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Review: Apple Watch Series 4, the first change in watch design

And we're here to talk about the fourth generation of Ma's smartwatch, the Apple Watch Series 4. Fourth generation, yes, but that does not mean that the company has launched four watches so far. Count on me: we had the original Apple Watch, Series 1, Series 2, Series 3 and now Series 4.

The explanation for this is even relatively simple. As we know, when Apple launches a new watch, smartphone or even certain computers (like the new MacBook Air), it almost always keeps the previous generation of the product for sale.

In 2016, when the Series 2 hit the market, she did it in a slightly different way, since she preferred to give an update on the heart of the product (the processor) of the previous generation, thus going to call it Series 1 a strategy which, mercadologically, seems to be making a lot of sense. Now, in 2018, the Series 4 was launched, keeping the Series 3 on sale.

And why am I explaining this? Since, since the first generation of the watch, basically nothing has changed in the design, in its structure. We did have models of different materials besides aluminum and stainless steel, we have already seen watches made of gold (Apple Watch Edition first generation) and ceramic (Apple Watch Edition third generation), but the sizes (38mm and 42mm) and the screens have remained exactly the same along that path. Well, up here.

Design

Now, for the first time, we have an Apple Watch different from the ones already released.

Apple Watch Series 4

Analyzing quickly, these changes may seem few and even simple, but don't underestimate the power of a slightly thinner housing (11.4mm vs. 10.7mm), larger (taller box, going from 38mm and 42mm to 40mm and 44mm, respectively) and with rounded corners.

Apple Watches Series 3 and 4 casesApple Watch Series 3 left; Apple Watch Series 4 right. Notice another subtle change: the side button, below the Digital Crown, in the most "jumped" as before.

Just by looking at a Series 1/2/3 next to a Series 4, probably anyone who has never seen an Apple Watch in their life identifies the Series 4 as the most current model. This is a characteristic of Apple that intrigues: how does it manage, with such subtle changes, to differentiate its new products?

These are, of course, the most visible changes; there are others, like the redesign and repositioning of the speakers and the switching of the microphone side (which left the speakers and ended up between the Digital Crown and the side button).

The weight has also changed, see:

Stainless steel model
38mm Apple Watch Series 326.7g | 28.7g*42.4g
42mm Apple Watch Series 332.3g | 34.9g*52.8g
40mm Apple Watch Series 430.1g39.8g
44mm Apple Watch Series 436.7g47.9g

(*) Models with cellular connectivity (slightly heavier).

The back of the watch has also changed well, and now, regardless of the model you buy (be it aluminum or stainless steel), it is made of ceramic instead of composite material.

Back of Apple Watch Series 4

The look of the rear, incidentally, has changed thanks to the electrical cardiac sensor and the second generation optical cardiac sensor (more on that below).

Even with this first change in product design, the Apple Watch Series 4 remains happily compatible with all the wristbands already created for the watch at this point, there is no reason to worry.

Screen

This, for me, was the biggest news of the Apple Watch Series 4: the new screen. The specifications themselves remain the same, as we are talking about an OLED display with Force Touch and 1,000 nits brightness; the difference is due to the LTPO technology (low temperature polycrystalline oxide, or low temperature polycrystalline oxide, which is essentially a hybrid of LTPS and IGZO technologies, providing high current when the transistor is on and low power consumption when the transistor is off).

The point that, just like in iPhones and iPads Pro, the screen itself has been enlarged, losing those huge margins / edges. And that makes a huge difference in the use of the watch and the visualization of content, as we now have much more useful area.

Comparison of Apple Watches screensOnly 324 × 394 pixels in the 40mm model and 368 × 448 pixels in the 44mm model.

In practice, this means that we have a 34.8% larger viewing area on the 40mm model (compared to the 38mm model) and 28.7% on the 44mm model (compared to the 42mm model)! Everything just got bigger and easier to see in these new watches, starting with the four-digit code (which I really recommend you to configure for security reasons) if before you needed to ?pick corn? to type everything on the screen, now everything seems more in agreement with our need.

A simple change, but one that transforms our experience when interacting with the product. Point to Apple!

