This years Apple Keynote was good for those that like larger. The iPhone Xs stayed the same size as the iPhone X, and then they added the option of the 6.5" Max. Also larger than the X was their release of the 6.1" iPhone Xr.
I feel the biggest announcement of that Keynote were the new Apple Watches. This is the first real redesign of the Apple Watch since it was first announced. I'd compare it to Apple going from the iPhone 5s to the iPhone 6. Bigger screens and rounded edges. I was a little nervous at first about bands, and hoping they would be useable on the new watches too, and when they confirmed that, I drew a HUGE sigh of relief. I was even happier knowing they retained the Space Black in their lineup.
Last year when Series 3 was announced, I wrote a very detailed review including the generational differences from Series 0 to Series 3. That review can be found here:
This review is more to add on to that by comparing Series 3 and Series 4 main differences and new add ons.
I preordered my Apple Watch the night it opened for orders. I received it first thing this morning. The packaging is now different from previous generations. It comes in a long thin rectangular box. Opening that box, the Apple Watch sits in its own little compartment with no band in a little sleeve that protects the watch. Its got simple instructions, and the charger and cable under that. In a separate Box you'll find the strap that you ordered. The straps will be marked either 40mm or 44mm to fit the size watch, these straps will of course also fit the previous generation 38mm or 42mm sizes. Coming from the 42MM Series 3, I was surprised to see the Watch was not that much larger than the 42mm. Its barely noticeable. It is also thinner. I use the Space Black Link bracelet, I was half expecting to have to remove a Link, but it was unnecessary. This watch fits just like the other versions.
Turning the watch on, the loading is much quicker than previous generations. Doubling the speed in each iteration makes such a difference in the experience. This technology has matured so much in such a short time. Restoring from backup was easy and much faster to do. Before, you would see a dotted circle forming around the Apple logo. When the circle completed, the watch was ready. Now it gives you small instructional demos while you wait. Moving the cellular from the Series 3 to 4 was also easy. Turn off the series 3. Activate it on the series 4, it generates a SIM card number and you are activated.
Once the setup is complete, you immediately notice the size difference on the display. All of the watch faces have been resized to fit. It is much easier to read. Being that the glass is dark already, faces like the modular mixed in very nicely as did most of the faces. Seeing these same faces fit the case practically edge to edge, it looks really sharp and very easy to read to my aging eyes. The round faces also round off the wording around the faces where they were straight before. The Faces I created are also full screen and fill the display beautifully. They also added 2 new faces that you can fit more complications into those faces for more information on the fly. It's limited now, but I see this getting REALLY good as developers add to it. The Infograph is a colorful analog face with 3 configurable sundials, 4 complications at the 4 corners, and the fixed day/date in the 12:00 subdial. They also added an Infograph Modular which is similar to the previous Modular that also remains, but adds more complications with different graphics. I have been keeping the Infograph Modular all day. IOS 5 also added additional faces to previous watches that include water, fire, vapor, liquid metal, and Breath app faces. They are all circular in the previous series watches, full screen on the series 4.
Here is something that was a pleasant surprise. My iPhone Xs arrived at the store later that day. After setup, the iPhone asked if I would like to move my Apple Watch to this phone. I pressed yes, and minutes later, my Apple Watch was paired with the new phone. I still had to unpair it from the other phone which removed my Apple Payments. This is MUCH more convenient than previous setup forcing you to erase the watch on unpair, and reload everything on the watch to the new phone.
The pain with the new process is some apps like the Nest app had to be deleted from both the watch and the iPhone and reinstalled on both to get it to work. Some app were more difficult than others, so you might have some extra time on your setup fixing small things like this.
New additions to the hardware are on the rear all models now get a full ceramic back. 4 optical heart rate sensors are now one in the middle with a crystal electrode around the circumference, and a crystal electrode in the crown. Later this year they will release an app that does ECG's which got the watch FDA approved. The ECG could possibly help to detect if there is possibly irregular heartbeat, and can generate a PDF that you can share with your doctor. The crown is thinner, the red dot on the cellular is now a thin red ring. The non cellulars do not have the ring at all.. On the insides, more sensors including one that detects a fall. If you fall, you get a prompt asking if you are ok or need emergency assistance. If there is no movement at all for 1 minute, it automatically dials 911 and sends a message to those you assigned as emergency contacts. I imagine this will save lives!
The Speaker is nice and loud for such a small device, and phone calls have been crystal clear. The mic is between the crown and button, the speaker is on the other side.
Battery life is supposed to be the same as previous generations, Apple quotes 18 hours. I have not had it long enough to determine. I will report more on that later, but I got a lot more than the quoted times on Series 3.
These are my initial impressions. So far I like it a lot. I will post photos shortly and add more to this as I find new things.