Feb 8, 2018 UPDATE: It seems that Apple has decided to further embrace its Force Touch technology in the Apple Watch Series 4. Force Touch already forms part of the smartwatch range, but the latest reports indicate that the Apple Watch Series 4 release will come complete with a Force Touch Digital Crown.
Leaked patents give details of a ‘force-detecting input structure’ that will obviously have a big impact on the functionality of the forthcoming smartwatch.
Patent application number 20180024683, published by Fletcher Rothkopf, Director of Product Design, Technology Investigation at Apple, outlines an intriguing new innovation.
The patent details “an input mechanism, such as a crown, detects amounts of applied force. In various examples, an assembly including an input mechanism has an enclosure; a stem coupled to the enclosure such that the stem is rotatable, translatable, and transversely movable with respect to the enclosure”.
While Force Touch is already utilized in the Apple Watch display, the gesture-based technology will now seemingly form part of the digital crown as well.
With previous Apple Watch releases having arrived in September, it is expected that the Apple Watch Series 4 will be unveiled in the ninth month of the year once more.
Although Apple released a revoluationary iPhone X device in 2017, early rumors on the 2018 iPhone release suggest that there will be an outstanding handsets to accompany the fourth generation smartwatch, with Apple unwilling to simply push out an upgraded version of the iPhone X.
However, reports from closely Apple supply chain have suggested that the Apple Watch Series 4 will be the most independent release in this series as of yet. Early Apple Watch devices were criticized for the extent to which they needed to be tethered to an attendant iPhone, but Apple has worked hard to ensure that this isn’t the case with more recent Apple Watch releases.
One recent report has suggested that the Apple Watch Series 4 may embrace a round-faced design. However, this is very much a rumor at present, and it is highly unlikely that this would completely replace the standard Apple Watch design that has been prevalent over the last few years.
But a smart wristband is highly likely to form part of the Apple Watch Series 4, with Apple having filed numerous patents pointing to this technology.
Modular technology has also been linked with the smartphone, with patents indicating that different modules will be able to house speakers, batteries, biometric sensors such as blood pressure monitors and sweat sensors, haptic feedback devices, and other tech.
This will effectively make every Apple Watch Series 4 fully customisable, and is likely to be a major selling point of the next generation smartwatch.
On the design front, it is widely anticipated that Apple will slim down at the Series 4 further still, as has been its wont with other mobile technology.
Pricing will be key with the Apple Watch Series 4, but we should probably expect a small increase over the last generation of the smartwatch.
Dec 28, 2017 UPDATE: New reports on the Apple Watch Series 4 suggest that the smartwatch will feature an improved heart rate tracker.
The improvement in this feature will result in the Apple Watch Series 4 being an EKG quality monitor; a big plus point for the series.
EKG is an abbreviation of electrocardiograph, an item of medical equipment that enables doctors to identify heart irregularities, providing protection against debilitating conditions such as heart attacks and strokes.
The technology for this feature will be embedded within the strap of the Apple Watch Series 4, as had been the case with a previous peripheral manufactured by Kardia.
Nov 20, 2017 UPDATE: The future direction of the Apple Watch series is of increasing importance to Apple, as sales figures indicate that the smartwatch is becoming a viable product for the consumer electronics giant. Apple has already achieved formidable market share with the Apple Watch, and the Apple Watch Series 4 should advance this further still.
Apps to be upgraded
Many smartwatch fans are wondering what Apple will produce with the Series 4, and some recent news provides us with some interesting indication. The Californian corporation has recently shared a news update, which encourages developers to upgrade their Apple Watch apps for the forthcoming watchOS 4.
It seems that Apple is ready to renew its smartwatch-focused operating system, with the manufacturer also stating that watchOS 1 apps will no longer be accepted next year. This means that the Apple Watch Series 4 will have an emphasis on new and exciting software, which will certainly be welcome considering that the Apple Watch range took some time to get going.
Apple has noted that some of the older items of software for its smartwatch operating system can hinder system performance quite significantly. And the Californian incorporation is encouraging technology talent to participate in the updating of their the new platform.
While previous versions of the Apple smartwatch operating system have delivered significant improvements in his speed of operation, it is believed that watchOS 4 will up the ante still further.
Background modes and other features
Aside from the improved performance, Apple has noted that the new operating system will feature new background modes for navigation and audio recording, and built-in altimeter capabilities, direct connections to accessories with Core Bluetooth. This all new functionality can be expected for the Apple Watch Series 4 as well, as Apple looks to ensure that its smartwatch is a mainstream product.
Apple has also set an April 1 deadline for releasing applications for the next-generation Apple Watch Series 4, as it looks to standardize the way that software works on the smartwatch platform.
