Apple’s redesigned watch is an FDA-approved medical device that can conduct an electrocardiogram (EKG), detect falls and slips and can even call emergency services for help when the wearer has taken a ‘hard fall’.
The device, supported by the American Heart Association, was unveiled by the iPhone maker at its annual hardware event in Cupertino, California.
The Series 4 features the biggest display yet on an Apple Watch, with a display that’s 30 percent larger than the Series 3 and a nearly edge-to-edge screen with almost no bezels.
Apple says the GPS-enabled Series 4 starts at $399, while a version with cellular connectivity is a step up at $499. The watch comes in silver, gold and space grey.
It’s thinner than the Series 3, thanks to slightly bigger cases and two sizes: 40 millimeters and 44 millimeters.
Orders open Friday and the device will begin shipping to consumers starting September 21. WatchOS 5, the latest Apple Watch operating system, will become available on September 17.
‘Everything has been re-designed and re-engineered,’ Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams told the audience at the Steve Jobs Theater.
‘We’ve pushed the screen right to the edges, over 30 percent larger, with minimal changes.’
The Apple Watch has a ‘brand new watch face…that really brings it to life,’ Williams said.
Users can customize their watch face with unique and interactive backgrounds, including one of friends and family that lets users tap on their face and instantly connect with them.
The face can now hold up to eight different complications, or the Apple Watch version of apps, at once.
It retains the same 18 hour battery life as the Series 3, which means it can last for up two days based on average use.
The inside of the Apple Watch has been overhauled, too, with a brand new dual-core 64-bit S4 processor with performance that’s two times better than previous models.
The acclerometer and gyroscope, which power all-day activity tracking, were also redesigned.
A next-generation gyroscope and accelerometer on the Series 4 allows it to sample motion data up to eight times faster than prior models.
Another innovative feature enables the Apple Watch to be able to detect when a user falls.
The watch analyzes a user’s wrist trajectory and acceleration to determine when a fall occurs.
From there, it delivers an alert to the watch face that allows you to initiate an emergency call.
If it senses you’re immobile for an extended period of time, it will start the emergency call automatically.
In one example, the Series 4 display says ‘It looks like you’ve taken a hard fall’ and suggests users call 911 with the slide of a button.
But one of the most impressive features by far is the addition of a heart-monitoring electrocardiogram.
It takes advantage of the electrodes built into the Digital Crown and new electrical heart rate sensor in the back crystal.
To take an EKG, users only need to open the app and put their fingers on the crown to take a reading. This takes around 30 seconds to complete.
It is the first EKG product to be offered to consumers over the counter.
Apple received approval from the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) for the Watch, paving the way for it to be used as a medical device.
‘I am pleased to say that we’ve received clearance from the FDA,’ Williams explained. ‘(this device) is the first of its kind to have the heart rate alerts… It’s amazing to think that the same watch you wear every day to make calls, run a marathon and more, can now take an EKG.’
The launch of the Apple Watch Series 4 comes as the firm also unveiled the latest versions of its flagship smartphone models.