Apple Watch Series 4
Apple's latest Apple Watch
At a Glance
- The Apple Watch Series 4 features a new design with a slimmer body, 30% larger display, and electrical sensors for taking ECG readings. There's a faster, more efficient S4 chip and a new gold stainless steel model.
Apple Watch Series 4 Features
- Two sizes: 40mm and 44mm
- Faster S4 processor
- Slimmer body
- Larger display
- New watch faces
- ECG sensors
- Haptic Digital Crown
- LTE and non-LTE options
Apple Watch Series 4
Apple Watch Series 4, introduced on September 12, 2018, is the fourth version of the Apple Watch. The Series 4 models are the first Apple Watches to feature a redesign since the Apple Watch was introduced four years ago in 2015.
As Apple's Jony Ive says, the Apple Watch Series 4 is designed to encourage users to live a healthier, more active life, and with its LTE connectivity and new health features, Apple's wrist-worn device has become powerful enough to change the way you live.
Available in 40 and 44mm size options, Apple Watch Series 4 models feature displays up to 30 percent larger than previous models. Despite the larger displays, which flow right into the casing thanks to curved corners, the Apple Watch body has been slimmed down, so the Series 4 has a thinner, smaller case.
Despite the redesign, Apple Watch Series 4 models continue to work with all previous Apple Watch bands, both first and third party as there have been no connector changes.
With the bigger display, app content is easier to see than ever on the Series 4, and there are new complications and a range of new watch faces. There's an Infograph face that supports eight complications, a Breathe face for quick access to the Breathe app and breathing relaxation techniques, and motion faces featuring Vapor, Liquid Metal, and Fire & Water, all of which interact uniquely with the display.
All Apple Watch Series 4 models feature a black ceramic and sapphire crystal backing for the first time, allowing for better cellular service because radio waves can more easily pass through the front and back. The Digital Crown includes haptic feedback for what Apple says is a more mechanical, responsive feel when scrolling.
Apple Watch continues to be water resistant and appropriate for use when swimming, it still supports Apple Pay, and it includes all of the health tracking features available in previous Apple Watch models, monitoring steps taken, calories burned, stairs climbed, and heart rate.
There's a 50 percent louder speaker for use with Siri, phone calls, and Walkie-Talkie, and the microphone has been relocated to reduce echo. Inside, the Apple Watch features a faster, more efficient S4 chip that offers 2x the speed, along with a W3 wireless chip.
Apple focused heavily on health in the Series 4 Apple Watch models, introducing a new electrical heart rate sensor that, when combined with electrodes in the Digital Crown can take an electrocardiogram (ECG) reading using an ECG app.
The ECG feature can detect atrial fibrillation, a heart condition that is an indicator of major health conditions, and all of the ECG readings can be easily shared with a doctor. Sensors also regularly analyze heart rhythms and the Apple Watch Series 4 can send a notification if an irregular heartbeat (aka atrial fibrillation) is detected.
Apple has received FDA clearance in the U.S. for these new features, and ECG readings are limited to the United States, Hong Kong, and multiple countries in Europe at this time. Apple Watch Series 4 also features a next-generation optical sensor that can send notifications when your heart rate is too low or too high.
With a next-generation accelerometer and gyroscope, the Apple Watch Series 4 can detect if a fall occurs by analyzing wrist trajectory and impact acceleration. If motion is not detected after a fall, the Apple Watch can initiate a call to emergency services and send a message to emergency contacts.
Even with all of the new features, the Apple Watch Series 4 offers 18-hour "all day" battery life, and expanded six-hour battery life for outdoor workouts. The battery life has been made possible through the S4 chip and LTPO display technology that offers improved power efficiency.
Apple Watch Series 4 is available in Silver, Gold, and Space Gray Aluminum and Silver, Space Black, and Gold stainless steel, with the latter finish being an entirely new option. There are no longer more expensive Edition models.
Apple is continuing to offer both GPS and GPS + LTE models, but stainless steel models are all LTE only. Apple Watch Series 4 aluminum models are priced starting at $399 in the United States, while Aluminum GPS + LTE models are priced starting at $499. Stainless steel models are priced starting at $699.
