Everything you need to know about Apple Watch Series 4

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited September 2018
While you wait for your order to arrive, or are thinking about an upgrade, AppleInsider takes you through all of the new features packed into the overhauled Apple Watch Series 4.






Of all Apple's big announcements during their September "Gather Round" event, the Apple Watch was arguably the most exciting. The Series 4 marks the first physical redesign of the Apple Watch since it was first released.

Many updates -- inside and out

Apple Watch Series 4 Display


The biggest feature is the new, nearly edge-to-edge display which garners more than 30 percent more usable real estate. Series 4 also has an updated casing that has more subtly rounded corners to match that of the display, and even manages to be slightly thinner.

If you have a lot of bands, don't worry, all existing watch bands will still fit. The 38mm bands fit the new 40mm size, and the older 42mm bands fit the 44mm.

Apple Watch Series 4 Display


To go with the larger display, Apple has re-worked many of the UI elements, including updating existing watch faces and including new ones. Developers are able to include new aspects to their complications, such as to accommodate the rounded corners or the larger space on the updated Infograph Modular watch face.

Apple Watch Series 4 Digital Crown


Apple signature Digital Crown now has an entirely new mechanism with haptic feedback given as it is rotated, allowing for even greater precision. It is both 30 percent smaller than the last generation, while using 21 percent more parts.

Within the updated Digital Crown is a sensor, which is also present on the rear of the watch. Touching both of these electronic sensors at the same time completes the circuit and makes another new feature possible -- an ECG. The screen will count you down and give you the results of your ECG and any potential abnormalities it detects.

Apple Watch Series 4 ECG Heart Rate


The ECG is only one of a few new heart health monitoring features. Series 4 is also able to detect low heart rate as well as AFib. Unfortunately, some of these new features won't be available at launch, and instead will show up in a future software update.

Inside is a new second generation accelerometer with twice the dynamic range, with sampling happening eight times more frequently, and capable of measuring up to 32G. Thanks to that, Apple Watch Series 4 can now detect falls. In particular, it can detect straight down falls, slips, and trips.

If it detects a fall, an alert will appear on the Apple Watch. If you're ok, the alert can be dismissed. Otherwise, you can alert emergency services with the watch's SOS feature.

In a situation where you may be unresponsive, Apple Watch will alert emergency services and send your location to your emergency contact if it fails to detect any movement within 60 seconds.

Other improvements include 50 percent louder speakers, new and rearranged microphones, a seriously fast 64-bit S4 processor, better cellular reception, and Bluetooth 5.

Where to buy


Apple Watch Series 4 Herms


Apple Watch Series 4 comes in several different finishes, and two different sizes. The larger screen is now 44mm whereas the smaller is 40mm (up from 42mm and 38mm before).

In aluminum, Series 4 comes in silver, space gray, and for the first time a gold color. The stainless comes in similar options, silver, gold, and space black -- all glossy options.

Orders have already opened and if you want to get one for yourself, they start off at $399 for the base GPS-only, aluminum, 40mm with sports band. The ceramic "Edition" model is gone, but for those looking for something more upscale, Apple has several Hermes options available that top out at $1,499.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 41
    I'm buying. Wasn't planning to until the event, but it changed my mind.
    zompcaladanianlolliverpslicenetmagetoysandmeredgeminipaJWSCjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 41
    I think eventually I'm gonna replace my Series 0 with this. Just gotta catch up a little bit financially. For me it's time for a new watch. 
    caladanianlollivernetmageredgeminipajony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 41
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,433member
    1 )I don't see it mentioned, but I've read that the 40mm Watch display is larger than the old 42mm Watch display. I'm going for the 44mm, but for those that felt that 42mm was probably your max size the 40mm will still be a nice upgrade without losing any display area.

