Tech for your connected self

Apple Watch Series 4 announced with new sizes, ECG monitor and huge new screen

Apple ramps up its health efforts

The Apple Watch Series 4 is official, with the new smartwatch announced at Apple’s annual September event. Last year’s big new feature was LTE. This year, we’re getting an entirely new design and the addition of an electrocardiogram sensor, among other new health features.

While Apple has retained the rectangular shape of the Watch, it’s moving up in size for 2018. The Series 4 will come in 40mm and 44mm versions, increasing both the smaller and larger designs by 2mm each. And for good reason: to make room for a new, 30%-larger display.

To date, Apple’s done a great job of obscuring the bezel on its smartwatches, but there’s most certainly been a lot of it. The display on the Series 4 is much larger, allowing you to cram even more complications and info onto that screen.

Hands on: Apple Watch Series 4 review

The new watch has had a few other design tweaks, including a new Digital Crown that has haptic feedback and a red circle for LTE models, replacing the red dot of the Series 3. Apple’s also added a new, louder, speaker to the left side of the watch for better quality, while moving the mic away from the speaker to the other side of the watch, which should improve voice quality when on calls and talking to Siri.

Apple Watch Series 4 announced with new sizes, ECG monitor - and a huge new screen

New processor and sensors

The Series 4 is using Apple's new S4 silicon which packs a new 64-bit dual-core processor that, Apple says, will get you twice the performance that we saw on Series 3 – while keeping the same battery life of a-day-and-then-some.

There's also a new accelerometer and gyroscope inside that improves precision. Why is this important? The Series 4 can now detect when you've had a fall. If it detects a tumble, Siri will offers a shortcut to call the emergency services and your emergency contacts. If you don't respond to the alert within five seconds, it will automatically make the call for you.

Apple Watch Series 4 announced with new sizes, new name - and a huge new screen

ECG heart tracking

Another major new feature with the new Apple Watch is the electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor, something that’s more commonly found in professional medical equipment.

This will let you check in on your ticker by placing a finger on the Digital Crown for an ECG reading. You'll be able to take a reading any time and get an alert if the Watch detects any abnormal rhythms – a possible sign of atrial fibrillation.

Essential reading:Why ECG on Watch Series 4 is a big deal

Apple's received clearance from the FDA for ECG and detecting irregular heart rhythms, which is a significant step forward. In fact, this is the first ECG device offered over the counter to consumers. However, FDA clearance is not the same as FDA approval, meaning Apple has proved its device is similar to another "cleared" product on the market. Getting "approval" requires a clinical trial, but is usually for things like drugs and implants.

Apple says the ECG app will come to the Watch "later this year" and only in the US, so the rest of the world may have to wait even longer for that feature.

Apple Watch Series 4 announced with new sizes, ECG - and a huge new screen

The regular optical heart rate monitor is still here too, with a few improvements. The Apple Watch already alerts you if it detects your heart rate is too high, but thanks to tweaks to the optical sensor on Series 4, Apple can now do more. The Watch will now give you a notification if it detects your heart rate is too low or if it detects abnormal patterns through the optical sensor.

Read this: Living with watchOS 5

As for colours, it’s the same trio of Space Gray, silver and gold aluminum to pick from in the Sports variants, and more expensive stainless steel models in silver, gold and black finishes. No white ceramic this time, but there are some new Nike+ and Hermès special edition models. Apple's created some new watch faces to make use of all that added space too, including one that puts the breathing app on the display, giving you quicker access to Apple's mindfulness feature.

Apple Watch Series 4 announced with new sizes, ECG monitor - and a huge new screen

Once again, Apple is making its smartwatch available in cellular and non-cellular versions, both of which still come with built-in GPS. The GPS model starts at $399 while cellular models will cost at least $499. All will be available to pre-order from 14 September and arriving on wrists 21 September.

Of course the new Apple Watch will be arriving with the new watchOS 5 software on board, which includes improved notifications, auto workout detection, a smarter Siri, and the new Walkie Talkie feature.


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11 comments

  • datalore says:

    If they can somehow squeeze 3 days of battery life out of the next watch I'm in. I love the watch, but that battery life and lack of sleep tracking are issues for me. It seems like those issues will be addressed in the next iteration. 

  • Uscher says:

    Did I understand well, that the Apple Watch Series 4 which will be released in autumm this year, will come up already with Micro LED? I look very forward to your answer.

  • Uscher says:

    Did I understand well, that the Apple Watch Series 4 which will be released in autumm this year will already come up with Micro LED? I Look very forward to your answer.

  • Uscher says:

    Did I understand well that the Apple Watch Series 4 which will be released in autumm this year will already come up with Micro LED? I look very forward to your answer.

  • yogibimbi says:

    If I still need an iPhone at some point of the setup of the Watch, I'm out (it says, in the fine print on Apple's Watch page "Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular) requires an iPhone 6 or later with iOS 11 or later. Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS) requires an iPhone 5s or later with iOS 11 or later. Apple Watch Series 1 requires an iPhone 5s or later with iOS 11 or later.)" Where is the standalone in that?

    I am not buying into iOS just because I want a watch that can do what I want. I want cellular, but not for the price of buying into iOS, as long as that doesn't happen, I am fine with my Mission. Which I think is also a bit more rugged than the Apple Watch, although I haven't tried scuba yet.

    • jfpoulin says:

      Gooooood you ask THE question that make me think that this would take Apple to the next step, but nobody seems to address this in any review. You sir I agree with you!. :)

      Seriously I dont see the point in having both the cell and the watch... I'm ready to go watch only!!

  • Lfite62 says:

    I think they should make 2 versions of the series.4 one with the physical tracking and one without I have no need for it waste of battery life

  • Jiranan says:

    how many prices

  • WayneB says:

    a round face design is needed. I bought a Samsung gear s3 just because it looks like a old school watch with lol the smart features. If apple had one of those designs, I would have gone that as everything else I have is apple, but I just can't stand the ugly square look apple has for it watch

  • mikehunt says:

    I've got an iwatch 2, and for now that's good enough.

    I will however get a new one (maybe next year) if Apple implement a sensor for measuring pH values of the blood through the skin. I remember reading about the tech a couple years ago, and hope it's getting ripe.

    For my case I would actually need to measure the uric acid of my blood, and getting notified when the pH rises above certain levels.

  • Peteo says:

    Do we know any more about what is different with the LED heart rate readings? are they more accurate, do they have a higher sampling rate?. Do they constantly take you heart rate now (not just when you are in a work out or not moving?)

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