The Apple Watch is All Grown up, And is Smarter Than Ever Before
The fourth generation of the Apple Watch is all about being a new wine in a completely new bottle. And is an even more delightful wearable, if ever there was such a requirement.
Apple Rolls Out Minor WatchOS Update (photo for representation , image News18)
After three generations and the cellular variant of the third generation to go with that, the Apple Watch has been given its biggest update ever. And it is not just a new design, which we will get to in a minute, but also significantly more powerful health and fitness capabilities that will now have the so-called rivals scratching their heads again. The goalposts have been shifted again. The bestselling watch in the world, has become even better.
The new design itself is more curvaceous. It may be a few millimeters slimmer than the Watch Series 3 on the spec sheet, but the added curves and the extended display makes it visually look considerably slimmer than before. The gold colour, a completely new shade and no relation apparent with the gold colour from the iPhone 6S era, is gorgeous. There are new Watch strap colors, new textures and new shades, adding to an already very extensive line-up of straps and bands that you can buy for the Watch. We quite like the new Milanese loop, which has remained a favourite, despite various tweaks over the years, since the first generation of the Watch.
After retaining the 38mm and the 42mm Watch sizes all this while, Apple has decided more is better. The new Watch variants will be 40mm and 44mm. That means a larger Watch, which makes great sense for anyone looking to upgrade from a 38mm Watch. Interesting enough, that the existing straps and bands that you may have collected over the years, will work with the new Watch as well. That means, if you have a 38mm Watch and upgrade to a 40mm Watch, the same straps and bands will work. Similarly, anyone looking to upsize from a 42mm Watch to a 44mm Watch will not have to worry about the bands and straps becoming redundant. Overall, the new Watch looks very premium indeed. The desirability and luxury factors have all seen a massive uptick with the fourth generation of the Watch.
The Watch-faces will now have a lot more information available on them—something that we have often felt was a tad limiting with the current range of complications and widget options available for the Watch. The overall visibility and readability also improves significantly, and the design tweaks have worked out well.
Health has always remained a big part of the Watch experience, and that gets a massive boost now. The fourth generation of the Apple Watch packs in the necessary hardware and the ability to measure Electrocardiogram, commonly known as ECG. Doctors use this regularly to detect potential heart issues, and now you can do the checks all by yourself at any time, without having to visit the doctor every time. Any anomaly, and the app will immediately throw up a notification about the potential problem, which now arms you with more information as you visit the doctor for a thorough checkup. A combination of sensors kick in and work together once you place your finger on the Digital Crown of the Watch, which closes the loop for the reading.
However, not all countries will get the ECG feature right from the outset. Apple has gotten the necessary permission from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the ECG feature will be available in the US. The same feature will be activated in Watches in other countries, after necessary regulatory and legal clearances are obtained. No word yet on when this feature will be activated for the fourth generation Watch editions that’ll be sold in India.
Also, with watchOS 5 Apple Watch intermittently analyzes heart rhythms in the background and sends a notification if an irregular heart rhythm such as Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) is detected. It can also alert the user if the heart rate exceeds or falls below a specified threshold.
The new hardware in the fourth generation Watch makes it up to twice as fast in most usage scenarios. While the Apple Watch Series 3 was no slouch anyway, the new performance gains are always welcome. They don’t come at the cost of battery life either. A combination of improvements with watchOS 5 and the reduced power requirements of the new processor mean that this will also be in the same ballpark of the 18-hour battery life of the 38mm Watch from before, with the 40mm version this time around. The larger Watch should have a bit more battery life.
The Apple Watch has always had very accurate movement tracking, by relying on the data collected by various sensors in the Watch. The fourth generation Watch now gets a new addition called Fall Detection. This uses Apple Watch’s accelerometer and gyroscope to identify when the wearer of the Watch has taken a tumble or a hard fall. If you don’t respond to the notification it sends for a while (60 seconds, as per the confirmed information), the Watch can be used to call an emergency contact. Yes, we can joke about the Watch sending you a notification that it has taken a fall and is now perhaps broken, but for anyone who may be alone at any point of time, this could indeed be a very critical feature.
The prices of the Watch start at $399 (around Rs 28,000), though exact India pricing and availability remains to be confirmed. That is particularly true for the cellular variant of the Watch fourth generation, which is priced at $499.
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