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On the Apple Watch Series 4

Apple Watch Series 4

I bought an Apple Watch when it first came out. And it’s been one of the most liberating and functional devices I’ve ever owned.

In the evenings I leave my iPhone on the counter near my kitchen. Disconnecting from it, for the evening. But, in the evening hours is often when my friends and family are most conversational on our group message thread. And so, with my Apple Watch, I still get those incoming texts from friends and family that I want to get, but I don’t have my iPhone with me.

And in the mornings, when I go to the gym, I leave my iPhone at home since my Watch pairs with my AirPods to play my workout playlist. Just yesterday morning, while I was on my run, my wife called to ask if I knew where my son’s math homework was. The call came through my Apple Watch, and I was able to answer it on my AirPods.

I love the combination of “connected-while-disconnected” that the Apple Watch provides. I’m available to be reached, and can reach out to folks, but I don’t have the firehose of the internet at my disposal. Allowing me to be offline from social media, news, email, and the like without being completely unreachable.

When I first got my original, Series 0 Apple Watch, I asked this question:

For those who want to spend less time staring at their iPhone, will Apple Watch make that easier?

At the time I wrote my first review of the Apple Watch, back in 2015, I had only been wearing my Watch for about a week. But my answer then is still the same as my answer now, 3.5 years of daily Apple Watch use later:

Yes. Apple Watch makes it easier to leave my iPhone alone. Even more so now that the watch has LTE connectivity.

Apple Watch is just powerful enough to be useful and fun, but not so powerful that it’s distracting.

That said, because I use my Apple Watch so much — and have used it daily since I bought the original Series 0 — the new, Apple Watch Series 4 looks fantastic.

The slightly more rounded edges of the casing along with the larger internal display do seem to give the watch a bit nicer look. And it’s thinner, which is always nice. And — yay! — even though the new watch has a redesigned case, old watch bands will still work with it.

With the Apple Watch Series 4, there are 3 things in particular I’m most interested in:

1: Haptic feedback on the Digital Crown

This is great, because, as anyone who uses their Apple Watch throughout the day knows, it can be finicky and specific to get to just the right playlist cover, message thread, auto-response, etc. Having a more mechanical feel sounds like an excellent iteration to this small but valuable hardware button.

2: Bigger Screen

Considering that you interact with that little tiny screen on your wrist all day every day, having a larger screen is going to be significantly more beneficial. From reading text, assessing the complications, to tapping on buttons, etc.

Here is a side-by-side comparison of the Apple Watch Series 4 (left) and the Series 0 – 3 (right).

Apple Watch Series 3 vs Series 4 screen size comparison

3: Improved cellular reception

When I upgraded to the Series 3 it was for LTE, and it’s been fantastic. But the cellular reception has been spotty and sometimes very poor. Oftentimes my watch struggles to get signal if it gets any at all. Because I try to leave my iPhone behind as often as possible, improved LTE signal is a huge benefit for my personal use of the Apple Watch.

* * *

These upgrades to the Apple Watch Series 4 will all provide a direct, daily improvement to using the Watch over all previous models.

And that’s not even to mention the potentially-life-saving new medical features. There is the new fall detection, whereby if you trip or take a fall the new Watch will be able to detect that and then notify your emergency contacts if necessary. And since the Apple Watch Series 4 has a built-in electrical heart sensor, the Watch is moving beyond just a health device and into a medical one as well. It’s a game changer.

And, speaking of, there is a video on the Apple Website about the Watch that is guaranteed to tug your heartstrings.