Apple created their market share and initially maintained it on the back of innovation and quality. Those two factors justified the aspirational levels of price that their items command without any hint of detriment to the company’s market share.
However through the recent lack of innovation even Apple themselves have hinted that they may be approaching a glass ceiling with regard to how much they can charge their avid following without starting to affect their place in the market.
Just this year, for the first time RRP was part of the product brief for the latest flagship phone. With a maximum ceiling of £1500.
Have Apple burst through the ceiling with the Series 4? Or does the latest incarnation of the iWatch still represent reasonable value for the considerable outlay?
The Geeky Stuff
ALL VERSIONS 44MM 40MM
Series 4 (GPS + Cellular) requires an iPhone 6/iOS 12 (or later)
NETWORKTechnologyGSM / HSPA / LTE2G bandsGSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 19003G bandsHSDPA 850 / 900 / 2100 / 800 – Europe, Australia HSDPA 850 / 1700(AWS) / 1900 / 800 – USA, LATAM, Canada HSDPA 2100 – China4G bandsLTE band 1(2100), 3(1800), 5(850), 7(2600), 8(900), 18(800), 19(800), 20(800), 26(850) – Europe, Australia LTE band 2(1900), 4(1700/2100), 5(850), 12(700), 13(700), 17(700), 18(800), 19(800), 25(1900), 26(850), 41(2500) – USA, LATAM, Canada LTE band 1(2100), 3(1800), 39(1900), 40(2300), 41(2500) – ChinaSpeedHSPA, LTEGPRSYesEDGEYes
|– 50m waterproof
– ECG certified (USA only)
DISPLAYTypeLTPO AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colorsSize1.78 inches, 10.0 cm2 (~60.0% screen-to-body ratio)Resolution448 x 368 pixels (~326 ppi density)MultitouchYesProtectionSapphire crystal glass
|– 3D Touch display
– 1000 nits
|– Audio player
– Photo viewer
– Siri natural language commands and dictation (talking mode)
BATTERY Non-removable Li-Ion batteryStand-byUp to 18 h (mixed usage)
MISCColorsSpace Black, Silver, Gold
Real Watches are Round!
If you are looking for justification of Apple’s design brief for the block that is the i then you need look no further than luxury watchmaker H Moser & Cie’s Swiss Alp witch looks very similar to the Apple Watch, something the company is not afraid to admit. It’s a very interesting product, because this is a post-Apple Watch timepiece and although the addition of a tourbillon movement, sapphire, and white gold elevates it to true luxury status; it proves the Apple Watch’s shape works well as a traditional watch.
It is a design that also carries forward any watch made by ultra-cool Patek Philippe Ellipse watch Casio’s classic G Shock 5000 series, and even the Tag Heuer Monaco so there is plenty of evidence in the higher ticket market that square watches are relevant.
What’s more, because the Apple Watch sells so well, we see it on many wrists. Designs seen as gawky or challenging often become more accepted the more we see them. What we’re saying here is that if you’ve been put off the Apple Watch because of the design in the past, it’s time to get over it, as it may just be time to give the Series 4 a try.
The watch now sports slimmer bezels, and the curved corners help emphasize them, while also appearing more watch-like and keeping up with mobile screen trends.
A sensible change over the Series 3 is the circular red line identifying the Cellular model over the GPS model, which is considerably classier than the big red splodge used on the Series 3. The heart rate sensor has a cleaner design than before.
Apple’s fabulous build quality shines through. The Apple Watch is back to being an example of what premium means in the mobile industry, as it’s almost flawless.
Apple’s Sport Loop straps look great too. The pictures on Apple’s website don’t do them justice. The black Sport Loop has a copper fleck running through the material, which complements the space grey watch very well. We’d choose one of these over the sport band, and the insanely expensive Milanese loop option. It’s comfortable for everyday use, and is good at resisting sweat when working out.
Screen & Sotware
If you own an iPhone, now you have the perfect excuse to invest in a new watch. It is that it has, by a very long stretch, the best wearable software platform out there, and a stunning screen on which to view it. The Series 4 comes with Watch OS 5 installed, which is also compatible with all but 1st gen Apple Watch. Apple has done the sensible thing and evolved the software, rather than radically enhancing or redesigning it..
The raise-to-speak feature for Siri, which increases usefulness in certain situations. is fine though in noisy environments such as road running, it proves to still be inaccurate and more than a little difficult to hear. Although setting timers in the kitchen, for example, is simple. The major new additions fall into the health and fitness category, and we’ll start with the most impressive. The Apple Watch Series 4 has an electrocardiogram, which can potentially detect an irregular heartbeat. But for all the bluster and excitement over the feature, it’s not working yet. Apple said a supporting app is coming later this year, so for now it’s not available. There’s also concern the ECG may not gain approval outside the U.S., or exactly how far along clearance is with the FDA in the first place.
The notifications the Series 4 delivers are more interactive and rich in detail, and the combination of the rotating Digital Crown — complete with super-satisfying haptic feedback — 3D Touch on the screen, and smooth scrolling makes the watch an absolute joy to use. If you think the iPhone is a polished product, the Apple Watch goes way beyond it.
The ‘what’s the point of a smart watch,’ brigade do though have something of a point, with a worrying number of APP companies removing their support for Apple Watch. Add to this some of, no scratch that far too many of the APPS are unreliable and unstable on this platform. Hopefully that is going to improve with updates. However, to a degree this problem is dealt with Apple’s strong fitness features, which are obviously the result of the collaberation with the Nike +plus team.
Health & Fitness
In my opinion, the Apple Watch Series 4 can take on and beat any Fitbit or cheap fitness band out there, and the technology and design makes it more user-friendly and useful than any of them. There’s even an automatic exercise detection now,which amazingly seems to be very reliable. There are plenty of pre-built workout plans, now including yoga and hiking, which are simple to access and start. It’s all transferred into the iPhone’s Health app, where the data is presented clearly and helpfully. Simple, clear, and helpful. How many fitness products can you say that about?
If you leave the Watch’s settings alone, WatchOS 5 is obsessed with making you stand up, breathe, and get more exercise. There are now more watch faces that encourage all this too. Constant, almost hourly alerts tell you to get out your chair, or to sit back and breathe for a minute or so in case you’re a bit stressed. In the morning, it motivates you to beat the day before’s movement totals. All can be turned off, but if you follow the Watch’s advice, it does make a difference to your day, in that you feel marginally better about yourself, and it does so way more effectively than most fitness wearables. The goals it sets are achievable with minimum adjustment to lifestyle, and there’s something genuinely addictive about “closing the rings” in Apple’s health app.
Apple rate the battery as only 18hrs. And this is the main piece of bad news that I could find. I would identify myself as a moderat user and as with all of the major companies, I can tell you that Apple also overestimate the power of their battery. I could only manage around 16hrs in normal use which means that even with light use and turning the device off at night, it will need charging on a daily basis which is a bit dissapointing.
Should You Buy It?
If you own an iPhone, undoubtedly yes. For the first time in a long time Apple have introduced a ground-breaking product and unfortunately for Android users there is currently no Android device that matches the Apple Watch. But don’t worry there are some major manufacturers that plan to change that, an very soon.