An Apple To Watch For

Apple Watch 4 could launch at the next iPhone event – likely in early September – now that we’re seeing hints in Apple’s iOS 12 developer beta. Its software references four new Apple Watch models (likely two sizes and LTE/non-LTE models).

An Apple Watch 4 release date in September makes a lot of sense. Apple announced the third iteration of its smartwatch on September 12, 2017 (it came out September 22), and the Apple Watch 2 was released a year earlier in September 2016.

Of course, Apple isn’t guaranteed to give us annual Apple Watch hardware updates. Remember, there was a 17-month gap between the original Apple Watch and the Apple Watch 2.

There’s no word on the Apple Watch Series 4’s price, but it’s likely to be around the same as the Apple Watch 3 currently is, meaning a starting price of around £329 / $329 / AU$459 for the smaller 38mm version.

That said, the Apple Watch 3 actually had a lower launch price than the Apple Watch 2, so with all the extra tech likely to be found in the Apple Watch 4 the price could equally increase or decrease a little.

Bear in mind that the price we’ve mentioned above is just the starting cost. If you choose the larger 42mm band or opt for LTE connectivity, the Apple Watch 3 gets more expensive, as does choosing a pricier case or strap material. All of that is likely to remain true for the Apple Watch 4.

Apple Watch 4 design and display

A trusted analyst that has previous history of predicting Apple products suggests the Apple Watch 4 is set to undergo a big design overhaul, and now we’ve heard the same from a trusted Apple source too.

So far every generation of the Apple Watch has come in either 38mm or 42mm screen sizes, but KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says he believes the Apple Watch 4 will have a 15% larger display.

Kuo also reported in July 2018 that the screen will have a 1.57-inch screen while the larger variant will be 1.78 inches. The Apple Watch 3 comes with either a 1.31-inch 1.54-inch display.

A similar story about the screen comes from a source that believes the Apple Watch 4 will have an edge-to-edge display which would be larger than the one on the Apple Watch 3. It also claims you’ll be able to keep using your existing bands, so we expect the body of the watch to be very similar to the Apple Watch 3.

The Watch 3 has a lot of bezel space around the outside of the display, so we’re expecting the company has slimmed this down to fit in the extra screen real estate.

That said, Kuo’s first report does suggest the company will be including a larger battery inside the Apple Watch 4 that will likely mean the body of the watch will have to be at least a touch bigger to squeeze in the larger cell.

Kuo also notes that the design of the Apple Watch 4 is set to be “more trendy”, but exactly what the analyst means by this isn’t particularly clear yet so we’ll have to wait for picture leaks to know more about the look.

Before Kuo’s comments, we had seen a patent for a self-adjusting watch strap. This would involve a mechanism that expands and contracts the strap as needed, so that the fit remains comfortable and not too loose at all times, which could also help ensure the sensors on the watch get accurate readings.

The Apple Watch 4 could have a strap that resizes itself. Credit: Apple Insider

The Apple Watch 4 could have a strap that resizes itself. Credit: Apple Insider
It’s unlikely to happen on the Apple Watch 4, but we’ve also seen an Apple patent for a circular smartwatch screen.

And back in 2016 we saw another patent filed by the company for a round smartwatch, so we may see that in some future generations of the wearable.

One leak suggests Apple will use faster, more versatile circuit boards for its antenna. That’s again according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo who speculates it’ll mean a more stable LTE signal and better heat and moisture resistance.

Rumors for watchOS 5 (learn more about that below) originally suggested the upgrades to the OS will be using the LTE signal much more regularly, so it makes sense if the company plans to update it to a faster antenna.

However, WWDC 2018 (where watchOS 5 was unveiled) didn’t show off any new features to do with connectivity, so it may be we have to wait until the Apple Watch 4 to hear about that.

One change that we can predict is the chipset, with a new Apple S4 one likely to be included, though we don’t yet know how much difference that will make.

As for new features on the Apple Watch 4, it looks like you may able to unlock your watch by just looking at it. Apple patents show that the Apple Watch 4 may bring a Face ID camera to make the wearable more secure.

That’d mean you’d just be able to look at your watch to unlock it and avoid having to enter an annoying PIN number to be able to use certain functionalities. Additionally, it would make it a whole lot easier to make quick FaceTime calls from your wrist

Apple Watch 4 fitness
One report from late in 2017 suggests the Watch 4 could get an upgraded heart rate tracker that could embrace EKG technology for the first time.

EKGs, also known as ECGs or electrocardiograms, are more advanced than a standard heart rate monitor and provide more in depth information, by using currents of electricity to analyze your heart’s behavior.

The rumor comes from Bloomberg (who spoke to people familiar with Apple Watch 4 plans) but the site also spoke to a cardiologist at the University of California who said the feature isn’t intended for those who don’t experience heart-related issues.