If you use an Apple Watch for long, and if you're like me, you'll become dependent upon a range of compelling features you used to live without but now find convenient and necessary. Whereas I kept driving when I left a traditional watch at home, I interrupt my commute if I leave my Apple Watch behind. The Apple Watch Series 4 (Figure A), which was announced at the Apple event on September 12, 2018, will only reinforce my dependency.
I've been using an Apple Watch since the original model was released. I paid $668 for my 42mm Stainless Steel Case model with AppleCare +, which works out to roughly 50 cents a day for the 1,240 days I've worn the device.
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The Apple Watch faithfully accompanied me throughout my daily professional routine, as well as while mowing the lawn, cutting up downed trees, playing ice hockey, hiking, running, cycling, vacationing, and even traveling on business trips out of the country. The smartwatch is a robust tool that stood up well to the rigors of everyday and weekend life while also proving surprisingly adept at keeping me current with text message updates, news, and email alerts, navigational wayfinding assistance when traveling, and both personal and professional appointments tracked on separate calendars. I've traveled easily and quickly, carrying my boarding pass and next boarding gate right on my wrist. And my health is better thanks to the Apple Watch's reminders to pause and take breaks, stand up, walk around, and squeeze into my schedule requisite exercise.
So I'm a perfect candidate to buy the new version of the Apple Watch each time Apple introduces an upgrade, right? Turns out, no. I wish.
As I just noted, I've used my original watch for almost three-and-a-half years. It's a little beat up but looks fine, works well, and holds a charge all day. While new Apple Watch features introduced since I made my purchase include water-resistant operation, cellular connectivity, faster performance, and display improvements, the innovations announced with the Apple Watch Series 4 are the first that prompted my placing a replacement order.
SEE: How to preorder the Apple Watch Series 4 (CNET)
Apple Watch Series 4 features that I find most interesting
The Apple Watch Series 4 features a 30% larger LTPO OLED Retina display with 1,000 nits brightness, and the display itself makes better use of the expanded screen real estate, beautifully extending closer to the bezel. The Apple Watch Series 4 is thinner (10.7mm vs. 11.4mm). A new 64-bit dual-core S4 processor and W3 wireless chip speed performance like never before. The new model includes a medically accurate ECG function, as well as a second-generation heart sensor, which are important when gauging climbing efforts on the bike.
The Apple Watch Series 4's microphone is improved, and the integrated speaker is louder, making it even easier to hear navigation directions, Siri, alert tones, and callers. And the Apple Watch Series 4 features improved gyroscope and accelerometer functionality, which translates to more accurate data collection and support for the new fall detection capability.
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Also, I needed a newer model Apple Watch to run watchOS 5, which is due September 17, 2018. The new watchOS offers more accurate activity tracking, additional workout selections, an updated user interface that better leverages the newer models' bigger displays, Apple podcast integration, walkie-talkie functionality, and improved notifications—all of which convinced me the time to make the switch is now.
Considering the Apple Watch integrates seamlessly with other Apple technologies, including the iPhone, iTunes subscriptions, and HomePod speakers, and the Apple Watch Series 4 adds Digital Crown haptic feedback, packs 18-hour battery life expectancy and 16GB capacity, and costs just $429 for the GPS aluminum case with the sport band model, the purchase price is reasonable. Overall, I estimate the watch's expense averages just 39 cents a day over the three years I intend to wear it, which is exponentially less than the average American spends on a daily cup of coffee ($3.04 according to Reuters, as quoted by Food & Wine).
The fact I'm not adding AppleCare+ this time around demonstrates just how much faith I place in the device's design, constitution, and reliability. I'm confident the new model will serve me well, and I'll be sure to report on my experiences wearing the new model.
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Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president of Eckel Media Corp., a communications company specializing in public relations and technical authoring projects.