What we think we know about Apple Watch Series 4

We’ve looked at what improvements to expect in 2018’s iPhones and iPad Pros; today we explore the current speculation surround Apple Watch Series 4.

Apple, Apple Watch, watchOS, watchOS 5, iPhone, Gather Round, September 12, wearables
Leif Johnson/IDG

We’ve looked at what improvements to expect in 2018’s iPhones and iPad Pros; today we explore the current speculation surround Apple Watch Series 4, which may also be introduced at Apple’s Gather Round special event on Sept. 12

We actually don’t know a huge amount about the next-generation of this important Apple product. We can imagine a faster processor, and it seems reasonable to anticipate an improved or upgraded W2 chip. But what else is being discussed?

A new Apple Watch operating system

So far, we know watchOS 5 will bring improvements, such as auto-workout detection, new fitness features (including running mode), podcasts, Walkie-Talkie, and even WebKit support. (Tip: The latter feature means if you send yourself an iMessage with a link to your favorite search engine, you can then use your watch to search the internet.)

Apple Watch users can also expect to benefit from Siri Shortcuts, new Siri watch faces with more capabilities and other useful features – and Siri will always be on, you won’t need to say “Hey Siri.”

Size matters

Apple analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo speculates the new Apple Watch models will come in 39.9mm and 45.2mm sizes, slightly larger than the current 38mm and 42mm the company offers.

Bigger, high-res displays

A purportedly genuine image published by 9to5Mac suggests Apple will increase the resolution for the 42mm Apple Watch Series 4 model from 312 × 390 to 384 × 480, thanks to use of a larger edge-to-edge OLED display and smaller bezels. The idea Is that you will see around 15 percent more usable space on a watch of roughly the same design because of the lack of bezels.

New gold finish

Lots of speculation suggests Apple will reintroduce a gold model. I’d like to quickly point out that Apple always likes to create one special edition model that showcases its excellence in materials science – that’s what the current high-end ceramic models represent. It will be interesting to find out what the Edition model delivers in 2018.

A ‘round’ user interface

9to5Mac’s image (above) showed a new circular Apple Watch user interface.

This features eight complications and is capable of showing its user a great deal more information, such as weather, calendar, reminders, temperature, activity, music, data, and time on one screen. There is some expectation Apple may introduce a round model watch (it should), but I have a feeling the new UI will be the first step on that road, and we won't see a round model ... yet.

Battery improvements

A move to a new processor and improvements in the operating system should also lower overall power requirements. This makes it likely we’ll see battery life improve beyond its current 18 hours, though the larger screen and claims of an always-on watch face may make this less likely.

A camera? Unlikely

One image depicts a new hole beside the Digital Crown. There is some speculation this is for a microphone, but I like to pretend it will be for a FaceTime camera so I can share images of my nostrils.

No moving parts

A Fast Company report earlier this year suggested Apple may replace the physical mechanical buttons on the side of the watch with solid-state taptic feedback type buttons (like the solid-state Home button on iPhone 8).

That means you won’t need to press the side button or twist the Digital Crown – instead these will respond to touch. I guess lots of people will test the watch to see if they can make either button respond accidentally.

Iterative designs

Apple will introduce an LTE model Apple Watch Series 4. The significant design difference will be a slightly subtle red ring on the Digital Crown to show it is compatible with mobile networks. I’m in no doubt at all that my Apple Watch is far more useful when it is always connected to a mobile network. Eventually you should be able to use an Apple Watch even if you don’t own an iPhone.

Improved health monitoring

I imagine the watch will be more accurate when gathering activity data and may be capable of automatically detecting workouts when they begin. I also anticipate improvements in how Apple Watch gathers and analyzes heart data, too, given the imminent end of the Stanford/Apple Apple Watch heart study. It seems possible we’ll see sleep tracking technology inside the device. Apple acquired sleep tracking tech firm Beddit last year.

Apple is expected to maintain the same prices.

Catch up next week for more.

Also read:

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Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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