Apple Watch Overview Updated March 23, 2021

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November 2013 - August 2021

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History

The original Apple Watch (later called Series 0) was released on April 24, 2015, after years of rumors. While there was a lot of initial hype around it, the third-party watchOS apps were slow to launch due to API limitations. Native apps were available in watchOS 2. The original watch came in 38mm and 42mm sizes.

The Series 2 Watch was released on September 16th, 2016 along with a Series 1 Watch. The Series 2 included the S2 chip, built-in GPS, and water-proof construction. The Series 1 included the S2, but lacked GPS and waterproofing.

The Series 3 Watch was released on September 22, 2017, and it included an LTE option and the S3 chip. The Series 4 Watch was released on September 21, 2018. New hardware included the S4 Chip, Electrical heart sensor w/ ECG app, and larger display (40mm and 44mm sizes).

Apple Watch Series 5 was announced during Apple’s fall event on September 10, 2019. Customers were able to purchase the device later that day, and it was released on September 20. The headline feature for this model was the wearable’s always-on display. The new display always shows the time and complications and is also the first from the company to include a built-in compass.

Apple launched international emergency services to every cellular model. Series 5 also brought back ceramic white, and new natural brush and space black titanium models.

Apple Watch Series 6 was unveiled on September 15, 2020 at the “Time Flies” event alongside the more affordable SE and new iPad Air. New features of the Series 6 include blood oxygen monitoring, new watch colors, faster S6 chip, new watch faces, and more.

Apple Watch features

Apple Watch is designed to help you stay active, motivated, and connected. The newest versions are Series 6 and SE while Apple still sells Series 3 as the most affordable option.

Features include:

  • Heart rate monitoring (all models)
    • Including high, low, and irregular heart rate notifications
  • ECG readings (Series 4 and later)
  • Blood oxygen monitoring (Series 6)
  • Workout tracking, Activity Rings, competitions, and awards
  • Works with Apple Fitness+
  • Sleep tracking (with watchOS 7)
  • GPS and GPS + Cellular models
  • Always-on display (Series 5 & 6)
  • Water-resistant to 50 meters
  • Emergency SOS and fall detection
  • Phone calls and Messages
  • Music, Podcasts, and more
  • Third-party apps available through App Store built into watchOS

watchOS

watchOS is the dedicated software that runs on Apple Watch. The current version is watchOS 7 that was released in fall 2020 and is compatible with Series 3 and later.

watchOS 7 brought new features like native sleep tracking, Family Setup, watch face sharing, new workout tracking types, cycling directions in maps, and automatic handwashing reminders.

Apple Fitness+ support and new cardio fitness notifications came with watchOS 7.2 And watchOS 7.4 is coming with the exciting new Apple Watch unlock for iPhone feature.

Current Apple Watch lineup

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Apple Watch Stories August 2

The best ways to extend Apple Watch battery life: Settings, portable chargers, ext. heart rate monitors, more

Apple Watch has evolved with new features and hardware changes steadily since the original launched in 2015, but one aspect that has remained the same is battery life. Read on as we take a look at the best ways to extend Apple Watch battery life with options in settings as well as portable chargers, external heart rate monitors, and more.

New Apple Watch models debut each fall like clockwork, and the countdown to Apple Watch Series 7 is well underway. In this roundup, we’re tracking everything we know so far about the next-generation Apple Watch. If you’re anything like me, Apple Watch Series 7 can’t come soon enough!

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Apple Watch Stories July 29

Kosta Eleftheriou, the developer behind FlickType for Apple Watch and the developer who has exposed countless App Store scams, is out with a new Apple Watch app today. Nanogram Messenger is a new app for Telegram users that aims to bring the full Telegram experience to your Apple Watch.

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Apple is looking to hire a “regulatory project manager” to join its ever-growing Health team, as first detailed in a report from MyHealthyApple. The job posting is for a position on the Hardware team and the person would be responsible for leading the work on a Class II medical device and the associated regulatory hurdles.

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Apple Watch Stories July 27

Apple Watch Activity Challenges scheduled for next month in Russia and China

Apple has set a pair of Apple Watch Activity Challenges for next month in China and Russia. On August 14 in Russia, Apple Watch users can celebrate Physical Culture Day with their Apple Watch, while users in China can celebrate National Fitness Day on August 8.

Apple Watch has introduced a host of health benefits over the last six years including monitoring heart health/ECG readings, fall detection, blood oxygen, exercise tracking, and has become more widely used in health studies. However, researchers from Harvard and the University of Michigan have now shared concerns about relying on Apple Watch for studies with the wearable’s algorithms creating “black boxes.”

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