Apple is selling the Apple Watch Series 4 models with a variety of bands at varying price points, and additional bands can be purchased on a standalone basis. There are also Nike and Hermès Apple Watch Series 4 models available with unique bands and watch faces.
Apple Watch Series 4 models became available for pre-order on Friday, September 14 at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time. An official launch followed on Friday, September 21. Nike+ Apple Watch Series 4 models launched a bit later on October 5.
Apple is continuing to sell Aluminum Apple Watch Series 3 models for a new discounted price starting at $279. All other Apple Watch models have been discontinued.
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How to Buy
The Apple Watch Series 4 can be ordered from the online Apple Store, purchased in an Apple retail store, or bought from a third-party retailer like Target or Best Buy.
Pricing on the Apple Watch Series 4 starts at $399 for non-LTE models and $499 for LTE models. Pricing varies based on case material, band, and collection. Entry level pricing for each case material is as follows:
40mm Aluminum Non-LTE - $399
40mm Aluminum LTE - $499
44mm Aluminum Non-LTE - $429
44mm Aluminum LTE - $529
40mm Stainless Steel (LTE only) - $699
44mm Stainless Steel (LTE only) - $749
40mm Nike+ LTE - $499
40mm Nike+ Non-LTE - $399
44mm Nike+ LTE - $529
44mm Nike+ Non-LTE - $429
40mm Hermès (LTE only) - $1249
44mm Hermès (LTE only) - $1299
Apple Watch Series 4 models are available in many countries around the world, and pricing will vary based on location.
Apple Watch owners who are with insurance company Aetna can sign up for a fitness program through an Attain app developed alongside Apple. through the Attain app, Aetna customers can complete fitness goals to earn points that can be put towards the cost of a new Apple Watch.
Every element of the Apple Watch Series 4 has been redesigned and re-engineered, giving us the first new look for the wrist-worn device since it was first introduced in 2015.
Apple retained the iconic rectangular shape of the Apple Watch with the Series 4 but introduced new, larger displays that offer a lot more screen real estate. Rather than 38 and 42mm sizes, the new watches are slightly bigger at 40 and 44mm.
With these new sizes, the 40mm Apple Watch features a 35 percent larger display, while the 44mm Apple Watch features a 32 percent larger display. The 40mm Apple Watch offers a display area of 759 mm², up from 536 mm² in the 38mm Series 3 model, while the 44mm Apple Watch features a display area of 977 mm², up from 740 mm² in the 42mm Apple Watch Series 3.
Comparatively, the display of the new 40mm Apple Watch Series 4, the smaller of the two devices, offers a larger display than the larger 42mm model did last year. Apple worked to push the screens right to the edges of the Apple Watch body, creating perfectly curved corners that match the shape of the watch.
Apple Watch Series 4 is slimmer than Apple Watch Series 3, measuring in at 10.7mm thick, down from 11.4mm thick, but it still works with all previous-generation Apple Watch bands.
All Apple Watch Series 4 models feature a black ceramic and sapphire crystal back, a feature that helps improve LTE connectivity. Prior to the introduction of the Series 4, aluminum Apple Watch models used a composite back rather than a sapphire crystal back, and both models used stainless steel or aluminum at the back.
Aside from the larger display sizes that have been introduced, the Apple Watch Series 4's display is largely unchanged. Apple has upgraded the display panel to an LTPO (Low Temperature Polycrystalline Oxide) OLED Retina Display, which means it is more efficient and consumes less power for better battery life. It's an essential component that allowed Apple to increase screen size without impacting battery life.
Quality wise, the display of the Series 4 appears to be identical to the Series 3 with a maximum of 1000 nits brightness. The aluminum Apple Watch Series 4 models continue to feature Ion-X glass to protect the display, while stainless steel models feature sapphire crystal glass.
Sapphire crystal glass offers better scratch resistance than Ion-X glass because it is a harder material, which means the stainless steel models are resistant to scratching and everyday wear. The stainless steel casing, however, is more prone to scratching than the aluminum case.
