Apple Watch Series 4: 4 Fixes the Smartwatch Needs to Live Up to the Hype
In some ways, the Apple Watch Series 4 is leaps and bounds ahead of its predecessors. With its fitness features and a processor that’s as powerful as some iPhones, it’s easy to see why it’s the top-selling wearable.
Indeed, the latest device is expected to outsell the Series 3 by sizable margins. But early successes aside, the device has yet to make good on its most-hyped feature and is reportedly having trouble with an even more important core function: telling time (at least, if you’re in Australia and it’s daylight saving’s time.)
Apple is no stranger to software hiccups, but it will still be some time before the Series 4 is fully running as advertised. Here are four upgrades the Series 4 desperately needs to truly take it to the next level.
4. Apple Watch Series 4: ECG/EKG Needs to Roll Out
The device’s most groundbreaking feature, an electrocardiogram heart monitor (ECG or EKG), is still not available. This is most likely due to the fact that Apple got FDA clearance to include the tech a day before it was announced at the September 12 iPhone keynote (‘cleared’, also notably does not mean the same thing as approved as the healthcare economist Aaron Carroll pointed out). The app for this improved health tracking has been said to roll out later in 2018, but it could be years before Apple Watch users worldwide have access to it.
Apple’s site states EKG will ship “later this year,” but this is only for users in the United States. To make this feature available in the United Kingdom, the company has to get its technology cleared by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). This could potentially take years to achieve if the company has yet to apply for it, excluding many customers from one of the watch’s most touted capabilities.
3. Apple Watch Series 4: Daylight Saving Bug Fixes
Certain Australian Apple Watch users’ had their devices crash Sunday as the watch attempted to transition from Daylight Savings Time. This bug was triggered only when the “Infograph Modular” watch face was being used, reported 9to5Mac.
The issue was rectified, but expect a software patch to ensure this doesn’t happen again. A majority of European countries switch from DST in late-October and the U.S. makes the change on November 4.
2. Apple Watch Series 4: Bring Back Time Travel
The first major Apple Watch update — WatchOS 2 —introduced the Time Travel feature, which allowed users to spin the device’s crown to move its time forwards or backwards. This feature served to view upcoming appointments or the weather forecast without having to open an app, but it has been completely removed in WatchOS 5. This decision made a lot of users angry.
So much so that a few passionate fans of the feature have even started a Change.org petition in hopes of convincing Apple to bring it back.
“Apple allowed for this feature to be turned off within the watch’s settings,” writes Mateo Manzari, who started the petition. “Why then has it been completely removed? With WatchOS 5 they could have simply set the feature to “off” and then allowed us fans to turn it back on.”
1. Apple Watch Series 4: Always-On Mode
Every Apple Watch has required users to twist their wrist to activate the face when it goes dark. This kind of idle mode serves to conserve battery, but fans of the devices have been clamoring for an “Always-On Mode” that always displays the time since the early days of the smartwatch.
This, naturally, would decrease battery life because the device’s OLED screen would always be on. But Apple could still give users the option to sacrifice the longer charge, perhaps by tapping the Series 4’s Low Battery Mode.
Customers who are used to analog wristwatches understandably find having to flick their wrist to check the time annoying. There have fortunately been rumors suggesting an Always-On Mode may be in the works, but no formal announcements as of yet.