Some Pros and Cons of the New Apple Watch

Apple presented the Series 4 Apple Watch yesterday. As has been the case with each new iteration of this device, the upgrade has no major new features; I go into a bit of detail in this article.

Two interesting points, however. The first is that existing bands will be compatible with the new, larger models. Early reports, based on leaks, suggested that that would not be the case, and my reaction was that if Apple made a new size for bands, they would meet with a great deal of discontent, because many people have spent a lot of money on bands. It’s not that hard to maintain compatibility; the new models are 0.7mm and 1.6mm wider than the previous models. All Apple had to do was taper the top and bottom to fit the bands.

The second point is that the smallest model is big. When I saw the new sizes, I thought of my former Macworld colleague Caitlin McGarry, who has been the poster child for the Apple Watch on small wrists. She tweeted a photo of her with the 40mm watch yesterday, from the hands-on area after the presentation:


Caitlin is not that far off the center of the bell curve as far as women’s sizes go; many women – and some men as well – have small wrists. And many people have wrists that are rounder than flat, which makes the watch look much larger. This could sway a lot of potential Apple Watch users, notably women and teenagers, toward other devices.

Should Apple make the Apple Watch in three sizes? Perhaps; if they’re going to increase the size again, they really have to. It’s no use making the device unusable for a fairly large percentage of their target market.

0 thoughts on “Some Pros and Cons of the New Apple Watch

  1. At yesterday’s Event, it was said that the Series 4 is now thinner, but not by how much. Without searching around to find the actual dimensions, I’m thinking that the lack of emphasis on this change can only be due to the fact it’s ‘not a lot’.

  2. Ah, thanks Kirk. Just found that on Apple’s site. Not a whole lot then.

    I didn’t realise they had made the case(s) actually bigger. I wondered how they achieved the screen size increase, although claiming “edge to edge” is stretching the truth rather.

    However, for the larger screen and the ECG capability, I am interested in upgrading from my S2.

    • Well, it’s not exactly edge to edge, but it’s close. With the corners more rounded, it doesn’t look much bigger; I’ve seen photos comparing it to the Series 3. Also, the height to width ratio is a smidgen smaller on the new models, and the sizes they market are based only on height.

  3. As I said, I’d be keen to upgrade, but they’ve made one of those bizarre arbitrary decisions – stainless steel case can only be had with cellular. Why? There’s no connection between the 2. I have no need of cellular but like the stainless case and that’s a £300 price difference. Sigh 🙁

    Maybe I just have to keep my S2 as well. Be a 2 Watch kinda guy 🙂

    • Yes, I had been considering getting the stainless steel model (before the new ones were announced) – and, while I have a cellular aluminum now, and still want cellular, it’s £220 more for the stainless steel. That’s way too much, and the fact that there’s no GPS only is surprising. I feel your pain.

      The stainless model with Apple Care would cost almost as much as the iPhone XR.

  4. Kirk, did you not think the event was ‘thinner’ than expected? It was likely to not include new Macs (or Mojave), but no iPads? There were very strong hints of new Pros with USB-C, but in the end, nothing. Even iOS 12 was glossed over. I thought there’d be more.

    • Perhaps there will be something in October with new Macs and iPads. I had expected something to launch Mojave, and discuss Macs, but it’s coming out in two weeks.

      • Well it’s their venue so I guess it could make sense to split up the announcements, have more of them and keep them more focussed.

  5. Apple’s data for sales probably showed the 38mm was not worth keeping. In the wild I mainly see the 42mm.

  6. Apple appears to be increasingly confident in Apple Watch.

    If you use an an iPhone and want a smart watch; not a fitness tracker like a Garmin/Fitbit, you really only have one choice, Apple Watch.
    Apple suggested Apple Watch has encouraged some people to switch to iOS, which having seen the state and size of Android smart watches appears plausible.
    Women’s watches have generally been increasing in size. Just yesterday I was in a meeting where three women were wearing chunky diver style watches that were either the same size or larger than my 42mm Apple Watch.
    Apple continues to offer a 38mm Series 3, at least for now.

    Apple probably felt that prevailing market conditions, and reduced volume in the Series 4 gave them room to increase the size, without unduly affecting the top and bottom line.

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