Despite a much more modern look and a much better use of space, these rented corners have their cons below, I show two examples:

Apple Watch Series 4 Rounded Corner Screen

Notice how, when you turn on the flashlight, the time is shifted there in the upper right corner, almost at the edge of the space. In the other image, we see that the button ?Descartar? has the bottom corners half rounded, half straight because the button did not reach the bottom of the screen, but is already in the curved area on the side. It is definitely an aesthetic problem that has absolutely no influence on the functioning of the watch or the system and is the result of this new design.

This, however, does not weigh in the slightest against the choice of Apple, since the new screen with rounded corners provides much more benefits than harm.

Still on the screen, I need to complain about one thing: Apple still insists on putting a glass of X on aluminum models instead of sapphire crystal, like those made of stainless steel. Apple Watch is the Apple device that bumps into things the most (could it be, it's on your wrist), so it would be great if we didn't have to worry so much about scratching the screen and, with the glass of X, I say that for sure matter of time until they appear. ?

Performance

The first Apple Watch performed poorly. In the beginning, the apps didn't even run on it, but on the iPhone, to get an idea. The Apple Watch Series 2 was Apple's first smartwatch capable of actually running applications and being considered a wrist computer. The thing improved even more in the Series 3, reaching the point that all users wanted when it comes to performance of a smart watch.

In Series 4, obviously, Apple is using a new chip called S4. It is a System in Package (SiP) complete, that is, an entire system made in a single component according to Apple, the Watch is the only product in the world that works exclusively with SiP technology.

Also according to the company, it is even twice as fast, making apps open faster and the whole system performing much better. In fact, you realize that with any new product that comes out of the box, its performance is optimal. If it is twice as well, it is difficult to say, because I was already quite satisfied with the performance of the Apple Watch Series 3.

In short: even if we have gains, this is definitely not an argument that would change me from Series 3 to 4.

Drums

As always, here I have harsh criticisms. Of course, as we have already said, this is not only Apple's fault but the battery industry as a whole which is stagnant and has not advanced in the same way as other technologies.

In practice, the Apple Watch Series 4 continues to offer the same 18 hours of use as the Series 3, of course, with normal use in mind. In specific uses, we have:

  • Conversation time: up to 2 hours connected to an iPhone or about 1 hour over the LTE network.
  • Audio playback: up to 10 hours of music stored in the watch, up to 7 hours of streaming in playlists using LTE and up to 5 hours of streaming radio using LTE.
  • Exercises: up to 10 hours of indoor training, up to 6 hours of outdoor training with GPS, up to 5 hours of outdoor training with GPS and LTE, up to 4 hours of outdoor training with streaming audio, GPS and LTE.

To recharge an Apple Watch to 80%, you need 1.5 hours; to reach 100%, at least 2 hours.

Apple Watch Series 4 battery

This Apple Watch battery life is something that directly interferes with what the watch is capable of. Want an (old) example? If the battery lasted 3-4 days, Apple could easily create a native sleep monitoring app with sensors that already exist on the watch, further expanding the capabilities of the Sade app (Health) of iOS and offering yet another great source of information for users to improve their lives.

is it possible to do this today? Of course, there are third-party apps that fill this gap, but it's still a big hassle to have to reload the watch basically every other day to be able to monitor your sleep.

There is no mystery that the company wants to make the Apple Watch the most important device in people's lives (speaking of health). For this, the watch must necessarily stay as long as possible on our wrist; battery, then, something paramount.

Even though the Series 4 continues to offer the same 18 hours of use, as I said above, Apple left the device less thick (removed 0.5mm from it) and this directly impacted the battery, which went from 1.07 watt-hours (Series 3 from 38mm) to 0.86 watt-hours (Series 4 of 40mm) and from 1.34 watt-hours (Series 3 of 42mm) to 1.12 watt-hours (Series 4 of 44mm). In other words, we have a decrease of 19.7% in the smaller models and 16.5% in the larger ones. I wonder how much more battery we would have if those numbers had been kept

The point is that today, without using the watch at night, you will need to recharge it every other day.

Sensors

Complaint made, time to praise other improvements implemented in the Apple Watch Series 4: the new sensors.