The 40mm Apple Watch Series 4 offers a resolution of 324 x 394 pixels, while the larger 44mm Apple Watch Series 4 has a resolution of 368 x 448. As mentioned earlier, this translates to a 759 mm² display area for the 40mm Apple Watch and a 977 mm² display area for the 44mm Apple Watch.
UI Updates and New Watch Faces
To take advantage of the larger displays of the Apple Watch Series 4 models, Apple has redesigned every part of the user interface. When viewing content in apps like Maps, Photos, Calendar, and Messages, you'll see more on the screen, and Apple has also created new watch faces and complications to complement the increased screen size.
There's a complication-focused "Infograph" watch face that supports a total of eight complications and can be customized with the complications that you use most often. There are complications for weather, activity, fitness, and more, and on this watch face, you can add photos of your loved ones and get in touch with them through a tap.
The watch face can be deeply personalized to become whatever you need, from a guide to different time zones when traveling to the ultimate activity-focused watch face with access to workouts, activity metrics, heart rate, and more.
Apple has redesigned the Modular watch face with more detailed and graphical information, and all watch faces work with an expanded set of first and third-party Apple Watch complications.
There are several new watch faces introduced in watchOS 5 that work with all Apple Watch models but that were designed specifically with the Series 4 in mind. A Breathe face is designed to guide you through deep breathing techniques with three pulsing design variations to choose from, and there are three dynamic watch faces that interact with the edges of the Series 4 display when you raise your wrist.
Fire & Water displays flames or swirling, splashing water, while Vapor offers up smoke in a variety of colors and Liquid Metal displays molten metal in shades of silver, gold, and space gray.
As of October 2018, there's a full screen "Color" watch face for the Apple Watch Series 4 models that lets you fill the display with a single color. There are dozens of colors to choose from.
Apple in May 2019 introduced three new pride-themed rainbow watch faces.
Along with overhauling the design of the Apple Watch to introduce larger displays, Apple has also re-engineered the Digital Crown. Haptic feedback has been added for a more precise, mechanical feel when doing things like scrolling through lists and controlling various aspects of the Apple Watch.
According to Apple, the Digital Crown assembly in the Series 4 is 30 percent smaller, but includes 21 percent more components, making it one of the most intricate systems Apple has developed.
The speaker in the Apple Watch Series 4 has been overhauled and it's now 50 percent louder than the speaker in the Series 3 models. Apple says the louder volume is great for phone calls, the Walkie-Talkie feature in watchOS 5, and Siri requests.
Apple has also relocated the microphone on the Apple Watch Series 4 to the opposite side of the speaker instead of right next to it to reduce echo for phone calls that are more clear.
Apple Watch Series 4 models are available in two finishes this year: aluminum and stainless steel. Apple has done away with other materials, including ceramic, that were available in past years.
Aluminum Apple Watch Series 4 models come in the traditional silver, space gray, and gold shades, while the stainless steel models are available in silver, space black, and, for the first time, a shiny gold color that's reminiscent of the original 24K gold Apple Watch models.
Aluminum models are lightweight, inexpensive, and designed for an active lifestyle, while stainless steel models are heavier, more expensive, and designed for everyday wear rather than focused on activity.
Aluminum Apple Watch models are available in both GPS and GPS + Cellular configurations, but the more expensive stainless steel material is only available to customers who want to purchase a GPS + Cellular Apple Watch.
Like the Series 3 Apple Watch, the Series 4 models are rated for immersion in water as deep as 50 meters thanks to seals and adhesives. The speaker, which needs air to produce sound, is the only point of ingress and has been designed to expel water from itself using sound vibrations after exposure to moisture.
Because it is rated for 50m immersion, the Apple Watch can be used when swimming in the ocean or in a pool. It is only suited to shallow water activities, though, and can't be used for scuba diving, waterskiing, showering, or other activities that involve high-velocity water or deep submersion.
Apple Watch Series 4 has an upgraded Silicon-in-Package or SiP, which Apple calls the S4.
The S4, a dual-core 64-bit processor that's custom-designed by Apple, is up to twice as fast as the previous-generation S3 chip in the Apple Watch Series 3. The S4 chip allows for improved battery life and the new health-related features that have been added to the Apple Watch.
