Apple Watch Series 4 is pretty meh — except that it can prevent strokes!
When watching the Apple Watch Series 4 launch, I really wasn’t impressed. A display that pushes further into the corners, meh. A smaller casing but a larger screen, meh. Until they got to the part where the device can be used with an app to pick up atrial fibrillation via the heart rate sensor.
The new heart rate sensor is accurate enough to get FDA clearance, and it’s the first of its kind. Now back to atrial fibrillation (AF). AF is actually a pretty common disorder, whereby the heart beats irregularly. A quick Google search leads to result which says 2.7 million Americans suffer from this. This problem can lead to blood not being properly ejected from the heart, and form clots in our heart. As you may know clots in our body are very dangerous. Strokes, heart failures are just among the problems that a clot can cause. And they can be fatal. Being able to detect it with intermittent heart rhythm analysis seems like an amazing way to prevent strokes.
The funny thing about AF is that certain drugs used to treat heart disease, actually causes it. So even if you know you have AF, and you are receiving treatment for it, doesn’t mean that you are safe. The only way to diagnose AF is with an electrocardiogram (ECG), and that’s not something you can do at home. Having to go to the doctor, it’s a hassle. The Apple Watch Series 4 can do an ECG, identify abnormalities and send the information to a doctor. It may not be as accurate as a proper ECG, but if it picks up an abnormality, you better be on your way to a doctor. The ability to pick up problems before they cause symptoms alone makes it worth the price of admission, especially to higher risk patients.
How much does it cost? $399 (~RM1,652) for the non-cellular variant, and $499 (~2066) for the variant with cellular network connectivity. Aside from being able to perform an ECG, the Apple Watch Series 4 comes with a lot of other niceties like interchangeable straps which are compatible with older Apple Watches, better fitness tracking, improved connectivity, upgraded speakers, faster processors, new colors and interesting animated watch faces. Meh. Oh and fall detection. Might be useful for older folks.
Pokdepinion: There probably isn’t a reason for anyone to upgrade to the newer Apple Watch Series 4, but the ECG feature will be of use to patients at risk of heart failure.