Apple event: Apple Watch Series 4 launched, comes with built-in ECG scanner

Apple chief operating officer Jeff Williams said the company is taking the Apple Watch to the next level with the newest generation of the device, improving functionality across multiple areas.

The Apple Watch Series 2 is no longer available on Apple's web store, but you can still find the Series 3 there at a bargain price. The displays push closer (but not right up to) to the edge of the case, matching its curves. Pricing starts at US$399 with Global Positioning System, and $499 for Global Positioning System plus Cellular.

Apple Watch Series 3 now starts at just £279 for the 38 millimetre option without cellular functionality. The latest Series 4 will be available for pre-orders starting September 14 and will go on sale starting September 21 in 26 markets at launch for the GPS-only variant, and 16 markets for the GPS+Cellular variant at launch.

The Apple Watch Series 4 comes in silver, black, and gold, and starts at $US399. The Apple Watch also intermittently analyzes heartbeats in the background for irregularities, or if it exceeds or falls below a specified threshold. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb also jumped in to tout his agency's role in the clearance.

Apple introduced on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) a fourth generation of the Apple Watch with a major redesign - and a series of features created to improve its performance as a medical and health device.

Apple Watches were already capable wrist-worn heart-rate monitors, but the Series 4 has some new tricks in that regard.

A standard Apple Watch Series 4 device, available in 24 regions, starting at $399.

A report from Canalys estimates Apple shipped 3.5 million Apple Watches worldwide during the second quarter of 2018, up 30% during the same period a year ago.

As for what's under the hood, the Series 4 is powered by a dual-core 64-bit S4 silicon chip, which Williams claimed will let it run two times faster than previous models. It has been optimised for phone calls, Siri and Walkie-Talkie.

Williams said the Series 4 was created to better handle phone calls with a new speaker, microphone, and construction that lets radio waves more easily pass through the rear of the device.

Williams also said the watch's battery life would be the same as the previous edition of the Apple Watch, at 18 hours.

It arrives with a new selection of animated Watch faces and the digital crown has been redesigned. The complications have been enhanced to be more precise and informative.

Apple Watch Series 4 includes a new accelerometer and gyroscope, which can detect hard falls. Williams says those features will be available this year. After about 30 seconds, the device measures heart rhythms, classifies them, and alerts the user if there are signs of atrial fibrillation. If a wearer is motionless for more than a minute, it automatically calls emergency services. It'll also reach out to your emergency contacts. The first three generations of Apple Watch were offered with 38mm and 42mm watch cases.

  • Kara Saunders