Hands-On With the New Apple Watch Series 4

Apple today began shipping the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and Apple Watch Series 4 out to customers today, and customers have been eagerly awaiting their shipments today to get their hands on Apple's newest devices.

We picked up one of the new wrist-worn devices to see the design changes for ourselves and to provide a glimpse at the new device to MacRumors readers who are either awaiting their orders or who are still on the fence about making a purchase.


Apple Watch Series 4 has a little bit bigger footprint but is slightly thinner than Apple Watch Series 3, and the larger display (35% larger on the 40mm watch and 32% larger on the 44mm watch) is the first thing you'll notice about the updated models.

Yes, the Apple Watch no longer comes in 38 and 42mm sizes - it's 40 and 44mm now. In the video, the watch we're demonstrating is the larger 44mm model, but for those of you getting a 40mm model, it's worth noting that the 40mm screen is bigger than the screen of the original 42mm Apple Watch.

The new display of the Apple Watch Series 4 is a hugely welcome change because it offers up much more area for apps and complications on watch faces. Series 4 comes with a unique Infograph watch face and the new Vapor, Fire/Water, and Liquid Metal watch faces were built for the device and fill up the entire screen.

Inside, the Apple Watch Series 4 has a new S4 chip that's twice as fast as the S3 chip in the Series 3, and the back of the device has been improved with a black ceramic and sapphire crystal backing. All Apple Watches now have this feature, which improves cellular connectivity by allowing radio waves to penetrate the front and back.

Stainless steel Series 4 models are using sapphire glass, which is resistant to scratching from everyday wear, while all aluminum models continue to offer Ion-X glass, which isn't quite as scratch resistant.

New this year is a gold shade, which matches well with the new gold color available for the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max. Apple has also introduced an ECG feature, but it can't be tested because it's not rolling out until later this year.

Apple Watch Series 4 models sold out quickly after pre-orders began on September 14, and orders placed today won't ship out until October.

Did you get a new Apple Watch Series 4? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 9
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

Popular Stories

iOS 18 CarPlay Feature

iOS 18 Adds These 5 New Features to CarPlay

Thursday June 13, 2024 7:44 am PDT by
Apple did not mention CarPlay during its WWDC keynote this week, but iOS 18 includes a handful of new features for the in-car software. Overall, there is not a whole lot new for CarPlay on iOS 18, with changes seemingly limited to the Messages and Settings apps so far. Below, we recap everything new for CarPlay on iOS 18. New for CarPlay on iOS 18 1. Contact Photos in Messages App...
iOS 18 Wallet Feature

Here's What's New in Apple Wallet on iOS 18 for Event Tickets and More

Friday June 14, 2024 7:32 am PDT by
iOS 18 includes a handful of enhancements to the Wallet app on the iPhone, with new features for Apple Pay, Apple Cash, event tickets, and more. Below, we outline everything new for the Wallet app on iOS 18, based on information from Apple's press release and a WWDC 2024 coding session. Redesigned Event Tickets Event tickets have an all-new design in the Wallet app on iOS 18, complete...
apple watch series 9 display

Kuo: Apple Watch Series 10 to Get Larger Screen and Thinner Design

Monday June 17, 2024 1:20 am PDT by
This year's Apple Watch Series 10 will be thinner and come in larger screen sizes than previous models, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In his latest industry note -10-and-98075c44ce92">shared on Medium, Kuo said the screen size options on the next-generation Apple Watch will increase from 41mm to 45mm, and from 45mm to 49mm, while being encased in a thinner design. For reference,...
maxresdefault

First Look at Messages via Satellite in iOS 18

Thursday June 13, 2024 11:29 am PDT by
Apple has been gradually expanding its suite of satellite connectivity features for iPhone, and iOS 18 brings a significant new one in the form of Messages via satellite. The feature allows users to send and receive iMessages and SMS texts, including emoji and Tapbacks, while out of range of cellular and Wi-Fi networks. CNET met up with Apple's senior director of platform product marketing,...
iOS 18 Siri Integrated Feature

You Can Give Siri a New Name With iOS 18's Vocal Shortcuts

Friday June 14, 2024 4:33 pm PDT by
Apple in iOS 18 added a Vocal Shortcuts accessibility feature, and now that iOS 18 is available in a beta capacity, users have figured out that this option can be used to give Siri a new wake word. With Vocal Shortcuts, you can assign a custom phrase that Siri can understand to launch shortcuts and complete "complex tasks," and one of the shortcuts you can set up is an alternative for "Hey...

Top Rated Comments

kingjames1970 Avatar
75 months ago
I don’t say this lightly but perhaps the best upgrade to an Apple product I’ve experienced and that’s coming from a series 2. (Apple user since 1990.) The size and speed makes such a difference.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
brentsg Avatar
75 months ago
Mine are sitting on the kitchen counter until the wife gets home, at which time she'll either be glad that she gets to open hers with me.. or pissed that I don't have them charged and ready to go.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
FreshBoy Avatar
75 months ago
I finally took the plunge for the Apple Watch yesterday. After being an admirer for the first 3 generations but never feeling it had enough going for it to justify the purchase, I was finally ready after seeing the series 4. I went for the space grey 44mm aluminium and it’s a perfect size for my average sized wrist. After 24hours with the watch on, all I can say is, is that this could possibly be my best purchase ever. The notifications are excellent and a great way at seeing if the message is important at a glance. My screen time more than halved on the phone yesterday and hopefully that’s a trend that will continue. I used it in the gym today and it was so good to see all the info on my heart rate and calories burned etc right there on my wrist and I definitely pushed myself that wee bit harder so I could close the rings. I know I’m mentioning stuff that all previous models could do but this watch ticked all the boxes with it’s bigger screen and slimmer look. I opted for the non lte version as here in Ireland there is no company providing the lte feature and god knows when the dinosaurs in charge here will sanction a move for the technology to be available. Hopefully the EU will also approve the ECG sooner rather than later so I can try it out. Anyone on the fence about upgrading from an earlier model or finally purcashing the AW for the first time should not hesistate as it’s a real beauty and I can only imagine how nice the SS versions are in the flesh but they’re just too expensive for me. Any questions just ask
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Lloydbm41 Avatar
75 months ago
The sapphire glass on my Series 0 is now 3.5 years old and still looks brand new. I was thinking of going aluminum for a Series 4 and saving a few hundred bucks, but I am concerned about the durability of Ion-X glass. What's the user experience with this glass?
Even the sapphire glass on the Apple Watch isn't truly sapphire glass. It's embedded into normal glass in small amounts. It's only slightly better than Ion-X, but not much. On the Mohs scale, the Ion-X will scratch at a level 6 and guess what... the Apple Watch's Sapphire screen scratches at 6 too, it's just less visible. Real sapphire screens scratch at 8. Tissot watches for example scratch at 8.

See here:
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
The Game 161 Avatar
75 months ago
Loving mine...the size is a good improvement and so smooth.

I feel the tap for notifications is a lot better and not as annoying
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Moakesy Avatar
75 months ago
Got the 44mm for me and the 40mm for my girlfriend.

Apple have pulled off their favorite trick.....make the previous device you had feel out of date, instantly.

Ok, so I didn’t have the series 3 before, but it’s a huge step up from the series 2. No regrets about upgrading.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)