    2) It looks like the Series 4 Watch stole the show this year.
    edited September 2018 caladanianStrangeDayslolliveriqatedojony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 41
    I skipped the series 3 watch as the only thing new in it was cellular and that would increase my monthly cell bill by $10 a month if I turned it on. But the series 4 has a ton of new features plus as mine is going on three years I would guess that its battery will need replacing soon. I got the cellular version just in case I decide that I want it but you don't have have to turn it on. Plus I really like the Black Nike Sport loop band and Apple is giving me $125 for my old series 2 watch. I'm hoping that I can keep the Nike band that came with my Nike series 2 watch along with its charger when I send my old watch back for a credit.
    caladanianwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 41
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,433member
    tzterri said:
    I skipped the series 3 watch as the only thing new in it was cellular and that would increase my monthly cell bill by $10 a month if I turned it on. But the series 4 has a ton of new features plus as mine is going on three years I would guess that its battery will need replacing soon. I got the cellular version just in case I decide that I want it but you don't have have to turn it on. Plus I really like the Black Nike Sport loop band and Apple is giving me $125 for my old series 2 watch. I'm hoping that I can keep the Nike band that came with my Nike series 2 watch along with its charger when I send my old watch back for a credit.
    Depending on your location, emergency services (9-1-1, for me) will still work even if you don't ever link it to your cellular plan.
    StrangeDayslollivercgWerksh4y3swatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 41
    Soli said:
    1 )I don't see it mentioned, but I've read that the 40mm Watch display is larger than the old 42mm Watch display. I'm going for the 44mm, but for those that felt that 42mm was probably your max size the 40mm will still be a nice upgrade without losing any display area.

    2) It looks like the Series 4 Watch stole the show this year.
    Yes, it is. Here is the data straight from Apple: https://www.apple.com/lae/watch/compare/
    netmagewatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 41
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,316member
    Soli said:
    1 )I don't see it mentioned, but I've read that the 40mm Watch display is larger than the old 42mm Watch display. I'm going for the 44mm, but for those that felt that 42mm was probably your max size the 40mm will still be a nice upgrade without losing any display area.

    2) It looks like the Series 4 Watch stole the show this year.
    Yes, it is. Here is the data straight from Apple: https://www.apple.com/lae/watch/compare/


    I'll be very interested to see how they handle text size and wrapping with the rounded corners. This is how it's handled on the current watches:



    If they merely scale this to the larger window, it will be cut off in the corners when scrolling. And note the default system size text -- will it be the same to accommodate more text in the new space, or will it be upscaled to be more legible in the larger display area?
    edited September 2018
  • Reply 8 of 41
    tipootipoo Posts: 994member
    Bonus stuff: From Longhorn (twitter), the 64 bit cores used in here are the same as the little cores in the A12, and it runs in arm64_32, using the better ARMv8 ISA without increasing memory use with 64 bit pointers. 
    iqatedowatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 41
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,433member
    mac_128 said:
    Soli said:
    1 )I don't see it mentioned, but I've read that the 40mm Watch display is larger than the old 42mm Watch display. I'm going for the 44mm, but for those that felt that 42mm was probably your max size the 40mm will still be a nice upgrade without losing any display area.

    2) It looks like the Series 4 Watch stole the show this year.
    Yes, it is. Here is the data straight from Apple: https://www.apple.com/lae/watch/compare/

    I really dislike that image. To me, this is much cleaner and more attractive.



    tipooStrangeDaysDAalseththtanantksundaramredgeminipawatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 41
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,316member

    eightzero said:
    I'm buying. Wasn't planning to until the event, but it changed my mind.
    I was going to buy my mom the Series 3 LTE when the price came down, until I saw the keynote with fall detection, and auto 911 if non responsive. This is brilliant and a major game changer, whatever the cost.
    lolliverredgeminipawatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 41
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,433member
    mac_128 said:
    eightzero said:
    I'm buying. Wasn't planning to until the event, but it changed my mind.
    I was going to buy my mom the Series 3 LTE when the price came down, until I saw the keynote with fall detection, and auto 911 if non responsive. This is brilliant and a major game changer, whatever the cost.
    I wonder how many lives will be saved from these new health features. The heart rate sensor has saved many (including people on this forum), and I think the feature that detects an issue and let the wear known something is wrong only came with watchOS 3.0.
    lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 41
    Soli said:
    mac_128 said:
    Soli said:
    1 )I don't see it mentioned, but I've read that the 40mm Watch display is larger than the old 42mm Watch display. I'm going for the 44mm, but for those that felt that 42mm was probably your max size the 40mm will still be a nice upgrade without losing any display area.

