If your heart’s beating faster, the new Apple Watch Series 4 will be able to tell. The latest Apple Watch packs several new features, with the most obvious change on its surface: a redesigned face to put much more screen on your wrist.
It’s about time.
The tech giant on Wednesday unveiled its new Apple Watch Series 4 from the Steve Jobs Theater in its Apple Park headquarters. The new watch has a larger face, and features its own Electrocardiogram and Fall Detection. It’ll also have new speakers and a processor chip that boasts much faster speeds for the watch.
It’ll start at $399 for the Series 4 model, $499 for the LTE model. Preorders will start on Sept. 14, and the watches will be available on Sept. 21. It starts at AU$599 in Australia for the Series 4 model, and AU$749 for LTE. (We’ll update with UK prices when we have them.)
“Apple Watch is not only the No. 1 smartwatch in the world, it’s the No. 1 watch, period,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said at the event.
Apple doesn’t reveal sales figures for the device, but market researcher IDC estimates that nearly half of the 43.5 million smartwatches shipped this year will come from Apple.
Google’s Wear OS trails behind at 12 percent. And Android Wear, the older version of Google’s watch-optimized software that is still used by some, should total 18 percent of shipments. By 2022, Android Wear and Wear OS combined are expected to catch up to Apple. On Monday, Qualcomm announced its next-generation smartwatch chip platform, which promises better battery life and GPS fitness-tracking improvements.
While not the first company to introduce a smartwatch, Apple immediately made waves in the area when it introduced the first Apple Watch in early 2015. Its most recent version, the Apple Watch Series 3 with a 4G LTE modem, hit the market late last year.
The smartwatches have grown with more capabilities each upgrade, as WatchOS 5, revealed in June at WWDC, introduced watch-to-watch walkie-talkie mode, and audio from third-party apps on the go. Previous improvements for the Apple Watch included GPS and adding water resistance for swimming.
The watch’s accelerometer and gyroscope has improved so that the watch can now predict if the person wearing it is falling. If there’s an accident, the watch can prompt a call to emergency services, for example.
“Fall detection is a feature that we hope you never need but it’s really nice to know it’s there,” Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer said.
The speakers are now also 50 percent louder, while the screen is 30 percent larger. Its new chip, the S4, will have the watch performing twice as fast. With the larger screen, you can have up to 8 shortcuts on the screen for apps. The speakers will now be 50 percent louder for phone calls and interacting with Siri. The battery life boasts 18 hours, and outdoor workout time has increased to 6 hours, Apple said.
The feature that received the most applause in the crowd came in response to the electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) feature, which allows wearers to have a heart sensor on their wrists.
“The biggest feature add to Watch besides the larger viewable image area was its heart health features, in particular, its ability to perform an ECG and also can detect AFib. Add that to fall detection and notification and I can see kids buying one for their parents and grandparents,” Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy, said.
It’ll come in three colors for its aluminum finish, in silver, gold and space gray. The stainless steel versions have polished black and space black, as well as a new gold color.
Updated On September 12 at 10:12 a.m. PT: With details from the Apple Event, at 10:36 a.m. PT: with prices and release date added, at 10:42 a.m. PT: with comments from analysts, at 10:57 a.m. PT: To include details on ECG, at 12:24 p.m. PT: With details on the screen size, at 12:56 p.m. PT: With hands-on video of the Apple Watch 4.
: The company will host an event on Wednesday, Sept. 12 at the Steve Jobs Theater.
: Apple has sent the invites out and there’s an event in less than two weeks.