Apple executives took to the stage this morning to officially announce the highly-anticipated Apple Watch Series 4.
At Apple’s “Gather Round” event this morning at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the “Apple Watch isn’t just the number one smartwatch, it’s the number one watch in the world period” before introducing COO Jeff Williams.
“We’re thrilled Apple Watch has become an essential part of people’s lives,” said Williams. “The completely redesigned Apple Watch Series 4 continues to be an indispensable communication and fitness companion, and now with the addition of groundbreaking features, like fall detection and the first-ever ECG app offered directly to consumers, it also becomes an intelligent guardian for your health.”
The fourth generation Apple Watch, aptly dubbed the Apple Watch Series 4, sticks with the usual square-faced, minimalist form factor, but improves how much info can be squeezed on to a tiny display as well as the watch’s health-tracking capabilities.
The primary feature Apple highlighted with this new smartwatch is its health-related abilities. The new Apple Watch is geared towards fitness; tracking heart rate, tracking drastic changes, reminders — the Apple Watch Series 4 is an “intelligent guardian for your health.” The Apple Watch Series 4 can even track a fall, which is the leading cause of injury in the United States.
Three new heart rate features have been added including low heart rate notification, joining the High Heart Rate notification feature. The watch now regularly screens for heart rhythm irregularities, and now features electrodes within the rear sensor crystal that enables users to take an electrocardiogram (ECG) using the Digital Crown as a lead. According to Apple, the Apple Watch Series 4 is the first over-the-counter ECG product available to consumers.
It’s important to note that Apple says the ECG and heart rate features will be available only to US-based customers starting “later this year,” and requires separate approvals from other countries.
As far as the display, the watch’s new screen, which is 30% larger than its predecessor’s, now spans nearly from edge to edge, allowing for a higher resolution than ever before. This extended real estate allows watchOS 5 to display more information through Apple’s built-in app complications.
Inside is Apple’s brand-new S4 dual-core 64-bit processor, delivering up to twice the performance than its predecessor. Other hardware improvements include an updated accelerometer, gyroscope, twice the dynamic range of sensing, and the ability to withstand up to 32 Gs of force.
Apple has changed a few things on the watch’s body, including a newly-placed microphone placed between the side button and Digital Crown, allowing for clearer voice sensing. The Digital Crown has been redesigned to include haptic feedback with each motion, and no longer sticks out from the body as much as it did with the Series 3.
The Apple Watch Series 4 is, for the first time ever, available in brand new casing sizes: 40mm and 44mm. The new models come silver, space gray, and gold aluminum versions, as well as silver, space gray, and gold stainless steel versions. The watch will ship in separate GPS and Cellular versions, like its predecessor.
As far as watch bands go, the Cupertino company is introducing a number of new styles, including new colours for previously-released models like the Sport Band, Sport Loop, Leather Loop, Milanese Loop, Modern Buckle, Stainless Steel Band, Nike Band, and Hermès bands. These bands will fit both the 40mm and 44mm models, but older bands will also work for the new models.
Apple will release the Apple Watch Series 4 starting at $519 CAD, with cellular models starting at $649 CAD. The watches will be available to preorder Friday, and will ship on September 21. Apple’s watchOS 5 operating system will become available on September 17.
Full Canadian pricing is below:
- Apple Watch Series 4 Aluminium Case with Sport Band/Sport Loop, 40mm: $519
- Apple Watch Series 4 Aluminium Case with Sport Band/Sport Loop + Cellular, 40mm: $649
- Apple Watch Series 4 Aluminium Case with Sport Band/Sport Loop, 44mm: $559
- Apple Watch Series 4 Aluminium Case with Sport Band/Sport Loop + Cellular, 44mm: $689
- Apple Watch Series 4 Steel Case with Sport Band + Cellular, 40mm: $929
- Apple Watch Series 4 Steel Case with Sport Band + Cellular, 44mm: $989
- Apple Watch Series 4 Steel Case with Milanese Loop + Cellular 40mm: $1059
- Apple Watch Series 4 Steel Case with Milanese Loop + Cellular, 44mm: $1119
New Nike+ aluminium case models with Sport Band/Sport Loop are priced the same as the aluminium prices above.
Read Apple’s press release regarding the Apple Watch Series 4 here.