The policies of the consumer electronics giant with regard to be smartwatch seem to have been hugely successful, as sales of the Apple Watch have grown 50 percent in the last twelve months. While the consumer electronics giant has been reluctant to reveal exact numbers for wearables, its latest earnings call indicates that the popularity of the Apple Watch has grown quite considerably.
In particular, the cellular LTE Apple Watch Series 3 has proved popular with consumers, with demand outstripping supply. This suggests that one of the major new features of the third generation smartwatch has been a resounding success, meaning that Apple may consider other advanced functionality for the Apple Watch Series 4.
Apple will also look to enter the Chinese marketplace with the Apple Watch Series 4, as the smartwatch series is currently disabled in the world’s most populous nation. Once this problem is resolved, Apple anticipates massive demand for the Apple Watch from Chinese consumers, and this could potentially double the number of Apple Watch units consumed worldwide.
Nov 9, 2017 UPDATE: Fans of smartwatches are eagerly awaiting any news on the Apple Watch Series 4, and a recent software release may give us an interesting insight into the forthcoming device. The latest watchOS 4.1 update has recently gone live, and some of the features included in this software iteration could provide us with clues to the fourth Apple Watch release.
Firstly, a new radio system will let Apple Watch users benefit from custom Apple music stations, with the most obvious example being the highly publicized Beats 1. This is indicative of the music focus that Apple has implemented over the last couple of years, and this is likely to continue in the foreseeable future.
Another update of particular relevance to the Apple Watch Series 4 is the ability to access music tracks more easily with Siri. An increasing amount of functionality is being built into the personal assistant, and this is indicative of the fact that Apple will hope to improve its AI system for the Apple Watch Series 4 release.
And the new app also allows direct LTE streaming of music to compatible Apple Watch models, something that will definitely be expanded further still when the Apple Watch Series 4 is released. With Wi-Fi and cellular access now available to the 40 million tracks held on Apple music, the smartwatch certainly provides a credible music playback system.
Another interesting item of news which also gives indication of the future direction of the Apple Watch Series 4 relates to health tracking. Aetna, the massive health insurer, is handy out over 500,000 Apple Watch units to customers, in an initiative that aims to strengthen its health partnership with Apple.
While health tracking already being a significant focus of the Apple Watch range, it is believed that the Apple Watch Series 4 will build on this significantly. The major innovation of the third-generation Apple Watch was the inclusion of LTE, which seriously improved the functionality of the smartwatch. Apple must find something new to headline the fourth generation smartwatch, and it is believed that health tracking could be this item.
Control Center improvements
It is also suggested that the Control Center may get a makeover for the Apple Watch Series 4, with a special version of the software feature released for the smartwatch. What precisely this entails remains to be seen, but sources close to the Apple supply chain have suggested that the consumer electronics giant is already working on this aspect of the watchOS software.
Apple has undoubtedly strengthened its position in the smartwatch marketplace with recent releases, and the Apple Watch Series 4 will be the defining smartwatch release of another niche that Apple has come to dominate.
November 2, 2017 UPDATE – The Apple Watch Series 4 could benefit from the Face ID technology which has become a fixture in the iPhone range. This is the opinion of renowned KGI Securities analyst Ming Chi-Kuo, who is also known for particularly specializing in Apple products.
Touch ID to go
Although Apple has offered its explicit support for Touch ID for the foreseeable future, this system is also expected to be ditched in the coming years. Indeed, Apple executives have indicated that the future direction of the corporation is towards making Face ID ubiquitous.
Touch ID has featured on every smartphone since the iPhone 5S, but its days may be numbered, as Kuo indicates that the Apple Watch Series 4 will benefit from Face ID functionality.
“We believe this change will allow all new models to realize a competitive advantage via differentiation, on the back of an integrated user experience of full-screen design and TrueDepth Camera/Facial recognition/Face ID/AR applications,” Kuo commented in an investor note.
However, despite the prediction of this credible source, it is important to note that Apple will face technical problems in introducing Face ID to its smartwatch series. This would require the Apple Watch Series 4 to include an on-board camera, something that hasn’t occurred in the previous versions of the device.
Nonetheless, Face ID would obviously be a useful addition to the armory of the Apple Watch range, enabling users to unlock the smartwatch in the most convenient and natural way. If Face ID was included then it would only be necessary to glance at one’s watch in order to unlock it.
One of the key indicators regarding the Apple Watch Series 4 will be the watchOS 5 operating system. This is expected to launch ahead of the release of the Apple Watch Series 4, which will most likely be in September 2018. The latest Apple Watch launched alongside the iPhone 8, and there is no particular reason to believe that the situation will change next year.
