Apple Watch Series 4: The first reviews are in

Excerpts from the posts I’ve seen.

Dieter Bohn, The Verge: The best gets better. The Series 4 has finally achieved something like the original goal of the Apple Watch. It’s not quite a do-anything computer on your wrist, but it can be different things to different people now. With apologies to the new iPhones, the Apple Watch Series 4 was the most impressive thing Apple announced last week. After using it for the past week or so, I think it lives up to the hype.

Scott Rosenfield, Wired: Be still my heart. If you have the original Watch, the Series 1, or the Series 2—or if you’ve been thinking about buying your very first Apple Watch—you should pull the trigger. The Series 4 is a significant step up from early watch models in every meaningful way, and those differences will be especially pronounced if you’re upgrading to LTE… If you’re coming from a Series 3, the choice is more difficult. The Series 4 is undoubtedly the better device. And if you care about fall detection, the ECG app, or a larger screen then upgrading makes sense. But I think most people will remain satisfied with their Series 3s. That’s not a knock on what Apple has achieved here—it’s a testament to how good the Apple Watch has become.

Brian Heater, TechCrunch: A larger screen, improved tracking and serious health tools make the best smartwatch even better.  Simply put, the Apple Watch has long represented a rare bright spot in a flagging wearables category. The device has been successful enough for long enough that analysts are once again bullish on the categorygoing forward. That’s an impressive feat by any measure. So what’s a market-dominating smartwatch maker to do? For Apple, the answer is two-fold. First, improve upon the overall experience without altering anything too much. With the Apple Watch Series 4, that means subtle hardware improvements like a larger screen while maintaining a similar form factor, as well as tweaks like the addition of haptic feedback to the Watch’s crown.

Brian X. Chen, New York Times: A Big Deal for Our HealthThe Apple Watch’s EKG won’t be nearly as comprehensive as the one produced by a traditional electrocardiograph, which hooks up to multiple parts of the body, like the one the cardiologist used on me. The watch is a single-lead EKG device, meaning it will record one angle of the heart’s electrical signals — enough to collect data about arrhythmia but not to diagnose a heart attack. Still, the new Apple Watch is perhaps one of the most significant developments in wearable gadgets in years. People with heart problems can easily use the EKG app to take electrocardiograms whenever they sense something abnormal, without the rigmarole I went through. And the data can be shared immediately with their doctor, which could open a conversation about next steps, like going in for a visit or modifying treatment.

Charlie Warzel, Buzzfeed: A Device For A Future That Isn’t Quite Here. I’m not an Apple Watch devotee — after a harrowing experience getting lost in the Alps a year ago, I purchased a hulking Garmin multi-sport smartwatch with GPS to ensure I’ll never find myself cold and afraid on the side of a mountain ever again. A long weekend with the Series 4 didn’t convert me from my current monstrosity, which has 12 days of battery life, topographic maps of every inch of the US, and turn-by-turn directions. But the new Apple Watch’s sleek, compact design and hyper-high-resolution screen did make me feel pangs of shame for the rugged absolute unit of a Garmin that normally rests atop my wrist.

Stephen Pulvirent, Hodinkee: A Week On The WristLast week, Apple announced a new generation of Apple Watch and I was fortunate enough to be loaned one for a review. I’ve spent the last six days wearing the Series 4, putting it through its paces. I’ve been checking out all those new, supposedly life-changing features that were exuberantly spoken about during Apple’s keynote presentation at the perfectly-appointed Steve Jobs Theater. I’ve been exploring the updated operating system, watchOS 5, to see how the Apple Watch is changing at the platform level. I’ve been thinking a lot about Apple’s long-term vision for the Apple Watch and how it’s starting to come into clearer focus. And, finally, I’ve been thinking about how the Apple Watch Series 4 stands up as a product on its own merits and whether or not I think you should open up your Macbook, launch Safari, and pre-order one right now.

Todd Haselton, CNBC: A big, but expensive, upgrade. The battery life is good, too. Apple advertises 18 hours of use. I took the Apple Watch Series 4 off of the charger on Friday morning. I drove to the beach that evening and realized I’d forgotten my charger. I turned it off Saturday night and still had 16 percent left on Sunday at 3 p.m. I’d worn the Apple Watch all day each day, and even used it to track workouts and make sure I closed all of my rings. That’s good enough for me.

