The new display is the first, and most obvious, new feature of the latest watches.
This nearly edge-to-edge display is more than 30-percent larger than previous Apple Watches. Even though the display is larger, the size of the Apple Watch overall has only grown ever-so-slightly outwards, while getting a tad thinner.
On previous iterations of Apple Watch, the back case was metal, with a glass cover for the heart rate monitor, Ceramic is now swapped for the glass on the higher-end stainless and Edition models. The swap allows for the new ECG sensor, which Apple will take live in a software update later in the year.
Apple made a big deal about the Digital Crown this year. It actually has more parts, but is overall able to be smaller and more compact. Cellular models no longer have a large red dot, instead adopting a more subtle red ring.
There is also improved haptic feedback, which is very much akin to the glass trackpads on the MacBook Pros. As you rotate the crown, you will feel a tapping, very much making it feel as if there are mechanical notches that are being tripped.
There is also a new metal cap on the crown that acts as an electrode for taking that ECG we mentioned earlier.
Speaking of the ECG functionality… this is entirely new on the Apple Watch Series 4. After the software patch rolls out, users can simply hit start, hold a finger on the side of the Digital Crown, and it will take your reading. This is endorsed by the American Heart Association as well as approved by the FDA. It won’t replace a doctor’s visit, but it does add a lot to the Apple Watch.
New watch faces
The exclusive ones include Infograph and Infograph Modular. Infograph is the most complication-dense face Apple has created, with support for roughly nine complications — depending on what you count as a complication. Infograph Modular is a slightly updated version of the popular Modular watch face we’ve seen many times.
Also new are edge-to-edge version of Vapor, Liquid Metal, and Fire & Water. Older models restrict these to a circle within the display, so they look much more at home on the Series 4.
Just like with the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, Apple Watch Series 4 got the gold color treatment.
Available in either stainless or aluminum, these new color isn’t a gaudy yellow, but more of a subtle tint instead. It also has a slightly copper hue, which should increase the broad appeal.
In 2017, the iPhone X got Bluetooth 5, but the Apple Watch Series 3 stuck with 4.2. Series 4 brings Bluetooth to parity with the iPhone.
Bluetooth 5 has increased throughput and range which should be helpful with any Bluetooth connected accessories or when paired to the latest iPhones.
Apple has upgraded the gyroscope accelerometer to now detect twice the dynamic range and up to 32 g-forces. Paired with the faster processor, it can sample eight times faster, which allows it to add new features, such as fall detection.
Whether you slip, trip, or fall, the Apple Watch’s new gyroscope accelerometer will detect it, and alert you on your wrist. It will give you the option to say you’re ok, or to call emergency services. If the Apple Watch doesn’t detect any movement within 60 seconds, emergency services will automatically get that call.