Apple Watch Edition
With mobile data and standalone calling having been included in the last Apple Watch release, we can reasonably expect the Apple Watch Series 4 to be somewhat more conservative. Additionally, Apple is expected to follow the pricing policy that it has instigated over the last Apple Watch generation, meaning that the once extravagant Apple Watch Edition version of the smartwatch will be conspicuous by its absence, replaced by a much more affordable model around the $1,000 mark.
Originally, the Apple Watch Edition had been seen as a rival for luxury brands suck as Rolex, but the smartwatch has now settled into a different branding position. Today, the Apple Watch is viewed as a product for young people, with a a fitness-tracking ethos as its core.
The Apple Watch Series 4 will move the smartwatch series forward further still after the Apple Watch 3 was well received. Certainly the Apple Watch has become the world’s most recognizable smartwatch extremely rapidly; nothing new for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) considering its power and influence in the technology sphere.
But in common with most devices in the world of gadgets, the Apple Watch 3 is far from perfect, meaning that the Apple Watch Series 4 still has significant room for improvement. Many consumers will recognize the value of improving this smartwatch, as it currently does a great deal extremely well, yet still lacks a view key areas of functionality.
Firstly, we can probably expect the Apple Watch Series 4 to be released in September 2018. Although the Apple Watch release schedule has been less consistent than other Apple products, there is no reason to believe that it will be brought out any earlier than this year’s effort. It is probable that the Apple Watch Series 4 will be announced at the iPhone 9 unveiling event, ahead of a similar release date.
It is likely that Apple will freeze the price of the Apple Watch Series 4 from the current generation, meaning that the smartwatch will retail at $329 in the United States. This price tag is for the small 38mm version of the wristwatch, with other models also available.
Having said that, consumers should be wary of the fact that the Apple Watch 3 was released a lower price point than the Apple Watch 2, so with extra features also embedded in the fourth generation it would not be hugely surprising if there was a mild price increase.
One of the key features being linked with the Apple Watch Series 4 is a self-adjusting strap that would make the smartwatch a more convenient device. Indeed, Apple has already patented this technology, which features an expanding mechanism which has the potential to contract the strap as required.
This would not only improve the comfort of the smartwatch, but also help ensure that sensors on the watch are able to acquire accurate readings for some of its key features. This would correlate neatly with another patent that is in the public domain for an Apple wearable device that has the ability to measure your respiration rate.
Apple has also previously patented a smartwatch design featuring a circular face, and it wouldn’t be hugely surprising if this saw the light of day with the Apple Watch Series 4 release. A circular face certainly seems more natural for a watch, even if the Apple Watch design is now easily recognizable all over the world.
However, Apple has shown absolutely no intention to alter the design of the Apple Watch Series 4 thus far, and is notorious for producing large number of patents that never actually appear in products.
Apple Watch Series 4 features
Many of the features from the Apple Watch will undoubtedly be retained when the Apple Watch Series 4 is released. This, we can expect LTE connectivity, GPS, a heart rate monitor, a waterproof build and a premium construction with a square screen. It is probable that even if Apple does introduce an Apple Watch with a circular face in the Series IV generation that the square design will also be retained as a purchasing option.
It is also probable that the Apple Watch Series 4 will be made available in the two sizes that were included in the apple what’s three release. This, I expect 38 mm and 42 mm Apple Watched series for devices to be made available, while the Apple Pay contactless payment system will also make an appearance once more.
This all adds up to another powerful smartwatch Contender, but what new features will also be included?
Firstly, Apple will include a new S for chipset in the Apple Watch Series 4, which will ensure that the smartwatch is a more powerful performer. It is also likely hat the Apple Watch 4 will run watchOS 5, Although Apple has yet to even begin working on this software system.
Some sources have suggested that the Apple Watch Series 4 could deliver Android compatibility in order to make it a more flexible performer. This would be somewhat surprising considering that Apple has never exactly been enthusiastic about opening up its own operating system, let alone enabling its products to be compatible with other OS releases.
Battery life of Apple Watch Series 4
However, one area where Apple is likely to be beavering away is the battery life of the Apple Watch Series 4, which must surely be improved over the previous generation of the smartwatch. While the Apple Watch certainly had a better battery life than the earlier releases in the range, it still runs out of charge rather rapidly. Surely a wristwatch needs to last for three days at least on a single charge.
Apple Watch Series 4’s improved performance
While the Apple Watch 3 is an improvement on previous releases, it is still not quite as slick as many consumers would wish. Loading applications on the smartwatch can be a little sluggish, and the next-generation release must surely address this to make the Apple Watch Series 4 a more convenient device.
Whether the specs of the Apple Watch Series 4 could be increased in order to achieve this remains to be seen, but a little extra RAM and processing power certainly wouldn’t go amiss.