    2) It looks like the Series 4 Watch stole the show this year.
    Yes, it is. Here is the data straight from Apple: https://www.apple.com/lae/watch/compare/

    I really dislike that image. To me, this is much cleaner and more attractive.



    While still being in slight “moral conflict” about whether the new model justifies replacing my gen 3 I i itially thought that I might move from the current 42(.5) mm version to the new 40 mm as i have small wrists. However, over the last days I more tho l about the bigger one since a) it’s not THAT much bigger (and the 42 are ok on me), and b) I feel that any increase in screen real estate - while coming at a certain trade off (such as loosing one handed phone usage) - in the end had a greater benefit over all for me. And I feel he AW will do more and more than telling time, weather and notifications. Heck, I can imagine to largely leave my phone in my pocket as dictation for texting works really well and even the occasional image or possibly some website might be manageable when brain laziness kicks in and wants to let the phone stay where it is. 
    lolliverdws-2watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 41
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,433member
    While still being in slight “moral conflict” about whether the new model justifies replacing my gen 3 I i itially thought that I might move from the current 42(.5) mm version to the new 40 mm as i have small wrists. However, over the last days I more tho l about the bigger one since a) it’s not THAT much bigger (and the 42 are ok on me), and b) I feel that any increase in screen real estate - while coming at a certain trade off (such as loosing one handed phone usage) - in the end had a greater benefit over all for me. And I feel he AW will do more and more than telling time, weather and notifications. Heck, I can imagine to largely leave my phone in my pocket as dictation for texting works really well and even the occasional image or possibly some website might be manageable when brain laziness kicks in and wants to let the phone stay where it is. 
    There's no debate for me. Not only is more display welcome, I believe that in time (like with the iPhone) we'll see a desire for even larger display on wrist and and the only way to really grow that space (before we get to holograms and 3D imaging) will be moving from portrait mode to landscape mode. It may seem ridiculous today to have 50mm/2" wide display on our wrist, but I don't think that will be the case in a decade. They will have to redesign how their Watch bands fit—and people will bitch and moan, just like they did when Apple moved from the 30-pin connector to Lightning even though they used it for about a decade.
    edited September 2018 lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 41
    It’s still not edge to edge design, there’s a curved bezel now. I’m sure in the next design or 2 they will do the full no bezel.
  • Reply 15 of 41
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,433member
    It’s still not edge to edge design, there’s a curved bezel now. I’m sure in the next design or 2 they will do the full no bezel.
    I don't think the tech is available to make that happen and I don't expect that to happen for a long time, if ever (depending on how you define the edge of the Watch). I think this display size, PPI, and casing footprint are locked in for several more years.
    edited September 2018 lollivernetmagewatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 41
    Soli said:

    2) It looks like the Series 4 Watch stole the show this year.
    Well...I'll be buying a new iPhone too. The more I look at the Xr the more I think that will suit my needs for an upgrade from my iPhone 7. And it fits my timeframe too. 

    But yeah, AW4 is a big deal.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 41
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,316member
    It’s still not edge to edge design, there’s a curved bezel now. I’m sure in the next design or 2 they will do the full no bezel.
    Edge to Edge is relative to the case. Even the iPhone Xx series is not edge to edge (to say nothing of the notch). But it could have been had Apple chosen a different manner of construction and wrapped the edge of the case over the bezel, rather than glue the screen to the case from the top (which also requires a bezel as an attachment point. The watch is the same construction.

