Details: Apple Watch Series 4, and Apple’s Push Toward the Future of Digital Health

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After weeks of rumors and leaks, the Apple Watch Series 4 is finally here. Love it or hate it (and yes, we know where most of our watch-head readership stands on the matter), the Apple Watch remains a palpable force. Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked off today’s presentation by saying that the Apple Watch is the number one watch in the world, and no, he didn’t mean just among smartwatches. It’s a claim Apple has made before, and while the metrics that allow Apple to make that proclamation remain unclear, Apple’s repetition shows us they’re not scared to make it. One thing, however, is clear: The Series 4 represents the surest trajectory of where the Apple Watch is ultimately headed and its future as a medical diagnostic tool.

The long-rumored ECG function.

Let’s get some hardware details out of the way. Just as recent leaks indicated, the new Apple Watch is nearly all screen—the 40-millimeter model has a screen that is 35% larger, and the 44-millimeter’s screen is 32% percent larger. Apple is using this extra real-estate to introduce a handful of new screen and display options customizable with different features. The cases have also been made thinner. The Digital Crown has gotten a facelift too, and it now features haptic feedback. The speakers are 50% louder, and the microphone has been moved away from the speakers to improve call quality. The cases are being rendered in steel and aluminum, with liberal use of ceramic and sapphire. The battery life is rated to 18 hours.Continuing with the hardware, there is built-in cellular connectivity and Bluetooth 5.0. The S4 chip features a new GPU and a dual-core, 64-bit processor. There’s also a new accelerometer and gyroscope, and the watch is now smart enough to detect if the wearer has taken a hard fall. It can be set to make emergency calls in such instances—a feature that may be especially useful to elderly wearers of the Apple Watch.

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The biggest—and perhaps most interesting—developments continue along this track. There are three new features designed for monitoring cardiac health. First, there’s a low heart rate alert. Second, the Apple Watch can track your heart rhythm in the background, alerting you to possible issues such as atrial fibrillation. Third, and perhaps most telling of the device’s future, is a built-in electrical heart sensor that will allow wearers to run an electrocardiogram, a critical diagnostic tool. Significantly, the Apple Watch Series 4 has been FDA-approved to perform this function. To ensure privacy, all this health data is encrypted.

The ECG app is expected later this year.

Apple is forging an obvious path toward the future of wearable, digital health monitoring. To offer the aforementioned functionality in a product that a 20-something-year-old also finds appealing is no small feat, and with FDA-approval the Apple Watch Series 4 is ahead of the curve in a crucial—and highly profitable—arena.

Standard, Nike, and Hermès.

Pre-orders will begin September 14th—$399 for GPS models and $499 for LTE models. Apple

Ilya is Worn & Wound's Managing Editor and Video Producer. He believes that when it comes to watches, quality, simplicity and functionality are king. This may very well explain his love for German and military-inspired watches. In addition to watches, Ilya brings an encyclopedic knowledge of leather, denim and all things related to menswear.
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