Apple showed off its Apple Watch Series 4 today at an event in Cupertino, California. I was there to watch the event and stayed to get my hands-on with the device. The watch face is infinitely customizable with different faces, and you have a wide choice of bands, as you had with prior models.
The watch has a new S4 chip that is twice as fast as the previous version, and it has a new gyroscope that can detect whether you’ve fallen down. The screen is a third bigger, and that helps you dig into the details at a glance. You can read all the specs on Apple’s site, but one cool thing about getting a hands-on was that I could feel the haptic feedback on my thumb and finger as I turned the digital crown of the watch.
Apple started its HealthKit initiative back in 2014, and it has had an iOS health app for a while. It partnered with the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins through its ResearchKit platform to allow large studies to use data from iOS device users.
The device has a new watch face, dubbed Breathe, that helps you do breathing exercises. It recommends that you take a break and a deep breath every now and then.
If you do fall, an emergency services screen appears, and you can call for help with a single tap. If you don’t move for more than a minute, it will call 911 for you.
The device has an electric heart-rate sensor. If your heart rate is too low, the watch sends you a notification. If it detects heart rhythm irregularities, it can also send a notification. Finally, you can do electrocardiograms in 30 seconds with the Watch crown. While the ECG feature has approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the app hasn’t launched yet.
The new device costs $400 with GPS service, or $500 with GPS and cellular service. I’ve got an older watch and I really pay attention to whether I complete my daily recommended activity for exercise, movement, and standing. This new watch can be a big step up over that, and your doctor may be interested in the data for proactive care.
You can preorder the Apple Watch Series 4 on September 14, and it will be available on September 21. The S4 chip has 64-bit processing and two CPU cores.