic workout detection provides an alert to start a workout while giving retroactive credit, and Yoga and Hiking are new dedicated workout types that accurately track active calories burned and exercise minutes earned. Running enthusiasts can take advantage of extended battery life — which is increased to six hours — for outdoor workouts and enjoy high-performance features, including cadence for indoor and outdoor runs, pace alerts for outdoor runs and rolling mile pace, which shows pace for the immediately preceding mile.
The Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS) starts at $399 and Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS + Cellular) starts at $499. The Series 3 will be available at the new starting price of $279. Along with the three aluminum finishes anodized in silver, gold and space gray, the Apple Watch Series 4 now comes in a gold stainless steel with matching Milanese band, joining the silver and space black stainless steel models. A new collection of bands debut for fall and all bands continue to work with any generation of Apple Watch. visit apple.com/watch/.