With the S4 chip, apps open more quickly and performance is quicker across the entire operating system.
While not highlighted by Apple, the Apple Watch Series 4 models use a an Apple-designed W3 wireless chip, an upgrade from the W2 in the Series 3 models.
Apple Watch Series 4 is equipped with a second-generation optical heart sensor for calculating metrics like calorie burn, resting heart rate, and a heart rate that's too high, and for the first time, it also includes an electrical heart rate sensor for taking electrocardiograms.
There are three new heart rate improvements in Apple Watch Series 4 in total. First, the Apple Watch Series 4 is able to detect when your heart rate is too low, which can mean that the heart is not pumping enough blood to the body. Apple Watch previously only detected a high heart rate, but now it can also detect a low heart rate.
Second, the Apple Watch Series 4 is able to screen your heart rhythm in the background and send a notification if it detects an abnormal rhythm that's indicative of atrial fibrillation, which can be a sign of a serious disease or health problem.
Both of the first two new features are powered by the optical heart rate sensor while the third, the ECG function, is powered by the new electrical sensor.
There are electrodes built into the back sapphire crystal of the Apple Watch and the Digital Crown that work in conjunction to let you take a single-lead electrocardiogram with the Apple Watch. An electrocardiogram (ECG) measures the electrical activity of the heartbeat and it's often used to diagnose heart conditions.
To take an ECG with the Apple Watch, you use the built-in ECG app and place a finger on the Digital Crown while wearing the watch. The electrodes in the Apple Watch detect the electrical impulses from your heartbeat and route the data to the S4, where it is converted into a signal for Apple's algorithms.
Apple then provides a heart rhythm classification that can be shared with your doctor. If your heart is beating in a normal rhythm, it's classified as a sinus rhythm, but if your heart is not beating normally, the app lets you know that atrial fibrillation has been detected. All of your ECG results are stored in the Health app in PDF format and can be easily shared with your doctor.
A single-lead ECG like the Apple Watch means there's one point of contact measuring the electrical sensations of your heart. Clinical electrocardiograms done by your doctor can have 6 to 12 leads for greater accuracy, but the Apple Watch offers the convenience of being able to take an ECG anytime anywhere in approximately 30 seconds.
If atrial fibrillation is detected, Apple suggests you get in contact with your doctor for further testing.
Apple has obtained de novo FDA clearance for the ECG feature in the Apple Watch Series 4 and the feature that can send a notification if an abnormal heart rate has been detected, but FDA clearance is not the same as FDA approval and the FDA does not recommend that the ECG feature be used by those under 22 or those who have already been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation.
The FDA warns that Apple's ECG app is not designed to replace traditional methods of diagnosis or treatment and is intended for informational use only. The Series 4 is the first ECG product being offered over the counter directly to consumers.
Because regulatory clearance is required for the ECG feature, it is limited to Apple Watch users in the United States, Hong Kong, and most countries in Europe, including the UK. ECG functionality could soon expand to Canada as Health Canada has cleared the app and issued a license for the feature.
Apple has included a next-generation accelerometer and gyroscope in the Apple Watch Series 4, which has twice the dynamic range, can measure up to 32 g-forces (instead of 16 g-forces in previous models) and it can sample motion data eight times faster.
The new hardware allows for a new feature that's a first in the Apple Watch: fall detection.
Apple studied thousands of people over a long period of time to capture data on real-world falls, discovering that there are repeatable motion patterns when a person falls down. If you trip, for example, you fall forward and your arms go out in front of you. If you slip and fall in a backward motion, your arms go up in the air.
Apple has engineered the Apple Watch Series 4 to recognize these motions, analyzing wrist trajectory and impact acceleration to detect when you fall down. When the Apple Watch Series 4 detects a fall, it sends you an alert, which can be used to call emergency services if you're injured.
If the Apple Watch Series 4 detects no movement for a minute after a fall, it automatically calls emergency services using the built-in SOS feature in the Apple Watch. It also sends a message with your location to all of your emergency contacts, a useful feature if a fall is indeed serious and life-threatening.
