Apple Watch: Should You Buy the Series 4? Apple Smartwatch Sales Still Strong after 50 Million Units Sold from 2015 to 2018

When it comes to any new product on the market, there will be the inevitable innovators and early adopters. If the product is sound, then come the early majority and late majority, and finally the laggards. In the case of Apple Watch, it sold 4.2 million units right off the bat in Q2 2015.

New Technology Adoption Curve in reference to Apple Watch

Three years later, it remains the best-selling smartwatch with an enviable 17% marketshare.

Strong Sales Throughout the Evolution of Apple Watch from First Generation through Series 4

The original Apple Watch was, as Apple, Inc. CEO Tim Cook put it: “a precise timepiece, a new intimate way to communicate from your wrist, and a comprehensive health and fitness device.”

Apple Watch was marketed more as a fashion accessory than a health and fitness band, although those aspects were amply highlighted in their early ad campaigns. The fashion angle was undeniable when Apple put a 12-page spread in Vogue highlighting the esthetics of various body and band combinations.

The following year, in 2016, Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2 were introduced, and Apple killed off the first-generation health and fitness wearable. In 2017, Apple Watch Series 3 made its debut, while Series 2 made its exit. In 2018, with the launch of Apple Watch Series 4, Series 1 was discontinued.

Apple doesn’t reveal Apple Watch sales figures, but analyst estimates in May 2018 put the figure at around 46 million. With more than 4 million units still being sold (estimate) each quarter, that number is likely to be well past the 50 million mark at the end of 2018, possibly very close to 55 million units.

Apple Watch Series 4 – Key Features and Specifications

The 2018 Apple Watch will be available through the end of 2019 and possibly in 2020 as well. Apple typically retains the earlier iteration for at least two years after a launch. Here’s a snapshot of Apple Watch Series 4 specs and features:

Apple Watch Price: Series 4 vs. Series 3

Apple Watch Series 4 price comparison with Apple Watch Series 3

The first thing you’ll notice is the price drop for Apple Watch Series 3, a tried and tested strategy that Apple follows for all its products at the refresh point – iPhone Xs, Xs Max and Xr, iPad Pro, Apple TV, MacBook Pro, etc. Every time there’s a new generation product, the older one is priced significantly lower. If you refer to the product adoption chart at the top of this article, you’ll notice that about a third of all sales comes from late adopters. It’s a move that’s worked for Apple for years, and 2018 is no different.

Possibly Apple’s biggest secret is that overall sales for each product does not necessarily come from that year’s model. That could be why the company doesn’t break up sales by product year or model.

Apple Watch Series 4 is the Biggest Apple Watch Ever

Apple Watch Series 4 size comparison with Series 3

At 977 sq. mm., the larger variant of Apple Watch Series 4 is the biggest screen size ever for an Apple Watch, larger than that of the bigger of the Series 3 siblings by 32% – nearly a third bigger. In fact, even the screen size on the smaller Series 4 smartwatch is bigger than the larger 2017 Apple Watch variant.

Apple Watch Processor – Moving to 64-bit Architecture

Apple Watch Series 4 - 64-bit S4 chip vs S3 chip on Series 3 Apple Watch

Apple clearly favors 64-bit chips over 32-bit architecture. Over the past two years, Apple has been transitioning to 64-bit architecture for its mobile products. The App Store currently does not support 32-bit apps, and Apple has been actively working on that for quite a while now, since well before the release of iOS 11, as a matter of fact.

Apple Watch Series 4 electric heart sensor; works with ECG app.

One of the new features on Series 4 is the addition of an electrical heart sensor comprising electrodes on the back crystal and Digital Crown. Essentially, it’s a miniature version of a single-lead electrocardiogram that can be monitored through the ECG app. It’s a revolutionary development in personal health monitoring, and can provide medical professionals with invaluable data in the event of heart anomalies.

Fall Detection and Haptic Feedback on Digital Crown

Apple Watch Series 4 - Fall detection, haptic digital crown and second-generation optical heart sensor

While the optical heart sensor remains on the Series 4 Apple Watch, it’s been upgraded to the next generation. New on the features list is the Fall Detection capability. The Digital Crown now also comes with haptic feedback. Fall Detection is closely linked to the Emergency SOS feature, which will be triggered on hard impact but give you options.

“If Apple Watch Series 4 detects a hard fall while you’re wearing your watch, it taps you on the wrist, sounds an alarm, and displays an alert. You can choose to contact emergency services or dismiss the alert by pressing the Digital Crown, tapping Close in the upper-left corner, or tapping “I’m OK.””

Apple Watch Series 4 Key Features

Hardware Specs

Apple Watch Series 4 hardware specifications specs

Key hardware improvements include a better accelerometer and gyroscope. Apple has dropped the 8GB variant for Series 4, and also the composite black option. It’s all ceramic and sapphire crystal now.

Display and Processor

Apple Watch Series 4 display and processor details

LTPO OLED is the biggest change on the display front, other than the larger size mentioned earlier. Apple Watch Series 4 is the first device in the world to use LTPO backplane technology.

“Low-Temperature Polycrystalline Oxid, or LTPO, is an OLED display backplane technology developed by Apple. LTPO combines both LTPS TFTs and Oxide TFTs (IGZO, Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide). LTPO is applicable for both OLED and LCD displays, actually, but this backplane technology is likely to be used exclusively in high-end OLED displays”

The S4 processor is twice as fast as its predecessor, the S3 chip found on the Series 3 Apple Watch. Wireless communication is achieved through the upgraded W3 chip.

Connectivity – Introducing Bluetooth 5.0 Support

Apple Watch Series 4 connectivity and power features

On the connectivity front, not much has changed except for Bluetooth 5.0 support on the Apple Watch Series 4.

2018-2019 Apple Watch Series 4 Editions

Apple Watch Series 4 editions Nike+ and Hermes

Alongside the Apple Watch Nike+ edition comes the Apple Watch Hermes edition for the more whimsical smartwatch wearer. It also comes with the Double Tour strap or a Single Tour Deployment Buckle, which clicks open at the touch of a button on the side.

Apple Watch Series 4 Hermes Single Tour strap with Deployment Buckle

Apple has come a long way from the first generation Apple Watch to what is now the fifth generation smartwatch. If you’re on the fence about buying the Series 4, don’t be. Apple Watch technology, design and features list are now at a very mature level. Besides the GPS and Cellular options have been standard for two generations of Apple Watch, which should dispel any doubts about how well it works as a standalone device that’s not tethered to an iPhone.