    That said, I'm still surprised Apple did not maximize what's possible with current technology. Look at this graphic comparison below with the 42mm Huawei watch from 4 years ago, when the Apple Watch bezel was massive (brown). Note how the construction differs -- in the case of the Huawei (shape notwithstanding), the bezel is much thinner, and is hidden by the steel ring. While Apple narrowed the gap with the 44mm (orange), they still didn't go as far as the Huawei (rust), and due to Apple's glue-down construction would still have had a bezel. But they could have chosen to sink the display into the watch, and wrap the metal edges of the watch over what little bezel there was. This of course would have made the watch harder to repair any screen damage. So there's a trade off -- still Apple could have made the active display area larger than they did. And certainly they took their time doing it -- 4 generations after Huawei was doing it. The good news is that Apple can still maximize the active display area a little with this design in the future, though I'm not sure they can ever eliminate the bezel entirely as long as they glue down the crystal, even if it were otherwise possible.




    As for the curved bezel, I really do wonder what they plan to do with presenting data. In the graphic below, note this text wrapping screen from the 42mm watch as it appears now, scaled up to the corners of the new 44mm, and then scaled up to the full active display area. It creates a bit of a quandary with those rounded corners really causing a problem with maximizing the space for text. If the text is to avoid wrapping pitfalls and inconsistent cropping, they really can't enlarge the text area much more than what they have now. I'll be very interested to see what they do with this. If text wrapping is constrained to a central area to avoid being cropped by the round corners, then I'm not sure what the point of having a larger display area is, or limiting it to a rectangular shape (then again, maybe that's the point).




    EDIT: it appears as though Apple intends to crop scrolled text in the corners. I’m stunned that the time is clipped like that — maybe still a beta version?


    edited September 2018 netmage
  • Reply 18 of 41
    Soli said:
    While still being in slight “moral conflict” about whether the new model justifies replacing my gen 3 I i itially thought that I might move from the current 42(.5) mm version to the new 40 mm as i have small wrists. However, over the last days I more tho l about the bigger one since a) it’s not THAT much bigger (and the 42 are ok on me), and b) I feel that any increase in screen real estate - while coming at a certain trade off (such as loosing one handed phone usage) - in the end had a greater benefit over all for me. And I feel he AW will do more and more than telling time, weather and notifications. Heck, I can imagine to largely leave my phone in my pocket as dictation for texting works really well and even the occasional image or possibly some website might be manageable when brain laziness kicks in and wants to let the phone stay where it is. 
    There's no debate for me. Not only is more display welcome, I believe that in time (like with the iPhone) we'll see a desire for even larger display on wrist and and the only way to really grow that space (before we get to holograms and 3D imaging) will be moving from portrait mode to landscape mode. It may seem ridiculous today to have 50mm/2" wide display on our wrist, but I don't think that will be the case in a decade. They will have to redesign how their Watch bands fit—and people will bitch and moan, just like they did when Apple moved from the 30-pin connector to Lightning even though they used it for about a decade.
    I agree. I’m just not sure how to power all these displays (glasses included, and other wearables to come). “Distributed” devices where hardware elements are decoupled (and spread out over your body if you like) using low energy communications is one key element from my POV.  However, battery tech, or energy more generally speaking, remind thw biggest challenge IMO. maybe using all energy sources such as motion, solar energy, body heat etc may be one way to go. Until true charging over the air is as ubiquitous as WiFi appears to be soon. 
    Thongs Ike size and shape of an AW display are just minor obvious steps. Just like elimination of headphone jack etc. the only thing I hope is that it will be Apple surprising us with one more revaluation. ;)
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 41
    Do you need an AW with cellular for the fall detection call emergency services feature to work? Or will it just route through your phone?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 41
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,433member
    mac_128 said:
    EDIT: it appears as though Apple intends to crop scrolled text in the corners. I’m stunned that the time is clipped like that — maybe still a beta version?


    Where did you see that? Is that from the video? I checked their website and I saw no layout issues with the Series 4 Watch.

    DAalseth said:
    Do you need an AW with cellular for the fall detection call emergency services feature to work? Or will it just route through your phone?
    It goes through your iPhone via BT if you don't have a cellular model.
    edited September 2018 DAalsethlolliverwatto_cobra
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