This more beautiful and modern look at the back is the result of the arrival of the electrical cardiac sensor, consequently, one of the coolest new features of the Apple Watch Series 4 but not yet available to anyone: the possibility of making an electrocardiogram (ECG) by the device !

ECG on Apple Watch Series 4

In fact, there are two sensors: one and the other positioned on the Digital Crown. By activating the reading and positioning your finger on the rotating piece, a closed circuit is created that is capable of, in 30 seconds, reading the rhythm of your heart and detecting possible anomalies (such as the so-called atrial fibrillation, a type of arrhythmia that can predict serious problems, such as a stroke).

The feature, however, has not yet been released by Apple for a simple reason: it needs to be approved by the regulatory bodies of each country where it is marketed. In the U.S., Apple promised to release the ECG in 2018; here in Brazil, we depend on the approval of Anvisa so that everything can be released by Ma. So, there is not much to comment on this just wait and hope that everything will be released as soon as possible, since we are talking about something really incredible .

Heartbeat on Apple Watch Series 4

But this is not the only novelty related to Series 4 sensors. In it, we also have a second generation optical cardiac sensor that monitors your heart rate throughout the day. If by chance it detects a very high or low frequency, you will receive an alert on the spot.

Thanks to the new accelerometer and gyro sensors, the Apple Watch Series 4 now also knows if you've fallen!

Upon detecting a fall, it displays an alert and offers the option to ignore or call emergency services. If you are unable to respond within 60 seconds, the watch will call a rescue number automatically and send a message with your location to your emergency contacts. More information is available in this article.

Digital Crown and speakers

THE Digital Crown it also received great improvements in this generation.

Apple Watch Series 4 Digital Crown

Its operation remains exactly the same, but now, when you rotate it, you have a tactile response that helps even give you more precision in controlling the scroll. This response generated by Taptic Engine, simulating the sound and feel of a crown from an analogue watch. Just experimenting on a daily basis to get a real sense of how it got better!

Apple Watch Series 4 speaker

As I said above, the speaker is now alone on the right side of the clock and now, according to Apple, 50% more powerful. The increase is noticeable and, although I use Siri very little on the watch (in fact, on any device), the welcome gain is mainly due to the WalkieTalkie app (which I will talk about below); the microphone, in turn, switched sides to reduce echo and improve connections.

Connectivity

In terms of connectivity, little has changed. The Apple Watch Series 4, like the 3, has GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and QZSS, barometric altimeter, waterproof (50 meters), has an ambient light sensor and supports LTE and UMTS technologies and Wi-Fi 802.11b / g / n at the 2.4GHz frequency. The novelties in this area are due to Bluetooth 5.0 (instead of 4.2), 16GB of space for storing music and photos (before, only models with cellular connectivity had 16GB, while GPS came with 8GB) and the new W3 chip (instead of W2), which improves the experience with wireless connections (stability, range and battery life of the watch).

Apple Pay

Like the others, you can also make payments with your Apple Pay credit card. Incidentally, that deserves a paragraph: Apple Pay looks like it was made for the watch. If I already practice making payments on the iPhone, let alone the Apple Watch! s press the side button twice, get close to the machine and that's it. It is a pity that, until today, the history of payments made by the watch does not appear on the iPhone Wallet app at least here, since the launch of Apple Pay in Brazil, I have this problem.

GPS + Cellular

Like the Series 3, the 4 has a model with cellular connectivity. Unfortunately, as in the previous generation, the model approved by Apple here in Brazil is not American in this way, unfortunately there is no point trying to enjoy that trip to Miami or New York and buy an Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS + Cellular) as it will not work here in Brazil (at least the cellular connectivity part, no).

That's because, because of its size, the device does not have a modem as complete as that of an iPhone. To give you an idea, the American models of the Apple Watch Series 4 with connectivity (A1975 and A1976; 40mm and 44mm) do not support * none * of the bands used by Brazilian operators (3, 7 and 28, 1.800MHz, 2.600MHz and 700MHz respectively). The European / Asian / Brazilian models (A2007 and A2008; 40mm and 44mm) already have support for bands 3 and 7, just see the complete list on this page.

