The first Apple Watch was revolutionary, but the updates have been mostly minor—until now. Apple has put some serious thought into the Series 4, serving up a new case, new buttons, new display, and new features. And where the first watch’s internals seemed awkwardly placed and unpolished by Apple standards, for the Series 4 they really painted the back of the fence. Our teardown uncovered a streamlined antenna system, a display that’s both bigger and thinner, and a new ECG conductive digital crown. Pundit John Gruber rightly likened this new watch to the leap in design brought by the iPhone 4, but we’d go so far as to call it an iPhone 5: A device that knows its priorities, and wants to look elegant inside and out.
The Series 4 is also nearing iPhone levels of repairability, with a sticky screen being the primary remaining obstacle (once you’re actually inside, the battery is straightforward to replace). All told, the Series 4 earned a solid 6 out of 10 on our repairability scale.
Here’s what else we found behind the Watch:
- The Series 4 boasts a 1.113 Wh battery, a 4% capacity increase over the 1.07 Wh Series 3 battery—all in spite of a case that’s 6% slimmer.
- We found a new Taptic Engine that’s much thinner, but also longer. Even this smaller engine takes up a lot of room in this tiny device—room that could have gone to a bigger battery, but Apple seems to feel physical feedback is very important.
- The little black “eye” adjoining the amplified speaker may be a barometric sensor, cleverly using the speaker grille’s access to the outside atmosphere. Since it no longer needs its own unsightly hole in the chassis as it did in Series 3, this is a victory for Jony Ives everywhere.