If you’ve been on the fence about the Apple Watch, I understand where you’re coming from. Early versions were at least disappointing, if not perplexing, limited as much by hardware and software as Apple’s pricing and vision. Holdouts still ask the same question today as everyone did in 2015: If you have an iPhone, do you really need an Apple Watch, too?
For the first time, I’d submit that the answer is yes. The original Apple Watch was a sluggish dud that Apple treated as a full-priced public beta, and its Series 1, 2, and 3 sequels have been iPhone “S”-caliber tweaks that took the first form factor as far as it could go. Three years later, the Apple Watch Series 4 has arrived as the family’s first truly massive upgrade, and finally delivers an excellent end-to-end user experience, notably including health-related features that can’t be found in any iPhone.
Here are the 10 key things you need to know about the latest Apple Watch, which now comes in “40mm” and “44mm” versions starting at $399 for aluminum or $699 for stainless steel. The smaller versions were designed primarily to fit female wrists, while the larger ones come at a $30 (aluminum) or $50 (steel) premium. This year’s most expensive models are $1,499, and all part of the Apple Watch Hermès lineup.
Meaningfully bigger screens
Larger screens are the biggest changes to this year’s Apple Watches, and they led Apple to increase the sizes of everything from watch housings to display elements in the watchOS software. Each screen is roughly 30 percent bigger than on the prior “38mm” and “42mm” models, and features rounded corners rather than previously square ones.