Apple Watch Series 4 Review: A Big Deal for Our Health

A few days ago, I sat in a medical recliner at the University of California, San Francisco. A cardiologist placed 10 stickerlike electrodes onto my limbs along with chest along with then connected the wires to a dated-looking contraption that has a screen along that has a keyboard on a cart.

About a minute later, a printer produced a chart of my heart’s electrical activity on red graph paper. The procedure I had undergone was an electrocardiogram, or an EKG, which can be used to diagnose cardiac problems like arrhythmia along with heart attacks.

I took the test to gain a better understanding of the implications of the Apple Watch Series 4, Apple’s brand new smart watch, which will become available Friday. For once, the watch includes an electrical heart sensor that will will eventually work with an app that will takes EKGs. When the EKG app, which has been approved by the Food along with Drug Administration, can be released This particular year, we will be able to place a finger on the watch’s crown to measure the electrical charges across our hearts.

The Apple Watch’s EKG won’t be nearly as comprehensive as the one produced by a traditional electrocardiograph, which hooks up to multiple parts of the body, like the one the cardiologist used on me. The watch can be just one-lead EKG device, meaning that will will record one angle of the heart’s electrical signals — enough to collect data about arrhythmia although not to diagnose a heart attack.

Still, the brand new Apple Watch can be perhaps one of the most significant developments in wearable gadgets in years. People with heart problems can easily use the EKG app to take electrocardiograms whenever they sense something abnormal, without the rigmarole I went through. along with the data can be shared immediately with their doctor, which could open a conversation about next steps, like going in for a visit or modifying treatment.

For everyone else who doesn’t have a confirmed heart condition, This particular feature will not immediately be a selling point.

“I’m not recommending that will for most people as anything different than just a novelty,” said Dr. Ethan Weiss, the cardiologist who took my EKG.

although he added that will the implications for heart research were profound. “There’s all This particular stuff we don’t know,” he said. Typically, an EKG in a doctor’s office provides up to 0 seconds of data. “We’re only getting little snippets,” Dr. Weiss said.

Much of the rest of the Apple Watch Series 4 sounds boring on paper. Compared with its predecessors, the fourth-generation smart watch features a slightly larger screen along with can be faster at tasks like loading apps.

Yet the watch’s evolution by a fitness tracker into a health-monitoring device makes that will vastly more interesting inside long term. Apple often sets the standard for consumer electronics, so the watch may prompt different companies to create a generation of wearable devices that will help people gather information about their health conditions.

inside meantime, I tested the brand new Apple Watch for a week along with found that will incrementally better than the previous design. Here are the highlights.

A higher cost, a larger screen along with faster speed

The most apparent improvements to the brand new Apple Watch show up in its higher cost along with larger screen along with case.

The brand new types start at $399, compared with $329 previously. The two sizes are 40 millimeters along with 44 millimeters, up by 38 millimeters along with 42 millimeters. although while the case can be today slightly longer along with wider, that will can be also thinner, along with the 40-millimeter design didn’t feel bulkier than the 38-millimeter Apple Watch that will I used inside past.

More important, the screen stretches out by one edge to the different, letting apps take up more of the watch’s face. This particular enlarged display makes everything on the watch look better, including text.

A less obvious, though still useful, change can be the watch’s speed. Apple emphasized that will the device was two times faster than the third-generation design, which was already zippy.

The speed difference was most noticeable when using Siri, Apple’s voice assistant. By simply raising the watch toward my mouth, I could speak a command like “Set a timer for 20 minutes,” along with the watch reacted with barely any delay. The hands-free ability to summon Siri can be a feature of Apple’s brand new watch operating system, WatchOS 5. In my book, This particular can be how watches were meant to be used: without having to press any buttons.

I wouldn’t upgrade to the Series 4 by a recent generation of Apple Watch, either, because the improvements won’t feel significant. although if you bought the original Apple Watch in 2015 along with liked that will, This particular will be a great upgrade. The first watch was sluggish, with limited battery life, along with that will no longer receives operating system updates. The Series 4 addresses all of the first-generation watch’s flaws, along with the speed boost will be a big step up.

Hypochondriacs, beware

If you are simply a health-conscious person, should you get the brand new watch? I wasn’t able to test the EKG app because that will can be not out yet. Those with heart conditions could be wise to wait until Apple releases its electrocardiogram app This particular year to see if the technology works well.

that will can be also important to not regard the watch as a catchall device for health monitoring. Dr. Weiss said that will even if the EKG app detected arrhythmia in a young person, for example, that will information could not necessarily be useful because the condition might not cause a problem at a young age. Instead, that will may just induce anxiety.

“What that will can be going to do can be make you aware of having This particular condition, which could impact your insurance, which could impact your mental state along with your state of happiness,” Dr. Weiss said.

There can be one demographic that will may be more interested inside watch for health reasons: the elderly. Apart by the electrical heart sensor, the brand new watch can detect when its owner has taken a nasty fall. The feature can be turned on by default for people 65 along with older (based on the birth date they entered into the watch’s software), along with the watch will automatically call emergency services along with send a message to your emergency contact if you remain immobile for a minute after a fall.

I struggled to trigger the fall detector. inside name of journalism, I took several dives at home onto my mattress, a couch along that has a dog bed to try to get that will to work.

I also headed to a rock climbing gym, where I climbed up six walls along with fell onto a padded mattress onto my side along with onto my back. No dice. Last, I clambered atop the gym’s tallest wall — about 17 feet high — along with dropped down. When I landed, the watch vibrated along with chirped. Alas, that will was only a notification alerting me that will someone had liked a photo on my dog’s Instagram account.

My failure to trigger the fall detector was not necessarily a bad thing. To design the feature, Apple worked with people in assisted living facilities along with movement disorder clinics to collect data about real slips along with falls — not my phony ones.

As for my own health, the brand new Apple Watch basically showed me I was getting plenty of exercise. along with for those who were wondering: Dr. Weiss pronounced that will the heart activity by my EKG was normal.