Apple announced new Apple Watch models at its Gather Round event today at the Steve Jobs Theater in Apple Park. The Apple Watch Series 4 is available in 40mm and 44mm sizes – a step up from the 38mm and 40mm options of previous models – has a thinner body, and comes with a number of next-generation medical heart detection features approved by the FDA.
The new models have screens that are 30 percent larger than previous versions and, combined with a new user interface, allow watch faces to display up to eight complications and native apps to show more information.
The Digital Crown has been reengineered to include haptic feedback for better responsiveness, while the built-in speaker is 50 percent louder to aid walkie talkie use and Siri requests, and the microphone has been relocated, to reduce echo for better sound quality.
Meanwhile, new heart detection features, made possible via a new electrical hear sensor, include the ability to perform electrocardiogram (ECG) readings right out of the box, as well as detect low heart rhythm with background detection for atrial fibrillation, and low heart rate monitoring to detect very low blood flow from the heart.
The back of the Series 4 is made entirely of ceramic and sapphire crystal, with radio waves able to pass freely through the front and rear for better reception when using cellular functions. Despite the new tech, battery life remains on average the same as the previous generation Apple Watch, while running enthusiasts cam look forward to six hours’ battery life when using outdoor workouts.
A new 64-bit Dual Core S4 processor provides up to 2x faster performance over previous generation models, and faster accelerometer and gyroscope technologies allow for better sensitivity, including the ability to detect a physical fall.
By analyzing wrist trajectory and impact acceleration, the Apple Watch Series 4 sends the user an alert after a fall, which can be dismissed or used to initiate a call to emergency services. If the device senses immobility for 60 seconds after the notification, it will automatically call emergency services and send a message along with location to emergency contacts.
The 40mm and 44mm Apple Watch models are available in GPS and GPS + Cellular versions, in Silver, Space Gray, and Gold aluminum case options, and stainless steel options in Silver, Space Black, and Gold (with matching Milanese band).
A new Nike+ collection for Series 4 features redesigned Nike watch faces, which match to the new band colors, including a Pure Platinum/Black Sport Band and a Summit White Sport Loop with reflective yarn. Meanwhile new Hermès variants introduce an assortment of color-blocked bands and watch faces that shift from one color to the other with the passage of the minute hand.
Apple Watch Series 4 pricing starts at $399 for GPS and $499 for LET, while the Series 3 continues to be available but at the new lower price of $280. Orders for the new models and new bands open Friday, September 14, with availability beginning Friday, September 21, in Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UAE, UK and US, with other countries later this year.