Gareth Beavis, TechRadar: One of the best smartwatches just got better. Apple clearly believes smartwatches are here to stay – the Watch 4 utterly proves that. The design alone is a big upgrade, with the screen offering far more visibility, and while the health benefits are only going to help a subset of users, they’re welcome and show the direction Apple is heading. If it had better battery life, and thus able to track sleep, the Watch 4 could have been the perfect smartwatch.

Ed Baig, USA Today: Bigger display, fall detection and ECG may make it the time to upgradeAt the risk of stereotyping, it’s safe to assume that Apple is grabbing at an older demographic, customers who, by and large, may have been more dismissive of earlier smart watches

More as they come in.

9 Comments

  1. Richard Wanderman said:

    I think the Apple Watch was the most exciting announcement at the event the other day. I would have ordered one immediately but I needed to get to a store to figure out which band I wanted and to try on the smaller size since the V. 4 version has about the same screen real estate as the larger V. 3.

    I went with the larger V. 4 aluminum seashell band.

    Of course, my delay means that my watch won’t ship for a month.

    Sigh.

    I already know I have AFib so I’m not getting the watch to find out but I would like to know, as with a Holter monitor, whether my AFib is sporadic or chronic (all the time). And, the fall 911 call sounds like a good idea to me although I’m hoping the time delay is adjustable.

    I think Apple will still more V. 4 watches than all previous versions combined. Just the fall feature alone is cheaper than most subscription wrist bands and they don’t work automatically, one has to push a button which means if you’re unconscious, no help. I wish we could track the age range of folks who have bought the watch and how that will change with V. 4 because of this. I predict my generation (I’m 66) is gonna jump on this when they haven’t before.

    4
    September 19, 2018
  2. Ken Cheng said:

    Good timing! My Seies 0 Apple Watch only charged to 52% last night. First time it didn’t charge fully. I guess 4yrs and 1000+ charges did it.

    Watch sales are going to be strong enough that they’ll get their own line in the financials is my prediction.

    0
    September 19, 2018
  3. Fred Stein said:

    This Watch launch will be remembered, as the inflection in the S-curve of wearables. Apple made a bold choice with the first Watch with Watch OS to make it a platform, not just a device. It’s hard to see how anyone can catch them.

    There will a number niche Watches with longer battery life by creating a limited OS, not a platform. None will have enough market share to justify an App ecosystem. Nor will they generate enough profit to justify $100’s of $M in future R&D. Apple will have both. The competing platform OS’s, Gear and Wear, will fight over table scraps.

    When I was 2 years old, January 21, 1949, Miles Davis, “The Birth of the Cool”.

    0
    September 19, 2018
    • David Drinkwater said:

      Do we share a January 21 Birthday? Mine came slightly later than yours.

      0
      September 19, 2018
  4. Gregg Thurman said:

    Not that long ago I posited that Apple Watch, over time, may become Apple’s biggest hardware revenue stream. With the price increases of iPhone I don’t think Apple Watch will become #1, but certainly, it will become #2.

    As long as I’m crystal ball gazing, I think the A-Series processor will evolve over the next two years such that Apple will introduce a third mobile device, an iPad/MacBook convertible device.

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    September 19, 2018
  5. John Butt said:

    “If it had better battery life, and thus able to track sleep, the Watch 4 could have been the perfect smartwatch.”
    I use it for this purpose all the time. Once you discover that a larger charger can recharge the watch in minutes. I use my iPhone charger, not the watch one. I charge while i have a shower etc in the morning and similar in the evening so I get close to 24hrs daily for my Apple watch 1
    This enables heart tracking to help with drug admin to manage AF

    1
    September 19, 2018
    • John Konopka said:

      Same here. At night I put it in theater mode and in the morning the battery is still near 100%. Slide up on the face and select the little tragedy/comedy icons. In this mode the screen doesn’t light up when you move. This helps to not bother you, it also saves power.

      The S4 is so good I will upgrade from the S3.

      1
      September 19, 2018
  6. Gregg Thurman said:

    Yesterday I looked at the aluminum and stainless models to see the difference. Strictly a vanity thing – I think the stainless looks better. Will be getting a stainless Series 4 w/ milanese loop band and a sport band for everyday use.

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    September 20, 2018

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