Apple Watch Series 4 has new display, ECG app, and fall detection

At today’s “Gather Round” event, Apple introduced the Apple Watch Series 4. While retaining the original design, the fourth-generation smartwatch has been refined, combining new hardware and software enhancements into a singular, unified form, according to Apple Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams.

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The display is over 30% larger and integrates into the thinner, smaller case, while the new interface provides more information with richer detail. The Apple Watch Series 4 with watchOS 5 brings advanced activity and communications features, along with revolutionary health capabilities, including a new accelerometer and gyroscope, which are able to detect hard falls, and an electrical heart rate sensor that can take an electrocardiogram (ECG) using the new ECG app,1 which has been granted a De Novo classification by the FDA, says Williams.

The Apple Watch Series 4 represents a fundamental redesign and re-engineering of Apple’s smartwatch. It’s offered in two sizes: 40mm and 44mm. The speaker is 50% louder, optimized for phone calls, Siri and Walkie-Talkie, and the microphone has been relocated, to reduce echo for better sound quality. The device includes the next-generation, Apple designed S4 chip with a custom 64-bit dual-core processor, delivering twice the speed while maintaining the same all-day battery life.

The back of the Apple Watch Series 4 is composed of a black ceramic and sapphire crystal, allowing radio waves to more easily pass through the front and back for better cellular service. The Digital Crown now includes haptic feedback, offering a more mechanical and responsive feel through the sensation of incremental clicks.

The user interface is optimized for the larger display, allowing for app icons and fonts that are bigger and easier to read, while complications have been beautifully enhanced to be more precise and informative, says Williams. New watch faces take full advantage of the Series 4 display, from the endlessly customizable Infograph face, to the Breathe face, where the animation is timed around a deep breath. Additionally, a suite of motion faces, including Vapor, Liquid Metal, Fire and Water react with the curved edges of the case. 

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The Apple Watch Series 4 enables customers to take an ECG reading right from the wrist using the new ECG app, which takes advantage of the electrodes built into the Digital Crown and new electrical heart rate sensor in the back crystal. With the app, users touch the Digital Crown and after 30 seconds, receive a heart rhythm classification. 

It can classify if the heart is beating in a normal pattern or whether there are signs of Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), a heart condition that could lead to major health complications. All recordings, their associated classifications and any noted symptoms are stored in the Health app in a PDF that can be shared with physicians.

With watchOS 5, Apple Watch intermittently analyzes heart rhythms in the background and sends a notification if an irregular heart rhythm such as AFib is detected.3  It can also alert the user if the heart rate exceeds or falls below a specified threshold.

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Fall detection utilizes a next-generation accelerometer and gyroscope, which measures up to 32 g-forces, along with custom algorithms to identify when hard falls occur. By analyzing wrist trajectory and impact acceleration, Apple Watch sends the user an alert after a fall, which can be dismissed or used to initiate a call to emergency services. If Apple Watch senses immobility for 60 seconds after the notification, it will automatically call emergency services and send a message along with location to emergency contacts.

With watchOS 5, Apple Watch becomes an even better fitness and workout companion, says Williams. Activity competitions allow users to challenge other Apple Watch wearers, automatic workout detection provides an alert to start a workout while giving retroactive credit, and Yoga and Hiking are new dedicated workout types that accurately track active calories burned and exercise minutes earned. Running enthusiasts can take advantage of extended battery life — which is increased to six hours — for outdoor workouts and enjoy high-performance features, including cadence for indoor and outdoor runs, pace alerts for outdoor runs and rolling mile pace, which shows pace for the immediately preceding mile.

Customers can reach their friends with just a tap of the wrist with Walkie-Talkie, a watch-to-watch connection that is an entirely new way to communicate around the world over Wi-Fi or cellular. The Siri watch face offers shortcuts and actionable content from favorite third-party apps. 

watchOS 5 also lets users listen to their favorite podcasts on the go with Apple Podcasts on Apple Watch, and stream any podcast in the catalog by using Siri. With Apple Watch Series 4, enriched complications offer a more detailed view of third-party apps like Dexcom, which allows for continuous glucose monitoring, or Streaks, which shows daily progress on tasks. 

The Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS) starts at $399 and Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS + Cellular) starts at $499. The Series 3 will be available at the new starting price of $279. Along with the three aluminum finishes anodized in silver, gold and space gray, the Apple Watch Series 4 now comes in a gold stainless steel with matching Milanese band, joining the silver and space black stainless steel models. A new collection of bands debut for fall and all bands continue to work with any generation of Apple Watch.

The new collection of Apple Watch Nike+ faces 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. Apple Watch Hermès introduces an elegant assortment of color-blocked bands and exclusive watch faces that shift from one color to the other with the passage of the minute hand.

Customers will be able to order Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS + Cellular) beginning Friday, Sept. 14, with availability beginning Friday, Sept. 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. For carrier availability, visit apple.com/watch/cellular.

Customers will be able to order Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS) beginning Friday, Sept. 14, with availability beginning Friday, Sept. 21, in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jersey, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UAE, UK, US and US Virgin Islands.

The Apple Watch Nike+ will be available to order on apple.com and in the Apple Store app, beginning Friday, Sept. 14, in select countries, with limited availability beginning on Friday, October 5, in Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guam, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Macau, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UAE, UK and US. For more information, visit apple.com/apple-watch-nike or nike.com/applewatch.