Just like last year, Apple continues to offer stainless steel watches with only cellular connectivity. That is, if you want one with this material but you don't have to have a GPS + Cellular model, you will have to purchase it anyway. Although you pay more for it, there is absolutely no problem with having an LTE model and not using it to sign a data plan so the watch will continue to function as a GPS-only model.

MM in the Air on Apple Watch Series 4

The connectivity differentials, as we have already covered in some articles here on the website, are: using Siri to obtain itineraries, send iMessages and much more; send and receive messages through the Messages app; make and receive calls through the Telephone app; check the current weather using the Weather app; track shares on the stock exchange through the Bolsa app; control your devices connected to the HomeKit protocol through the Casa app; use all Wi-Fi compatible apps, such as Find My Friends; and, of course, listen to music on Apple Music and the MacMagazine On Air (and others) through the Podcasts app, all without your iPhone around.

watchOS 5

Here are also some great news. And the best: many are not restricted to Series 4!

Exercise app on Apple Watch Series 4

The exercise and challenge part of the system as a whole became more gamified, it is now possible to challenge friends to competitions lasting a week (whoever accumulates the most points that are credited according to the percentage of Activity circles you complete wins). During a competition, you also receive alerts that show who is winning and the points of each one, Breno, for example, is washing everyone! ?

Even if it doesn?t work 100% of the time here with me, especially if I?m pedaling, automatic exercise detection is a hand on the wheel! Apple Watch notices if you are doing certain types of exercise and sends an alert if you have forgotten to sign in to the app. And don't worry, because if you started an exercise a few minutes ago, the watch assigns the due credit to that part and even sends a reminder to end the exercise, in case you also forget to complete everything.

There are also new exercises (yoga and trail), rhythm alert (choose the pace of your run that the Watch will touch your wrist to warn you when it is slower or faster), mobile rhythm (updated information on the screen for you to compare your current pace with that of the previous kilometer) and steps per minute (so you can always run at the same pace, increasing efficiency and reducing injuries).

We also now have the Podcasts app on our wrist (with automatic synchronization and playback by streaming) and, finally, the Walkie-Takie app, which was supposed to have been launched by Apple alongside the first Watch model.

Walkie Talkie on Apple Watch Series 4

After adding contacts in the app, just tap on it to start chatting. It is true that the app still needs to improve a lot to become 100% reliable (you do not receive any kind of warning when someone wants to start talking to you, for example not to mention the many times when communication is simply not established). Still, it is a very useful resource for those times when you want to give a very quick message.

The Siri dial on watchOS 5 uses machine learning to get to know you better and give you more proactive suggestions throughout the day, with relevant content and shortcuts at the right time and place. Speaking of Siri, you no longer need to say Hey, Siri for the assistant to hear you. Just raise your wrist and start talking to her I confess that I preferred the old way, since now Siri often listens to me without wanting to.

Notifications have also been improved on watchOS 5. In addition to being able to interact with it with your apps (changing, for example, the time and number of people in your restaurant reservation since the app supports such a feature), notifications from the same application is now grouped, you can see web content for them (if you receive a link in the message, for example) and you can even manage it by the watch itself (you can choose the option ?Receive in Silence or Deactivate on Apple Watch) .

Not to mention, also, new options of dials such as "Fire and water", "Liquid metal", "Vapor" and "Color".

This, as I said, applies to all Apple Watches models (with the exception of the original, released in 2015). But, as always, Apple left some things only for the new models. Starting with the Infographic and Modular Infographic displays, which take advantage of the larger screen of the watch and display much more information / complications in the Infographic, you can configure up to eight complications!

What I still want to see on the Apple Watch

There are things that technology still limits us and that we still cannot have on the Apple Watch (as a blood glucose meter that would be revolutionary for those with diabetes), one day, that will arrive! Others, however, like the example of sleep monitoring that I mentioned above, are so possible that I wonder how long it takes to land.

Want another example? One of Apple's strengths is the ecosystem it manages to create by offering devices that are on our wrists, pockets, tables, etc. However, the conversation between the Apple Watch and these other devices is still not done in the best possible way. I think it's amazing to be able to unlock your Mac with my watch if you don't have a MacBook Pro with Touch Bar or a MacBook Air with Touch ID, that's the best option for you to unlock your Mac without a doubt, but I don't understand how it is today Apple does not simply make watch notifications ?forwarded? to the Mac when we are working.

