EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE APPLE WATCH SERIES 4
HEALTH & MEDICAL FEATURES TAKE CENTER STAGE
This year, I was excited to see Apple debut the Apple Watch Series 4 (as well as a selection of new iPhones) at its annual September event. The Apple Watch has come a long way since its initial release in 2015. Last year, Apple added cellular and GPS capabilities, as well as a water-resistant design (an addition that motivated many of us to upgrade). This year, I was happy to see further improvements to an already incredible device. With the Series 4, the company focused less on dramatic new features and instead on enhancements such as a 64-bit central processing unit (CPU), bigger display, smaller bezel, thinner chassis, louder speaker, and better sensors. But that doesn't mean the Series 4 isn't a dramatically different watch. Thanks to a built-in electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor, this gadget is a healthcare provider's dream—and one that fits on your wrist.
FEATURES & IMPROVEMENTS Health & Safety
Along with the usual hardware improvements we've come to expect from newer devices (e.g. a faster processer) Apple added a number of enhancements connected to health and safety. The new watch features an enhanced accelerometer and gyroscope, making the watch precise enough to detect falls. If the watch detects a fall, it can then dial 911 and share your location (don't worry, it only does this if it detects you are immobile for more than a minute after your fall). The Apple Watch can also take an ECG reading using sensors on the back of the watch as well as sensors in the Digital Crown. If the watch detects a low heart rate, or irregular rhythm (atrial fibrillation), it will then send you an alert notifying you of the irregularities. Apple even earned clearance from the FDA (first of its kind) and had the head of the American Heart Association, Dr. Ivor Benjamin, on stage to endorse the watch.
Compared to previous models, the new Apple Watch also has a more than 30 percent larger screen, thanks to a smaller bezel and a slightly taller frame, but the new watches are also thinner, so they take up less volume overall and lay flatter to your writst. And although new bands will be available for the new watch, your old Apple Watch bands will still fit the newer models as well.
More content is displayed on your watch face with watchOS 5. The larger screen can accommodate more complications (the traditional timepiece term for extra information beyond the time). One complication I liked is the option to add photos of your favorite contacts right on your watch face so you can tap them to connect. Apple will support third-party app content, including graphics, directly on the watch face, such as flight boarding information, stock scores, and heart rate.
Just as Apple's iPhones are getting larger, so is its Apple Watch. As users depend more on these devices, the ability to view more content becomes more important. In both the case of the new iPhone models and the Apple Watch Series 4, Apple has managed to add more screen real estate while reducing the bezel, so the extra screen size doesn't add significantly to the overall size of the device.
The enhancements to the Apple Watch are welcome and could make carrying around an iPhone less important over time. A cellular-connected Apple Watch with a larger screen is now more independent and more useful than ever before, not only for your everyday communication but also for your health.