Apple Watch Series 4 vs Series 3: Why I’m Upgrading [Opinion]

When I saw the Apple Watch Series 4 revealed at this month’s Apple Event I knew I was going to upgrade my Watch Series 3 even though it was only a couple months old. Apple seems to have found its groove with wearable products and is leaning into it.

The Cupertino-based company revamped the Apple Watch this year and spent some time thinking about the changes to it. It is apparent that Apple made sure the new design and hardware upgrades to the fourth generation Apple Watch fully utilize features introduced in Watch OS 5.

For instance, the Apple Watch 4 has a screen that is 30 percent larger than the Series 3. The larger screen allows users to see more content on the watch’s face while using apps like maps or the photo app. A larger screen fits in very well with the Watch OS 5’s interactive notifications and integrated WebKit.

With the upgraded software, Apple Watch users can perform a variety of tasks with interactive notifications like edit their reservations on Yelp or check flight details all from the notification window. Meanwhile, WebKit allows Apple Watch owners to browse web content through their wearable via the mail or messages app. Both these new features would benefit from a bigger screen.

Some of the other changes include a speaker that is 50 percent louder. In addition, the Apple Watch Series 4’s mic supposedly produces a clearer sound and reduces echo. The back of the Watch Series 4 was also upgraded. Radio waves can now pass through the back of the Apple wearable, allowing it to receive a better reception signal. All of the changes above enhance certain features introduced in Watch OS 5. The improved speaker and mic feel tailor-fit for the walkie-talkie function and Siri’s new shortcut feature, not to mention the benefits to calls made with the Watch Series 4.

Anyone who watched the WWDC 2018 event may remember the story Tim Cook told about an Apple Watch user named Mary Dovgen, who credits Apple’s wearable for saving her husband’s life. The Dovgens were boating when John fell into the water. His muscles went limp due to a medical condition. Mrs. Dovgen held onto her husband to keep him from drowning, but couldn’t reach her phone. So, she used her Apple Watch instead. Tim Cook suggests that Apple receives stories like the Dovgens about the Apple Watch periodically. With the Watch Series 4, the California tech company has made the wearable even more indispensable.

For instance, Apple made significant improvements to the accelerometer and gyroscope which can identify when a person wearing the Watch Series 4 has fallen. According to Apple, one leading cause of injury is falling. Series 4 can determine if someone has fallen and contact emergency personnel and contacts if it detects the wearer is immobile.

Of course, the change everyone is talking about is the one Apple made with its heart app– specifically, it’s ECG scanner which is FDA approved. Electrodes to the back of the Watch Series 4 and the digital crown can measure the electrical activity of the heart. The ECG scanner on the Series 4 isn’t as refined as the one patients use in hospitals, but it isn’t useless. Doctors can at least gain better insight on how a person’s heart activity changes throughout the day instead of one instance in time at the hospital.

The slight differences in the Series 4 make the wearable feel more thought-out and more refined. Its features, especially those related to health are more connected. As a result, the Apple Watch 4 feels like a fully-formed device with a specific purpose compared to the first Apple Watch. Apple’s addition of the ECG scanner tells me as a consumer that the tech-giant is focusing on making its wearable an indispensable holistic health device.

Given that the Apple Watch Series 4 feels like a total revamp of the wearable since the first generation, I am willing to upgrade to it. It is likely that Apple will make incremental changes to the Series 4 in the next couple of years. However, the tech giant might not make too many drastic changes to the Apple Watch until the Series 8 comes out, based on the company’s past releases.