Apple Watch Series 4 features a battery life of up to 18 hours, which Apple considers to be "all-day" battery. Actual battery life varies considerably depending on what you're doing and what Apple Watch features you're using.
Apple bases "all-day" battery life on 90 time checks, 90 notifications, 45 minutes of app use, and a 60-minute workout with music playback via Bluetooth. For LTE models, Apple assumes four hours of LTE connection and 14 hours of connection to an iPhone.
When using the Apple Watch to place a phone call, it lasts for up to two hours connected to an iPhone or one hour over LTE.
When using the Apple Watch for audio playback, you can get up to 10 hours of playback from the Apple Watch storage, seven hours streaming a playlist with LTE, or five hours streaming live radio with LTE.
For workouts, Apple Watch Series 4 has the following battery life ratings:
Up to 10 hours indoor workout
Up to 6 hours outdoor workout with GPS
Up to 5 hours outdoor workout with GPS and LTE
Up to 4 hours outdoor workout with streaming audio, GPS, and LTE
Apple Watch charges inductively through a magnetic Apple Watch charging puck and is able to charge to 80 percent in 1.5 hours. A full charge takes approximately two hours.
Though the Apple Watch Series 4 offers the same 18-hour battery life as the Series 3, it does have a smaller battery. The 40mm Apple Watch has a 0.86Wh battery, while the 44mm has a 1.12Wh battery. Comparatively, the Series 3 38mm Apple Watch had a 1.07Wh battery and the 42mm Apple Watch had a 1.34Wh battery. Efficiency improvements introduced by the new display technology and the S4 chip have allowed Apple to cut battery size without compromising battery life.
Apple Watch Series 4 models are equipped with an upgraded Apple-designed W3 chip that offers fast Wi-Fi and better power efficiency. Apple Watch Series 4 models, like Apple Watch Series 3 models, are available in two configurations: GPS and GPS + Cellular.
The GPS + Cellular Series 4 models feature an LTE connection while the GPS only models do not.
LTE connectivity was the key feature in the Series 3 Apple Watch, and it continues to be a main selling point in the Series 4 models. With an LTE connection, the Apple Watch is untethered from the iPhone and does not require an iPhone or a known Wi-Fi network for an internet connection.
Apple Watch Series 4 models do not need an iPhone to receive calls and text messages, stream music from Apple Music, load maps to provide directions, and dozens of other things that require an iPhone with the GPS only models.
According to Apple, the new black ceramic and sapphire crystal back used in all Apple Watch Series 4 models allows radio waves to pass through both the front and the back of the watch for improved cellular reception when connected to an LTE network.
The Apple Watch is not entirely independent from the iPhone, though, because LTE connectivity through a carrier requires an Apple Watch and an iPhone 6 or later to share a cellular plan. The Apple Watch also does not have the battery capacity to be used full time without an iPhone nearby.
LTE in the Apple Watch is enabled through an integrated eSIM, with the display of the Apple Watch serving as a multifrequency antenna.
Apple Watches with LTE are available in a limited number of countries, including the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Australia, China (select cities only), Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.
Apple Watch Series 3 models support a limited range of LTE bands and do not allow for roaming outside of a provider's network coverage area, limiting their functionality from country to country. For that reason, it's best to purchase an LTE Apple Watch in the country where you plan to use it.
In the United States, for example, the Apple Watch is compatible with LTE bands 2, 4, 5, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 25, 26, and 41. That is the same number of bands that were supported by the LTE Apple Watch Series 3 models.
Most of those are not the bands that are used in countries like Australia, France, Germany, China, Japan, and the UK, and so the U.S. Apple Watch Series 4 models may not be able to connect to a network in another country. The same thing goes for Apple Watch models sold in other countries.
Apple has a full list of the LTE bands supported on each LTE Apple Watch in the countries where the devices are available, and it's worth checking out before making a purchase.
Because Apple Watch Series 4 models share a number with your iPhone, you have to use the same carrier for the Apple Watch and the iPhone, and you need to add your Apple Watch to your existing plan. An iPhone 6 or later is required.
