The Apple Watch is getting its first major facelift in years with the Series 4, announced today at Apple’s “Gather Round” event. The updated Watch is now larger, with 40mm and 44mm sizes replacing the 38mm and 42mm sizes of past designs.
If you’ve been holding out for a new Apple Watch before jumping on the wearable wagon, today’s announcement may be the nudge you’ve been waiting for. Marking the first major redesign of the Watch since it was released three years ago, the Apple Watch Series 4 is a really fantastic upgrade.
For starters, both the new 40mm and 44mm have larger screens that offer more than a 30 percent increase in display size. By cutting down on the size of the bezels over the Series 3, Apple was able to make this change without dramatically altering the general footprint. The new displays also feature curved edges, which arguably looks one hundred percent sleeker than the previous models’ squared off displays.
To take advantage of this new, larger display, Apple has included a new watch face that offers up to eight complications on a single face—all completely customizable. Otherwise, many other apps will take advantage of the larger screen by showing more content.
The speaker on Series 4 is 50 percent louder than the previous model, and the microphone has been moved to the opposite side, which should make phone calls clearer and prevent echo. Under the hood, the Series 4 features Apple’s new S4 dual-core 64-bit processor, making it faster, more fluid, and just generally more badass than the Series 3.
The gyroscope and accelerometer in the Series 4 also allow the Watch to have an incredible new feature: fall detection. It can tell the difference between a fall and a slip, then send a notification to a trusted contact automatically if it detects non-movement for one minute.
We will also see health tracking improvements on the Watch Series 4, with several improvements in heart rate detection. The Series 4 will watch for your heart rhythm in the background, detecting irregular beats and alerting you that something could be wrong. Thanks to the addition of new sensors on the back and in the crown, you’ll also be able to take an electrocardiogram directly from the Watch. That’s absolutely insane—and it’s been cleared by the FDA. That’s even more insane. This isn’t just a novelty thing, this is miniaturizing life-saving tech and packing it into consumer watch.
Finally, there’s the price. The Series 4 will be priced slightly higher than its predecessor, with a $399 starting price for the GPS model and $499 for the LTE model. It comes in three aluminum finishes (gold, silver, and space gray) as well as new stainless and stainless gold finishes. Pre-orders will open on Friday, September 14th with availability on September 21st.