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Apple Watch Series 4 doubles down on digital health: Features, specs, prices

Apple has upgraded the Apple Watch throughout and it's clear that the company has bet the farm on digital health and wellness. It's likely to have multiple enterprise use cases.

Apple unveiled its latest Apple Watch lineup with a continued bet on health and with a focus on fitness and being "an intelligent guardian of your health." How big of a bet? Apple added the ability to offer an ECG, or electrocardiogram, direct to consumers at any time.

Also: Apple Watch Series 4 starts at $399, packs larger displays and ECG sensor (CNET)

Apple Watch Series 4: Redesigned and reengineered

Jeff Williams, Apple's chief operating officer, speaking at the company's iPhone event, outlined Apple Watch Series 4: "Everything about it has been redesigned and reengineered."

The biggest takeaway is that Apple Watch is now a fashionable medical device, and that'll open up the enterprise wellness market as well as healthcare system.

The screens are more than 30 percent larger on the Apple Watch with similar bezels. Sure, Apple Watch will have more with Maps and Photos, but the new watch is focused on health and other customizations such as adding loved ones to a screen.

"We've also designed a brand new watch face with up to eight complications that really brings them to life. You can customize it with the things you care about," said Williams.

For instance, Apple Watch Series 4 will have three variations of its breath app on the watch face. It can also identify a fall and analyze the data. In other words, Apple Watch will have more appeal to companies that specialize in the aging in place market.

Apple's iPhone event is its biggest annual event -- where it outlines the roadmap that is expected to keep a massive profit and revenue engine running as the company develops more services.

CEO Tim Cook touted the Apple Watch and its place in the standings. Apple Watch is not only the No. 1 smartwatch, but the No. 1 watch, period. "For millions of people around the world, Apple Watch has helped them to stay connected, be more active and live a healthier day," he said.

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Apple Watch Series 4: Apple aims to be part of health care system

As Apple walked through the health features added to the Apple Watch, it was clear that the company sees consumer-driven healthcare as a key market. The presentation came complete with Ivor Benjamin, MD, who is head of the American Heart Association.

Also: How Apple Watch saved my life

"Products to seek to provide deeper health insights like the Apple Watch Series 4 offer great potential" in bolstering healthcare, said Benjamin. Meanwhile, the Apple Watch has received FDA clearance to be used as a health device for its ability to detect irregular heart rhythm alerts.

Simply put, Apple Watch is a medical device. Apple can use those clearances to be used in HR enterprise wellness programs and throughout hospitals and healthcare.

Apple Watch Series 4: Key features and specs

Apple Watch Series 4 has a bevy of advances beyond healthcare -- beginning with a larger display that enables more complications, informative displays, and easier to read fonts.

  • Apple Watch Series 4 has two sizes: 40mm and 44mm.
  • Digital Crown has haptic feedback.
  • The back of Apple Watch Series 4 is composed of black ceramic and sapphire crystal.
  • The device has a next-gen S4 chip with a custom 64-bit dual-core processor.
  • The electrodes in the back and digital crown detect heart rate, route to S4 chip (entire process takes just 30 seconds).
  • ECG can be diagnosed by touching the digital crown after opening the app.
  • Apple Watch can know if your heart rate is too low and detect heart rhythm.
  • There's a fall detection sensor and the ability to call emergency services.
  • Fall detection is enabled by a next-generation accelerometer and gyroscope, which measures up to 32 g-forces.
  • The speaker is 50 percent louder, optimized for phone calls, has Siri and Walkie-Talkie.
  • Apple Watch's microphone has been relocated for sound quality.

Apple Watch Series 4: Pricing and release date

Apple Watch Series 4 is available Sept. 21, with preorders starting Sept. 14. The device will be available in 26 markets for GPS and 16 markets for cellular with 34 carriers. As for pricing, Apple Watch Series 4 with GPS starts at $399 or $499 with cellular.

Also: Apple's Sep 12 event: What the pros expect TechRepublic

The Series 3 will now be $279. WatchOS 5 will be available from Sept. 17.

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