Though the Apple Watch Series 4 supports both LTE and UMTS (aka 3G), UMTS support is not available on Verizon, Sprint, au, SoftBank, and EE.
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
Apple Watch Series 4 supports 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0, an upgrade from the Bluetooth 4.2 in the Apple Watch Series 3. Bluetooth 5.0 offers longer range, faster speeds, larger broadcast message capacity, and better interoperability with other wireless technologies.
GPS has been included in the Apple Watch since the Series 2, and all Series 4 models, LTE and non-LTE, feature a GPS chip that allows the Apple Watch to determine its position without needing to be near an iPhone.
With GPS, the Apple Watch is able to keep tabs on speed, distance, and route when you're walking, running, hiking, or biking, providing more insight into your fitness activities.
GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and QZSS systems are supported for positioning technology across multiple countries.
Apple Watch Series 4 features a barometric altimeter that's designed to let users track flights of stairs climbed, elevation gains when climbing or riding, and other similar activities.
The heart rate sensors in the Apple Watch (electrical and optical) measure heart rate on a regular basis and enable ECG functionality, and there's the aforementioned next-generation accelerometer and gyroscope. To control the brightness of the display, the Apple Watch Series 4 is equipped with an ambient light sensor.
All of the Apple Watch Series 4 models, GPS and LTE, feature 16GB of storage space for music and apps.
Apple Watch Series 4 Collections
Apple changes its Apple Watch collection and updates available bands on a regular basis, generally debuting fresh inventory during spring and fall media events.
When new bands or case materials are released, Apple offers the Apple Watch in new combinations, retiring older watch and band combinations in favor of new looks, so the available Apple Watch models are always changing.
The aluminum Apple Watch collection, known as the Sport collection in previous generations, is the watch collection with the lowest price tag. Aimed at fitness enthusiasts, the aluminum watches do not have a sapphire display, instead featuring a lightweight strengthened alumina-silicate Ion-X glass.
Apple's aluminum collection features an anodized aluminum casing in silver, space gray, and gold finishes. With the Ion-X glass and the aluminum casing, the aluminum watches are quite a bit lighter than stainless steel models.
The aluminum Apple Watch models are available with a variety of Sport Bands or Sport Loops in different colors to match each casing color. Sport Bands that ship with the Apple Watch Sport include buckles or closures that match the finish of the watch they're included with.
Aluminum Apple Watch Series 4 models are available both with and without LTE connectivity.
The Apple Watch stainless steel collection includes Apple Watch models that feature stainless steel casings in a highly polished silver color, a bright gold, and a space black shade. These watches feature a durable, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal display.
The stainless steel Apple Watch Series 4 models can be purchased with Sport bands in a variety of colors or the Milanese Loop in silver, gold, or space gray. Stainless steel models are only available with GPS and LTE connectivity, and there's no non-LTE version available.
The Apple Watch Nike+ was created in partnership with Nike and is designed specifically for runners. It features an aluminum body and it comes with either a unique perforated band that's stretchy, light, and breathable, or one of Apple's lightweight fabric Sport Loops.
Nike has designed special software for the Nike+, which is designed to motivate runners to stay active. Nike+ Apple Watches include unique Nike-designed watch faces and are available in silver and black aluminum with matching perforated bands or Sport Loops in a selection of different Nike-exclusive colors.
The Hermès Apple Watch collection was created in partnership with French fashion house Hermès and features some of the most expensive Apple Watches Apple offers because of the high price of the bands.
All Hermès models feature a silver stainless steel Apple Watch body paired with one of the Hermès signature hand-crafted leather bands and an additional orange Hermès-branded Apple Watch Sport band. Hermès Apple Watches include unique watch faces based on Hermès watch designs.
Apple has designed several types of bands for the Apple Watch: Link Bracelet, Sport Band, Leather Loop, Modern Buckle, Sport Loop, and Milanese Loop, all made from a variety of materials to match different tastes and at varying price points.
Apple changes its band colors and collections on a regular basis, retiring older colors and introducing new ones with each season. Apple most recently introduced a range of new band colors in March 2019. The new spring colors include Spearmint, Delft Blue, Papaya, Cerulean, Spearmint, Lilac, and Sunset.
