In 2014, Tim Cook unveiled the first Apple Watch describing it as “the next chapter in Apple’s story.”
At its glitzy launch event in Cupertino, the CEO promised a fast-charging device that could take calls, facilitate contactless payments and accurately monitor your health.
“We set out to create the best watch in the world” said Mr Cook at the time. “What we didn’t do is take the iPhone, shrink the user interface and strap it on your wrist.”
But four years later, critics have branded the device a “mediocre invention”.
Now, Apple has a chance to answer its critics with the unveiling of the Apple Watch Series 4 in early September. But will it meet expectations?
Here’s everything we know about the device so far.
How much will it cost?
The Apple Watch 3 costs between £329 without mobile capabilities and £399 with mobile capabilities in the US – a price it has maintained until now.
All rumours point to the Apple Watch 4 being priced in the same ball park and Apple dropping the price of the previous model.
What will the Apple Watch 4 look like?
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo on MacRumours expects the Apple Series 4 to have a 15 per cent larger display compared with its predecessor as a result of slimmer bezels around the screen.
The model will still fit on existing bands, which means users can decide to buy the device without the straps.
Mr Kuo also suggested that the device would be more resistant to heat and water. Overall, the outside appearance of the watch is not expected to dramatically change.
What about performance improvements?
Apple will likely try to surpass the operating capabilities of the current Apple Watch 3, which was 70 per cent faster than its predecessor, the Apple Watch 2.
The rumoured new Apple-designed processor, which is said will speed up the new iPhone.
The new Apple Watch could have always-accessible Siri voice assistant that can be activated without needing to raise up the Apple Watch or press a button.
One of the biggest problems with the Apple Watch is its battery life.
The Apple Watch 3 is meant to come with what Apple describes as an “all-day battery life” based on 18 hours with the following use: 90 time checks, 90 notifications, 45 minutes of app use, and a 30-minute workout with music playback from Apple Watch via Bluetooth, over the course of 18 hours.
But if you use it to talk on the phone, the battery will die after a few hours.
The updated design, however, could come with a larger-capacity battery that is far more efficient.
According to a report in Bloomberg, Apple could be including own MicroLED displays in future products that are less power-hungry, further boosting battery life.
Current users of the latest model of Apple Watch will already be aware of some of the new features that will be available on the Apple Watch 4, such as a Walkie-Talkie app, and fitness options, such as a workout competition that allows users to challenge their friends and new workout type.
These are the core feature of the watchOS 5 system upgrade that was announced earlier this year. Users can test it now on any Apple Watch (apart from the first-generation models).
The new Apple Watch will be able to check for Parkinson’s disease, monitoring users for shakes and tremors associated with the disease.
The app, which is expected to feature in the new device, will also allow users to easily share information with their doctors.
Hotly contested rumours on Reddit include the Apple Watch 4’s potential application for non-invasive blood glucose monitoring, with bands fitted to play sound and aid with battery charging. This may be wishful thinking, but not entirely impossible.
According to Digital Trends, Apple may be planning a watch strap that acts as a battery pack. The Californian tech giant submitted a patent application for an “auxiliary device attachable to a wearable electronic device.” This device is said to “wirelessly transmit power to charge a rechargeable battery within the wearable electronic device,” and will use an “attachment mechanism [that] includes a pair of lugs that extend from opposite ends of the housing.”
The Apple Watch Series 3 was the company’s first iteration capable of receiving calls, sending messages and staying connected online for apps such as Maps or music streaming.
However, connectivity when using the device is not cheap.
The mobile version of the Series 3 Watch is a £70 premium at £429, a big asking price. EE, the only UK network it works with, charges £5 a month for the service – and it doesn’t work when roaming.
When will it be unveiled?
Apple usually unveils its Apple Watch alongside its new iPhones in the first couple of weeks of September.
Last year, the event took place on September 12. Germany’s mobile service providers are said to be planning for pre-orders that will take place on September 14, suggesting that a September 11 or 12 launch date is likely.
Apple is expected to send out media invites for its event at the end of August.
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