Apple Watch Series 4 is official with bigger screen, faster processor, redesigned crown

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Apple just made the Apple Watch Series 4 official – and it is perhaps the most exciting upgrade in the history of the wearable. Apple's new smartwatch is stylish, functional, and comfortably familiar. However, it introduces meaningful changes both on the outside and on the inside – including a number of features that we hope you'll never have to use. We'll tell you why in a bit.

Design and display

Without a doubt, the most noticeable upgrade in the Apple Watch Series 4 is the bigger size of its OLED display. The wearable comes in two sizes, just like before, but you can now choose between a 40 or a 44 millimeter Apple Watch – versus 38 and 42 in previous generations. This makes the new screens over 30% bigger than before, even though the watch itself retains the same footprint. In fact, the case of the watch is now thinner, Apple points out, while the curved corners and thinner bezels give the watch a more modern appearance. And in case you're curious, the Apple Watch Series 4 is designed to be compatible with existing Apple Watch wristbands.

The Apple Watch Series 4 will be available in various colors and finishes. Silver, Space Grey, and Gold are the hues chosen for the aluminum model, while the stainless steel version of the watch will come in Polished or Space Black. 

Along with the new wearable, Apple quietly introduced a range of new band options. The well-known rubbery sport band comes in three new colors named Lavender, Blue Horizon, and Nectarine, while the sport loop band gets Cape Cod Blue, Nectarine, Hibiscus, Storm Grey, and Indigo color variants. For those who are into fancier materials, the leather modern buckle now comes in Peony Pink, Forest Green, Cape Cod Blue, Ruby Red, and the leather loop band gets Forest Green and Cape Cod Blue options. New, premium Hermes bands are also on sale – at respectable, three-digit prices.

On the side of the Apple Watch Series 4 you'll see two slits behind which is the new, bigger speaker. The microphone is positioned on the opposite side to avoid interference between the two. Both of these design choices were made to allow the wearable to deliver clearer phone calls.

The digital crown looks almost the same as before, but once you turn it, you'll feel the difference. Each movement is now complemented by haptic feedback – a nice, subtle "click" that makes the crown a bit more pleasant, more natural to use.

Software and Watch OS 5

To no surprise, the Apple Watch Series 4 interface has been optimized to take advantage of the extra screen space. Pictured below, several new complications and watchfaces were shown off during the announcement event.

Of course, the Apple Watch Series 4 will run the newest Watch OS 5 when it is released later this month. We've already overviewed all of the Watch OS 5 major new features, but to sum them up, the new software introduces improved fitness and activity tracking, a Walkie Talkie mode between fellow Apple Watch users, as well as the ability to play podcasts. In addition to the watchfaces pictured below, you'll also get a Siri watchface, as well as one incorporating the Breathe application. 

Hardware and health monitoring

Under the hood of the Apple Watch Series 4 we find several important upgrades, including a new S4 dual-core processor which is "up to 2x faster" than the previous, according to Apple. Thankfully, the boost in performance should not result in shorter battery life. Apple promises an "all-day battery life" for its Series 4 Watch, so we can expect it to last about as long as Series 3 between charges. 

Remember the Apple Watch Series 4 features that we hope you never ever need to use? Well, the wearable comes with next-generation sensors, including new gyroscope and accelerometer with superior accuracy. This allows the Series 4 Apple Watch to accurately detect unusual movement, such as slips or falls. Upon detection, it will ask if you want to call for help, and if it detects that you've been immobile for a minute after the fall, it will automatically call an emergency number.

As before, the Apple Watch Series 4 features an optical heart rate monitor keeping track of your pulse 24/7. This allows it to alert you of unusual heart activity and, potentially, health issues. What's new is the built-in electrical heart rate sensor, which allows you to take an electrocardiogram, otherwise known as an ECG. And this is no gimmick, mind you. The Apple Watch Series 4 has been certified by the FDA for the purpose, meaning that the data gathered is suitable for medical use.

Price and release date

The Apple Watch Series 4 will be available for pre-order on September 14, with a release date set for September 21 for the first 26 major markets. 16 of those markets will also get the GPS + Cellular model of the device. Pricing starts at $399 and goes up to $749 depending on the features, size, and material you choose. The fancier Hermes editions, with leather bands and sophisticated clasps, will set you back between $1249 and $1499. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the older Apple Watch Series 3 now starts at $279, making it more affordable than ever.

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