The Sport Loop is Apple's newest band, introduced in 2017. Designed to be soft, breathable, and lightweight, the Sport Loop is similar to the Leather Loop with a hook and loop fastener for a tight but comfortable fit.
It's made from a velcro-like double-layer nylon and comes in a range of colors, with Nike-branded Sport Loops also available. The 40mm version fits wrists sized 130 to 190mm, while the 44mm version fits wrists sized 145 to 220mm. Apple charges $49 for the Sport Loop.
Apple's Sport Bands are the company's lightest, most comfortable bands, made from a flexible and lightweight fluoroelastomer. Because they're ideal for use when exercising or engaging in vigorous activity, most of Apple's aluminum watches ship with Sport Bands.
Pricing starts at $49 for the Sport Bands, which come with three pieces to adjust the size. Apple offers Sport Bands in S/M, M/L, and L/XL size options.
The unique perforated Nike Apple Watch bands that come with Nike watches are also available for purchase on a standalone basis. Nike bands are made from a high-performance fluoroelastomer and are available for both 40mm and 44mm Apple Watch models. The bands fit wrists sized 130 to 200mm.
Like Sport Bands, Nike Bands are priced at $49.
The stainless steel Milanese Loop, available in 40mm and 44mm sizes, is a flexible metal mesh band that wraps around the wrist. It's made of such a fine metal material that it's comfortable to wear all day long, and it's surprisingly lightweight.
The Milanese Loop is priced at $150 and comes in silver, gold, or space Black to match the stainless steel Apple Watch models.
The Leather Loop, made from quilted Venezia leather, is another band that wraps around the wrist instead of using a clasp. It's priced at $149 and is only available for 44mm watches. The Leather Loop fits wrists sized 150mm to 210mm.
The Modern Buckle, made from supple Granada leather, is a band that's designed to work with the smaller 40mm Apple Watch models. It features a two-piece magnetic buckle and an inner layer of Vectran weave for strength and scratch resistance.
The Modern Buckle is available in three sizes to fit wrists from 135mm to 180m, and it's priced at $149.
The 316L stainless steel alloy Link Bracelet, available in 40mm and 44mm sizes, is Apple's most expensive band made in-house. Available in Silver ($449) and Space Black ($549), the Link Bracelet resembles a high-quality traditional watch band.
The 40mm model fits wrists sized 135 to 195mm while the 44mm model fits wrists sized 140 to 205mm. A 6-link add-on kit expands its size from 205mm to 245mm for an additional $49.
Along with Hermès Apple Watches, Apple sells a selection of standalone Hermès bands, designed by the fashion house. Hermès bands are available in an assortment of colors.
As these are bands created in partnership with a French fashion houses, prices are more expensive than Apple's own bands. Hermès bands start at $340 and go up from there.
Apple Watch Series 3
Apple is continuing to sell select previous-generation Apple Watch Series 3 models at a discounted price. Available in aluminum only, pricing on the Series 3 starts at $279 for GPS only models and $379 for GPS + Cellular models.
Apple Watch Series 3 models feature smaller 38 and 42mm bodies with less display area, a dual-core S3 processor, and an optical heart rate sensor.
Compared to Apple Watch Series 4 models, the Series 3 is smaller, a bit slower, can't take an ECG, and won't monitor for irregular heartbeat, but it offers all other health and fitness features available in the Series 4.
All Apple Watch models run an operating system called watchOS. watchOS 5, the newest version of watchOS, is installed on the Apple Watch Series 4 models at launch.
Released in September 2018, watchOS 5 introduces new features like Walkie-Talkie for push-to-talk communication with friends, Activity Challenges, new Workout types, improvements to Siri with Siri Shortcuts for predicting what you'll want to do next on your watch, and smarter notifications.
There's a new Podcasts app for listening to podcasts right on your wrist, WebKit integration lets you do more on your wrist than ever before, and you can talk to Siri just by raising your wrist. Automatic workout detection means you'll never miss getting credit for a workout, and there are several new watch faces available.
