The Apple Watch received its biggest update yet this morning with the announcement of Apple Watch Series 4.
Not only does it pack a bigger display, but Apple is also adding new health sensors and new internal tech. All the updates make it the fastest, biggest, most beautiful wearable on the block.
In its short existence, Apple Watch has gone from a niche wearable to become the most popular watch in the world. Now it’s about to become even more indispensable with the first ever Food and Drug Administration-approved electrocardiogram being sold directly to consumers.
“We’re thrilled with how much the Apple Watch has grown in such a short time,” Tim Cook told the audience during today’s Gather Round keynote, which the company streamed from Steve Jobs Theater on its Cupertino campus.
Bigger Apple Watch screen
Apple Watch Series 4 pushes the display right to the edges. The screens are more than 30 percent larger and come in 40mm and 44mm sizes. Despite being bigger, the casing for the Apple Watch Series 4 is smaller than previous models.
Series 4 packs a new optical heart sensor. Now it comes with three new heart features. The first is a notification if your heart rate is too low. Second, Series 4 can screen your heart rhythm and will send you a notification if it detects an irregular heart rhythm. And last, Apple Watch Series 4 can diagnose your heart rhythm.
The third feature is made possible by the electrocardiogram on the back. It’s the first ECG product offered over the counter directly to consumers. To use the ECG, you just tap the Digital Crown. It takes about 30 seconds for the watch to measure your heartbeat patterns. All info is stored in the Health app and can be shared with your doctor.
Apple’s ECG has already been cleared by the FDA, which is a first for any company.
Enhanced, mechanical Digital Crown
The Digital Crown has been completely re-engineered to give wearers haptic feedback. The speaker has also been updated to be 50 percent louder, which is great when you’re talking to Siri or using the walkie-talkie mode.
The back of Series 4 is made entirely of ceramic and sapphire crystal. This allows signals to pass from the front and the back to improve GPS and LTE.
All-day battery life
Despite getting a host of new features and hardware, Apple Watch Series 4 still brings all-day battery life. For outdoor workouts, you’ll get six hours of tracking, which isn’t good enough if you’re into running 100-mile races, but it’ll get the job done for just about everybody else.
More complicated Apple Watch faces
The thing that might stand out the most on the Apple Watch Series 4 is how many complications fit on its bigger display. There’s a new watch face with up to eight different complications. Each one can be completely customized so you can focus on productivity, friends or health.
Apple updated the Modular Face, too, so you can use third-party apps with it. You can glance at your fitness progress, calendar or flight plans. Of course, you’ll also be able to choose a more simplified watch face if you find the new one to be way too busy, but all those options will be nice.
New dynamic watch faces interact with the side of the display. There’s one for fire, water and vapor that look really beautiful.
Faster S4 processor
Series 4 contains a tiny new S4 chip. It contains a dual-core 64-bit processor. It’s up to two times faster than the previous S3 chip. The accelerator and gyroscope have also been updated with next-gen chips that have two times the dynamic range. Apple added a new trick that allows the watch to detect falls, which sounds like it should be easy, but Apple says it’s actually really complicated.
Apple Watch Series 4 with GPS is priced at $399. With cellular, it starts at $499. Preorders start Friday and the wearable will be available in stores September 21.