Read on as we roundup everything we currently know about Apple Watch Series 4, including design changes, new health features, and more…
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This year’s Apple Watch will mark the first major design shift since the device’s introduction in 2015. According to reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple plans to reduce the bezel size on the Apple Watch, giving it a larger display and a more seamless transition from screen to edge.
In a report back in March, Kuo explained that the new Apple Watch models would feature displays roughly 15 percent bigger than the current Apple Watch Series 3.
More recently, he claimed that the Apple Watch Series 4 will feature 1.57-inch and 1.78-inch displays for the 38mm and 42mm models, respectively. Because of the Apple Watch’s sizable current bezels, these respective increases in screen size will come with no overall increase in body size.
For comparison’s sake, the Apple Watch Series 3 features a 1.5-inch and 1.65-inch display for the 38mm and 42mm models, respectively – making this a sizable upgrade when you consider just how small the actual footprint of the Apple Watch is.
As we noted earlier this month, by taking the screen closer to the edge of the body, it becomes necessary to curve the edges of the display in a fashion similar to that of the iPhone X:
With that in mind, below we’ve compared both sizes of the Series 3 Apple Watch next to what the Series 4 could look like. With dramatically smaller bezels, it becomes necessary to curve the edges of the display in a similar fashion to the iPhone X.
Since the Apple Watch display as it exists today is so small, a little change significantly improves the usability of the device. Photos would show more details, watch faces could display larger numerals, and more text could fit onscreen at once, meaning less scrolling of the Digital Crown.
Other than the increase in screen size, it does not currently sound as if Apple has any design changes, such as new finishes or a thinner footprint, in store for the Apple Watch. The screen size increase alone, however, will be a very notable and upgrade-worthy change for many.
Similar to what the iPhone 7 did for the Home button, this year’s Apple Watch could adopt new solid state buttons. A report from Fast Company last month detailed how Apple would ditch the current physical Digital Crown and Side button in favor ones powered by its Taptic Engine.
Essentially, the Side button on the Apple Watch would no longer be a real button. Instead, when you press it, it will feel like a real button, but that feedback would be powered by the Taptic Engine rather than actual movement. Meanwhile, the Digital Crown is said to still to still physically scroll, but a press will likewise be simulated by the Taptic Engine.
This change will mean a few things for the Apple Watch Series 4. For one, improvements to waterproofing will be possible thanks to the lack of a physical gap between the buttons and the Apple Watch itself. Further, as Fast Company explained at the time, solid state buttons also take up less space than traditional buttons, freeing up internal space for a bigger battery among other things.
All in all, while it may not sound like a big change, a switch to Taptic Engine buttons for Apple Watch should bring several notable improvements for users.
It’s no secret that Apple has put a strong focus on health and activity with the Apple Watch. watchOS 5 includes further improvements to those aspects with things such as Activity Competitions, automatic workout detection, and more.
In terms of hardware upgrades, Ming-Chi Kuo indicated this month that the Apple Watch Series 4 will include improved heart rate detection. What exactly this means is unclear at this point as the Apple Watch is already believed to have the most accurate heart rate detection of any smartwatch.
There are other health areas, however, where Apple is being leapfrogged by companies like Fitbit, which supports sleep tracking and sleep apnea detection. It’s areas like these that we’d really like to see Apple focus on, but at this point we don’t know much about its plans.
The Apple Watch Series 3 made some notable steps forward in speed and performance thanks to its new dual-core S3 processor, but there is certainly still room for further improvement.
It’s currently unclear as to what processor the Apple Watch Series 4 will feature, but if history is any indication, we do know that Apple will likely call it the S4 processor. What improvements such a processor will bring are unclear, though.
The Apple Watch pricing structure will almost certainly remain the same. The Apple Watch Series 3 starts at $329 for the GPS-only model and increases to $399 if you upgrade to the cellular model. There’s no indication that Apple will change Apple Watch pricing this year, though it would certainly be nice to see the cellular model fall to that $329 price point.
Apple Watch Series 4 is likely to be announced in September alongside Apple’s new lineup of iPhone models. Historically, the first three Apple Watch models have all been announced during Apple’s September event in conjunction with new iPhone models. As for a release, we should expect Apple to make the Apple Watch Series 4 available in September as well.
What do you think of the Apple Watch Series 4, based on what we know so far? Are you planning to upgrade? Let us know down in the comments!
- KGI: New Apple Watch models later this year with new design, ~15% bigger display
- iOS 12 beta 2 includes references to new Apple Watch models
- Kuo: Apple planning 11″ iPad Pro, Mac mini update, 1.57″ & 1.78″ Apple Watch, AirPower for fall
- Gallery: Visualizing an 11-inch iPad Pro and bezel-free Apple Watch Series 4
- Apple Watch to adopt solid state Side button and Digital Crown with Haptic Feedback