Apple Watch Series 4: Bigger,faster, better and now available to pre-order

Everything you need to know about the new Apple Watch Series 4, which is available to pre-order now and brings a major redesign and a wide range of health and fitness features

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Apple COO Jeff Williams, the work means the 40mm version’s screen is 35% larger and the 44mm’s display is 32% bigger. The company didn’t say if either versions’ resolution or max brightness has been increased.Pricing for the non-LTE Apple Watch 4 starts at $399. The most basic LTE Apple Watch 4 will retail for $499. We’ll bring you UK pricing once it’s available.

Apple’s made a new Watch Face to help take advantage of the larger screens. It features eight new “complications”. These let you change what the corner shows, letting you add shortcuts to things such as your favourite contacts, time zones you need to keep track of, or commonly used apps and services.

The Series 4 is available in stainless steel or aluminium; the all-ceramic Edition offering has been quietly dropped.The aluminium models are available in silver, gold and Space Grey. If you go for stainless steel your options are ‘polished’, Space Black and a new gold.

We said ceramic is gone, but the steel and aluminium models now have black ceramic undersides. This is significant because it allows radio waves to pass through and should lead to improved cellular reception.

The speaker has been bumped up – the company says it’s 50% louder now – and the microphone aperture has swapped sides to move it away from the speaker. Hopefully this will all result in much better call quality.

The Series 4, as expected, comes with an S4 processor chip. Apple says this offers twice the speed of the previous generation.

Battery life remains the same, with Apple somehow managing to make a virtue of this. The company still claims 18 hours, which we suppose is reasonably impressive given the larger screen, upgraded components and thinner body.

All of the health-related data is stored in the Heath app, and the company was at pains to reassure customers that their privacy will be protected. Patients visiting their doctors will often complain of heart problems that aren’t happening at that moment, so having detailed and long-term heart data on file is potentially very useful.

This Watch gives you isn’t an ‘ECG’ in the traditional sense. It’s a rhythm strip – a record of the heart’s electromagnetic impulses over a period of time.
It can be disturbed easily, it can pick up on a person’s anxiety and nervousness, on signals from the environment. This is assuming the instrument itself works without errors.

Heart rate monitors have been part of many wearable technologies before this. An ECG, though, is less common.

I view it as a screening tool, but not as a reliable scan for a medical diagnosis of any kind. For more serious illnesses, there are complex heart scans that depend on accurate results from an ECG. I would not make any such decisions using a rhythm strip from a watch.

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