The new Watch Series 4 now features ECG on the go

Apple has introduced the Watch Series 4, alongside the brand new iPhones for 2018. The Series 4 will be the flagship wearable form the company and will sell alongside the Series 3 in various markets across the world. The Watch Series 4 (GPS) will be available in 26 countries whereas GPS + Cellular model will be available in 16 countries. However, it’s availability in India hasn’t been announced yet.

The Watch Series 4 is offered in two sizes — 40mm and 44mm. Apple says the speaker is now 50 per cent louder and is optimised for phone calls, Siri and Walkie-Talkie. The relocated microphone claims to reduce echo for better sound quality.

The Series 4 is powered by Apple’s next-generation S4 chip with a custom 64-bit dual-core processor, which Apple claims can deliver twice the speed while maintaining the same all-day battery life.

The Series 4 get a new and larger display with thinner bezels. The back is composed of black ceramic and sapphire crystal, which Apple says can help with connectivity. The Digital Crown now includes haptic feedback, offering a more mechanical and responsive feel.

With the Series 4, the app icons, buttons and fonts are now larger, with more information displayed on the screen. New watch faces take full advantage of the Series 4 display, from the customisable Infograph face, to the Breathe face, where the animation is timed around a deep breath. Additionally, a suite of motion faces, including Vapor, Liquid Metal, Fire and Water reacts uniquely with the curved edges of the case.

The biggest highlight, however, is that users can now take an ECG reading right from the wrist using the new ECG app, which takes advantage of the electrodes built into the Digital Crown and new electrical heart rate sensor in the back. With the app, users touch the Digital Crown and after 30 seconds, receive a heart rhythm classification. It can classify if the heart is beating in a normal pattern or whether there are signs of Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), a heart condition that could lead to major health complications. All recordings, their associated classifications and any noted symptoms are stored in the Health app in a PDF that can be shared with physicians. With watchOS 5, Apple Watch intermittently analyses heart rhythms in the background and sends a notification if an irregular heart rhythm suggestive of AFib is detected.3 It can also alert the user if the heart rate exceeds or falls below a specified threshold.

Fall detection utilises a next-generation accelerometer and gyroscope, which measures up to 32 g-forces, along with custom algorithms to identify when hard falls occur. By analysing wrist trajectory and impact acceleration, Apple Watch sends the user an alert after a fall, which can be dismissed or used to initiate a call to emergency services. If Apple Watch senses immobility for 60 seconds after the notification, it will automatically call emergency services and send a message along with location to emergency contacts.

With watchOS 5, Apple Watch becomes an even better fitness and workout companion. Activity competitions allow users to challenge other Apple Watch wearers, automatic workout detection provides an alert to start a workout while giving retroactive credit, and Yoga and Hiking are new dedicated workout types that accurately track active calories burned and exercise minutes earned. Running enthusiasts can take advantage of extended battery life — which is increased to six hours — for outdoor workouts and enjoy high-performance features, including cadence for indoor and outdoor runs, pace alerts for outdoor runs and rolling mile pace, which shows pace for the immediately preceding mile.

Users can reach their friends with just a tap with Walkie-Talkie — a watch-to-watch connection that is an entirely new way to communicate around the world over Wi-Fi or cellular. The Siri watch face is more predictive and proactive, offering shortcuts and actionable content from favourite third-party apps. watchOS 5 also lets users listen to their favourite podcasts on the go with Apple Podcasts on Apple Watch, and stream any podcast in the catalogue by using Siri. With Apple Watch Series 4, enriched complications offer a more detailed view of helpful third-party apps like Dexcom, which allows for continuous glucose monitoring, or Streaks, which shows daily progress on tasks.

The Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS) starts at $399 while the GPS + Cellular starts at $499. The Series 3 will be available at the new starting price of $279, with three aluminium finishes anodised in silver, gold and space gray. The Series 4 comes in a gold stainless steel with matching Milanese band, joining the silver and space black stainless steel models. The Watch Nike+ collection features redesigned Nike watch faces that match the new band colours, including a Pure Platinum/Black Sport Band and a Summit White Sport Loop with reflective yarn.

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