Software is an important part of the Apple Watch, because it's what powers all of the features. Apple Watch is designed to encourage you to be more active, and Apple pushes you to "Close your Rings," aka hit all of your movement goals for the day.
The Apple Watch tracks all of your workouts and motivate you through personalized goals, smart coaching, stand reminders, and celebrations and achievements when you hit milestones. Beyond that, Apple Watch keeps an eye on your heart, offers up Breathe reminders to cut down on stress, and keeps you connected to your world at all times with notifications and support for a wide range of apps.
You can do a lot of what you can do on an iPhone on an Apple Watch, including sending messages, making phone calls, writing emails, scheduling appointments, browsing social media sites, playing games, and more.
All of the health and fitness data collected by Apple Watch is synced to the Health app on your iPhone so you always have an overview of what's going on with your body, and the info can also be shared with your doctor.
For details on all of the features included in watchOS 5, make sure to
Apple Watch How Tos
What's Next for the Apple Watch
Coming in watchOS 6
In watchOS 6, set to debut at WWDC, Apple has several major features planned that will overhaul the watchOS operating system. The Apple Watch is gaining its own App Store, so users can download apps right from their wrists for the first time.
New health applications are said to be in the works, with Apple set to introduce a "Dose" app for pill reminders and a "Cycles" app for tracking menstrual cycles.
Apple plans to add a Calculator app, a Voice Memos app, and an app for listening to audiobooks, plus Animoji and Memoji stickers are coming to the Apple Watch.
New complications will be included in watchOS 6 that will show the status of audio books, the battery life of hearing aids, rain data, and the level of external noise.
There will be new watch faces as well, including "Gradient" that makes a gradient out of a color the user chooses and two new "X-Large" faces showing jumbo numbers in different fonts and colors. A "California" dial will look like a classic watch face but with a mix of Roman numerals and Arabic numerals, and the "Solar Analog" face is getting redesigned with a watch face that looks like a sundial.
Coming This Fall
According to reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the Apple Watch Series 5, coming in September 2019, will feature a new ceramic casing design, suggesting a possible return of the Apple Watch Edition. Expanded ECG support for additional countries is also expected in 2019, with the feature likely to be available in Series 4 and new Series 5 models.
Apple previously made the Apple Watch Series 3 available in ceramic variants at a higher price tag than stainless steel or aluminum, but Edition models were discontinued and were not offered in 2018. Japan Display may be Apple's supplier for OLED displays for the Series 5 models.
Rumors suggest a future version of the Apple Watch will adopt solid state buttons that don't physically click but instead provide haptic feedback to users when the buttons are touched. Apple introduced haptic feedback for the Digital Crown in the Series 4, and haptic feedback could potentially extend to the side button.
Further in the future, the Apple Watch may do away with buttons altogether, with the sides of the device adopting support for touch and swipe-based gestures.
In 2020, Apple may add a sleep tracking app to the Apple Watch, allowing the Apple Watch to be worn while sleeping for the purpose of tracking sleep and sleep quality. The feature is in testing with Apple employees and if the project proves successful, it could be added to the Apple Watch Series 6.
Sleep tracking has not been previously implemented perhaps due to battery life concerns, but it's possible sleep mode will accompany a low power mode that will not significantly impact battery life.
Apple has filed several patents covering the possibility of moving hardware into the Apple Watch's band, including batteries, speakers, kinetic power generators, haptic feedback devices, and more. It's not clear whether this patented technology will be incorporated into future hardware, but it's a possibility.
Apple is rumored to have a team of biomedical engineers working on a method for non-invasively monitoring blood glucose levels using optical sensors, technology that could potentially make its way into the Apple Watch at some point in the future. Such a feature would make diabetes management much easier because it would not require puncturing the skin.
Apple reportedly has a secret manufacturing facility in Santa Clara, California where it is designing and producing test samples of displays that use MicroLED, a technology that will follow OLED. MicroLED screens can result in devices that are slimmer, brighter, and use less power.
The Apple Watch may be the first device to receive an Apple-designed microLED display, but the technology is still a "couple of years" from reaching consumers. iPhones with MicroLED displays will follow.