04 October 2017
Apple's major keynote has finally begun, and the first major product announcement is the new Apple Watch in its full glory. It is indeed called Apple Watch Series 3, and it comes with built-in cellular, and watchOS 4.
Before starting off, Tim Cook had some impressive statistics for us. The Apple Watch has managed to achieve a 50% year-over-year growth in sales, which is a huge deal in such a competitive wearable market. Not only that, it has managed to attain a 97% customer satisfaction, which is unprecedented. So it does not come as a surprise that the Apple Watch has become the number 1 watch in the world, even beating old timers like Rolex.
The new generation of Apple Watch will come with watchOS 4 announced at the WWDC earlier this year. And today, Apple seemed to be pushing health monitoring pretty hard with the OS. There's a new workout app that will help you stay on top of your game, whether you're at your local gym or burning off those calories by swimming. And yes, the Watch is waterproof, so you can jump into that pool without thinking twice about it.
The main highlight of Apple's health initiative is the advanced heart rate monitoring. The app will not give you a much more detailed report from the sensor. There will be new measurements, such as average resting heart rate (calculated by correlating with acclerometer data), average recovery rate after a workout (how well you cool down). There is also elevated heart rate detection which alerts you when you are at rest but your heartbeat is up. This can be especially useful for heart patients.
Pushing that idea further, the Apple Watch will not also detect heart rhythms, and tell you when there's an arythmia, which is the irregular beating of the heart and is not good your cardiac health. Apple will use heart rate data to initiate the Apple Heart Study, which will help cardiac patients stay healthy. The study has been approved by the FDA.
watchOS will be available to all on September 19.
Now coming to the Watch Series 3 itself, the major highlight here is the presence of cellular (LTE) connectivity. Now you can take your Watch anywhere without an iPhone, and can even call people up. Apple boasts of a "magic" microphone built into the Watch which will make you sound crystal clear even when you're moving around in a busy environment.
Siri can now talk on the Watch itself, thanks to the 70% more powerful dual-core processor. And yet, despite LTE and all the other new features, it is still 50% more power efficient. That's a tall claim Apple, and we'll see how the real-world performance pans out.
The Watch Series 3 is available in a variety of cases and bands. You can get it in Gold Aluminum, Silver and Space Grey colors. Apple is introducing a new Sports Loop band for the athletes out there. There's even a Nike + edition of the Watch with Nike health app and other goodies.
The cellular version of the Watch will cost $399, whereas the one without will go for $329. Cellular functionality is only available with a few carriers in select countries for now, but this support will soon increase. The Watch Series 3 will be available from 22nd September.