Apple Watch Series 4 – A Stronger Focus on Health
The new Apple Watch Series 4 stole the show at Apple’s September Keynote last month. Not only because it was the latest upgrade to the Apple Watch line, but also because it has shaped up to be the best health centric smartwatch on the market for the upcoming year.
With both an upgrade to the design and internal specifications, the Series 4 sports a new edge-to-edge screen with an all new sensor array – making the already popular smartwatch even more powerful.
Coupled with deep integration with iOS 12, the new Apple Watch has notable health tracking functionality over the previous generations. With that being said, the Apple Watch Series 4 is still a more expensive option on the market – so what are these new health features and are they worth the premium?
Upgraded Heartrate Sensor
For the previous three generations of Apple Watches, they all came with various upgrades to internal specifications such as CPU, RAM and storage. However, Apple has decided to take it one step further and upgraded the heartrate monitor on the new Series 4 smartwatch.
In the Series 4, they have included an extra Electrical Heartrate Sensor (ECG) on top of the existing Optical Heartrate Sensor (PPG). Instead of reading light that is reflected off blood flow like in traditional PPGs, an ECG uses electrical signals to detect cardiac activity.
Not only are the readings more accurate, but the new sensor array is also not hindered in situations when it is covered with sunscreen or sweat. This makes the watch perfect for anybody who is into exercising outdoors or prefer using the Apple Watch as a dedicated fitness tracker.
US FDA Approved ECG
As mentioned above, the Apple Watch now sports an ECG alongside the optical PPG in its heartrate sensor. However, they have also included another ECG in the Digital Crown of the watch.
Through a combination of both the upgraded heartrate sensing technology and the new Digital Crown, Apple is able to successfully clear the Series 4 as a “United States FDA Class II Medical Device”. This makes it one of the first few consumer electronic wearables that have managed to be cleared by the FDA.
What this means, is all these new ECG sensors give a “peace of mind” for anybody who has a serious medical condition. The Apple Watch Series 4 can instantly notify the user if it detects any anomalies and even generate scheduled reports on your cardiac health.
Watch OS Integrations
One of the key innovations that Apple focused on, was the cohesiveness between the other sensors (such as the accelerometer) and gaining health data from them. With AI and machine learning, Apple is able to use the accelerometer and machine learning models and accurately predict if the wearer has taken a hard fall. The watch also automatically detects if the user has been knocked unconscious, and if upon doing so, the watch will also automatically call emergency services.
However, through this new cohesiveness, Apple also improved their tracking of in water activities. With the new OS and sensor upgrades in the Series 4, Apple is now able to detect which stroke the wearer is doing and track that activity in the Watch’s Health Application.
In conclusion, the new Apple Watch Series 4 is a definite upgrade over the previous generation. Whether you are buying it as a dedicated fitness tracker or a smart watch for Apple’s ecosystem. The new Apple Watches will serve you better than the previous generations.
However, the true value lies in what the new ECG sensors can bring to users. With this new upgrade, the Apple Watch stopped being just a fitness tracker and became a device that can truly monitor your health 24/7. For people who have heart complaints or those with loved ones who are prone to falls or may have issues with their hearts – the Apple Watch Series 4 is truly a game changer.
For anybody still holding on to the Apple Watch Series 1-2, the Series 4 is a must-have upgrade!