iPhones aren't the only new devices at Apple's Gather Round event. The Cupertino company also presented us with the Apple Watch Series 4. It boasts a redesigned UI, more complications, an integrated electrocardiogram, bigger display, thinner case and more. See what's new in our recap below.
We'll be updating this article continuously with the latest information.
Edge-to-edge display, thinner case
Apple CEO Tim Cook invited Jeff Williams onstage to talk about Apple Watch, and the three key ways it can affect its users: connectivity, health and fitness. With this in mind, the next generation of the Apple Watch was presented: the Series 4. Unsurprisingly, it looks just like the leaks we've seen leading up to the event, including the edge-to-edge, bezel-free display with new sizes: 40mm and 44mm. The displays are over 30% larger as a result, and the watches are thinner.
Design changes and more complications
Apart from larger display sizes, not much else has changed on the surface when it comes to the design of the new generation of Apple Watch. There's a new hole beside the crown of the watch for the new microphone, and the crown itself bears a thin, red outline of the iconic red circle which was added on the Series 3. The crown now includes haptic feedback, and there's a black ceramic back with a sapphire crystal display.
Classic Apple: the clean, minimalist stage presentation.— Vlad Savov (@vladsavov) September 12, 2018
Less so: the overwhelming busyness of that watch face. pic.twitter.com/YjNJBb91kO
However, the biggest change in the look of the Series 3 is the redesigned UI and that you can have a lot more information displayed on the watch face. With the bigger displays comes more room for complications, up to 8 of them. You can even add your family and friend's faces as complications so you can connect with them more quickly.
Whether this overloads things or ends up making the watch more convenient to use, we'll have to find out when we get our hands on one ourselves. For now, CNET has posted a video of their hands-on, comparing the Series 4 side-by-side with the Series 3 and it makes the bezel reduction all the more obvious. In the video, you can also see some of the UI tweaks and cool new watch faces, like the one with colorful animated steam or water splashing around.
Under the hood upgrades: S4 processor and ECG
The Apple Watch Series 4 will have a new S4 dual-core processor, an improvement over the S3 of the previous generation. The new accelerometer and gyroscope have twice the dynamic range and can sample motion data much faster, making it able to detect falls and automatically notify emergency contacts and services.
There's also a focus on detecting heart anomalies. The Apple Watch also now has a built-in ECG (electrocardiogram). The feature will roll out in the US later this year. It can help detect and classify heart rhythms using the new S4, even atrial fibrillation, and give you the data in an accessible way to share with your doctor. The ECG and heart-related alert notifications also have FDA clearance.
Same old battery life
What makes or breaks user experience for many smartwatches is battery life. If a device can't make it through the day, then it's a huge pain. From the Series 1 to the Series 3, Apple has claimed its smartwatches could last up to 18 hours. Of course, your mileage may vary. Apple claims the Series 4 will have the same 18-hour staying power as before.
Apple Watch Series 4 technical specifications
|Dimensions:||40 x 34 x 10.7 mm
44 x 38 x 10.7 mm
|Screen:||394 x 324 pixels (1 ppi)
448 x 368 pixels (1 ppi)
|Number of cores:||2|
|Max. clock speed:||0.64 GHz|
Don't forget about WatchOS 5's new features
The new features of the latest version of the software powering Apple's smarwatches were already unveiled in June at WWDC, Apple's annual developer conference, and weren't really reiterated during the Series 4 announcement. Nevertheless, let's not overlook them.
WatchOS 5 lets you use your Apple Watch as a walkie-talkie, a feature that will bring out the child in all of us. Plus, it adds support for new sports, like yoga and hiking, in addition to the ability to automatically detect that you're working out and which activity you're doing. For motivation, you can also enter a competition mode with your friends to challenge them to see who collects the most activity points. To talk to Siri, you just have to lift your wrist. There's no need to say "Hey Siri" into the device anymore to get its attention. To make the watch more useful, interactive notifications have been added, which will work with Apple Pay and checking into a flight from the watch, for example.
Pricing and availability
The old Apple Watch Series 3 pricing started at $329 for the GPS version and $399 for the cellular. The Apple Watch Series 4 will cost about the same, starting at $399 (with GPS only) and $499 (with cellular). the Series 3 gets a discount, of course, and it's now $279. You can order the Series 4 starting Friday, and it will be available the following Friday, September 21st.
This time around, there will be both GPS-only and cellular variants again, along with the usual Nike and Hermès collaborations. The Series 4 cases will come in Space Gray, Silver and Gold aluminum, plus a new Gold stainless steel option. Furthermore, there will also be a gold Milanese band available for the first time.
Let us know what you think of the new Apple Watch in the comments below!