With Series 4, Apple Watch inching toward becoming a medical device

Posted September 17, 2018

The Apple Watch Series 4 comes in two new sizes - 40mm and 44mm compared to the Series 3's 38mm and 42mm.

Apple may have launched its new Apple Watch Series 4 with features including an ECG reader with Atrial Fibrillation detection, but sadly, those two features won't be available at launch in the USA, and they'll take even longer to get to Australia.

In its fourth incarnation, called Series 4 and due out later this month, the Apple Watch will add features that allow it to take high-quality heart readings and detect falls. Apple has also introduced dozens of nifty health and fitness-related features.

Brands in that price range include Swatch Group's Swatch and Tissot, the Mondaine brand and fashion watches made by USA watchmaker Fossil.

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But at the same time, Apple knocked down the price of the Apple watch Series 3-GPS-only models now start at $279, making it a good alternative to the Series 4 for those who are more frugal. "I think this will represent a harder and harder challenge to entry-price Swiss-made watches, which are not in a position to stay relevant", Exane BNP Paribas analyst Luca Solca said.

Before Apple held the traditional presentation, which showed three iPhone and Apple watch Series 4. Heart rhythms naturally vary, meaning that it's likely that Apple Watch or any heart monitor could signal a problem when there isn't one - and send someone running to the doctor for no reason.

Shares in Richemont were up 0.2 percent at 1315 GMT, while those of peer Swatch Group, which is more exposed to the entry-price segment, were down 0.6 percent. And just as it took until the iPhone 4 for Apple's smartphone ecosystem to come into focus (for me at least), so it turns out the same is true of its smartwatch.

But it also bears several similarities to last year's model: the new watch gets the same amount of battery life (18 hours) and the design looks almost identical to the Series 3, and to previous versions before that. Apple claims that this new processor is twice as fast as the S3 processor.

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Apple will probably need approval or clearance from local government bodies in each country before it is able to bring ECG functionality in Apple Watch Series 4 to other parts of the world.

The Apple Watch Series 4 is 10.7 mm, while the Apple Watch Series 3 is 11.4 mm.

But the watch's new technology on the inside is equally impressive as its form-factor change. Pre-orders for the Series 4 Watch will go live on Sept.14, and the device will start shipping on Sept.21st. This feature may be especially attractive to older people or those with elderly parents anxious about falling when no one is around to help.

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But there is also concern that widespread use of electrocardiograms without an equally broad education initiative could burden an already taxed health-care system.