Gears & Gadgets

You can preorder the Apple Watch Series 4 today, starting at $399

Those thrilled by Apple’s wearable announcements earlier this week need wait no further to snag their new device. Apple Watch Series 4 preorders opened today at 12:01am PT/3:01am ET, allowing customers in more than 30 countries to order one of Apple’s newest smartwatches. If you ordered in the dead of night, you’re likely to get your watch on September 21. But shipping times are already stretching out. Depending on the model, US customers can expect their new Series 4 Watches to be delivered between October 5 and October 19. Those who elect to pick up their Watch at an Apple store need only wait until September 21, when the Series 4 becomes available for purchase in stores.

What’s new?

The Apple Watch Series 4 comes in 40mm and 44mm sizes and starts at $ 399 for the GPS-only models and $ 499 for the GPS and cellular models. The cases come in silver, space gray, and gold colors, and all are available in either aluminum or stainless steel.

The Series 4 sees the first big external design changes we’ve seen in Apple’s wearable since launch, the most noticeable being the 30-percent larger screen area. A similar edge-to-edge screen treatment first given to the iPhone X now appears on the Series 4, giving the Watch more space to display complications, photos, maps, and other graphics.

Those who plan to upgrade to a Series 4 may be confused about its new sizes, but fear not: 40mm and 44mm are respectively equal to the previous 38mm and 42mm sizes. All old Apple Watch bands will fit on the new case sizes.

Inside the Apple Watch Series 4 lies a new, dual-core 64-bit processor and a new GPU that Apple claims will help the Watch have twice the performance of previous models. There’s also an improved accelerometer and gyroscope that help the Series 4 detect falls, a new feature that automatically connects users to emergency services and their emergency contacts when they fall down.

In addition to the existing GPS and optical heart rate monitor, the Series 4 has new electrodes on its underside and on the flat edge of the digital crown that can take ECG readings. The combination of the electrodes and the optical heart rate monitor make the Series 4 a powerful, at-home health device that can detect too-low and too-high heart rates, check for signs of atrial fibrillation, measure electrocardiograms, and more.

Those with health conditions that need frequent ECG checks may be the most compelled to get the Series 4, as it will let them monitor their cardiac health more thoroughly at home in between doctor visits. The only drawback is that the Apple ECG app, which uses the Series 4’s electrodes, won’t be available until later this year.

Why the higher price?

Some won’t be happy with how much Apple increased the price of its newest Watch. When the Series 3 debuted last year, it started at $ 329 for the GPS-only models and $ 399 for the first-of-its-kind GPS and cellular models. The Series 4 makes a big jump to $ 399 and $ 499 for its models, respectively.

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.

Increased prices may be due to proposed US tariffs against Chinese goods that Apple CEO Tim Cook said would affect a “wide range” of the company’s products. But it could also be due to Apple’s unfolding strategy of steadily raising prices of nearly all of its products—the new iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are the most expensive iPhones ever, starting at $ 999 and $ 1,099, respectively. Preorders for those handsets also opened today.

Customers can preorder the Apple Watch Series 4 directly from Apple on its website or from local carriers, including AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon in the US. Walmart, Best Buy, and Target also started accepting preorders today.

Listing image by Valentina Palladino

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Tech – Ars Technica

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