Why make me look at my wrist? Wouldn't it be simpler to show me this information on a larger screen, where my eye is already pointed? I would even understand a notification for me to stand, for example, to be shown on the watch itself; now, ordinary notifications could easily be passed on to the big screen.

My experience

We are not yet at a stage where this product essential for the life of any human being like the smartphone today. In fact, I don't even know if it is. Still, the Apple Watch one gadget it is very pleasurable for those who practice physical activities and like to have greater control of some aspects of their health. Furthermore, it is also a great source of information through notifications.

When I am without it, I really miss interacting with something on my wrist that is much more comfortable than taking my cell phone out of my pocket all the time. Exercise monitoring is so addictive that you get even a little bewildered if you have to run, swim or cycle without your watch for some reason looking at it and seeing / analyzing that information during exercise is indispensable for me today.

Exercising with the Apple Watch Series 4

Even without a model with cellular connectivity, currently I only run with it. I sync my music offline, put my AirPods on and go to the activity. At this point, I find it even more interesting not to even have an LTE model as it allows you to dedicate yourself and have a much more immersive experience imagine, during a 1 hour run, the amount of messenger notifications or even calls you could receive and that can take your focus away. Of course, the button ?No Disturb? is there a long way away, but if it is to do that, why have the model with connectivity?

Returning to the main subject, the Apple Watch, in its fourth generation, remains a device totally connected to health /fitness and / or to people who like to control notifications. If you don't fit that profile, I risk saying that you won't like having one that much.

Prices

Apple Watch Herms box

The prices here in Brazil, as we said, go from R $ 4,000 (Apple Watch Series 4 GPS 40mm with aluminum case and sports band / sports loop) a R $ 14,000 (Apple Watch Herms GPS + 44mm Cellular with stainless steel case and Simple Tour Herms Fauve leather Barenia bracelet with Deployant clasp). In the United States, values ??range from $ 400 to $ 1,500.

Last year, when the Series 3 was launched, it arrived in Brazil (in its most affordable version) for R $ 2,600, that is, we are talking about a 53% increase in the base value of the product. It is worth noting, however, that the value of the Apple Watch has also increased in the USA before it cost from $ 330, an increase of 21%.

Is it worth buying the Apple Watch Series 4?

Regarding whether or not to upgrade to the Series 4, I will be very practical: obviously, everything depends on your pocket and your desire to have a new device like this. Need, even, I would say that only those who are using the original model or the Series 1 would have it; whoever is in Series 2 doesn't necessarily need it, but it would be a very welcome upgrade. Now, if you have a Series 3 and have not fallen in love with the new design and / or do not miss a slightly larger screen, there is no reason to change it. Unless you have a heart problem and wanted to buy the watch with the ECG in mind, when it is released in that case, you have nothing to think about.

The change from 42mm to 44mm undoubtedly pleased those who hoped to add a new size (bigger, of course) to the line. I believe that the 44mm model pleases those who were bothered by the 42mm model, offering the perfect balance of box size with screen utilization.

The future

If you use Android instead of iPhone and wanted to have an Apple Watch, I'm sorry, but this is not the time yet. Although there is a model with cellular connectivity (which, without a doubt, is much more independent than the GPS model), you still need the iPhone for many things like setting up your watch for the first time, downloading apps, receiving calls and messages, etc.

I still believe that, one day, the Apple Watch will be a product totally free of the smartphone which does not mean that the devices cannot talk, it is not. I'm referring to the fact that you can buy an Apple Watch and use it without having to put your hands on an iPhone. Remember the time it was necessary to have a Mac or PC to use an iPhone? Well, that happened today and I believe that the Apple Watch will, one day, follow this path.


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O MacMagazine thanks Go Imports reseller of Apple products that aims to provide Apple products at a fair price in Brazil for the opportunity to cover Apple Watch Series 4 internationally. If you are thinking of buying Mac, iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch or Apple accessories, Apple Go Imports the place!

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