Apple Watch Series 4 review: Why this editor can't live without it during fashion week
The only thing worse than unpacking from fashion week is packing for fashion week. Rounding up little outfits to coordinate with cute sandals and the single crossbody you're intending to carry the entire duration of your vacation is a walk in the park. Your audience is your friends; the only people judging you are those on your Instagram feed, watching your silly selfie videos. The former are chosen, the latter, filtered and blocked as necessary.
Planning looks for fashion week is a whole other ball game. Scratch that — it's a tournament. Your scores are up on the leaderboard, reflected on the steely gazes of the fashion pack. It's not a competition, but you're graded anyway. So you make a list... and check it thrice. When in doubt, grab those extra pair of OTT earrings. When in fear, pack that neon orange Fendi shearling, for swag and shelter. That's the only kind of double-duty that's allowed where street style is concerned.
Or so I thought.
When I was first introduced to the Apple Watch Series 3 with cellular last February, I bravely went a day (Valentine's Day, no less) without my phone to put my reliance on this "micro technology", as I liked to call it, to the test. We were a match made in heaven — the relationship is still going strong, which is more than I can say about my date and I. C'est la vie. While I wasn't crazy enough to recreate my experience during Milan Fashion Week this year, I knew I can count on it far beyond picking up calls, summoning car service and paying for my dinner.
Strapped with the new Apple Watch Series 4, I made a conscious decision to leave my fancy schmancy Chanel cuffs and Monica Vinader chain link bracelets behind. My luggage thanked me for it and my mornings were made simpler with one less accessory to worry about. It really was the only arm candy I needed. No offense to great jewellery designers crafting art with diamonds, but no flashy bling ever is going to give me what Apple is able to...
1. A beautiful interface that tells me everything I need to know
At first glance, you almost can't tell a difference, but side by side with my older model, it's clear that the new display is larger — over 30% larger in fact, though the overall case is actually smaller and thinner. It's also noteworthy that the new interface provides more information with richer detail — app icons and fonts are bigger, making them easier to read, while complications are more precise and informative. Previously, I had to choose between the display of my calendar (crucial) or the local time back home (super crucial when I was in Milan and working eight hours behind Singapore with deadlines to meet) if I wanted the weather on there too, but the new classic interface allows for all three. Check it out above.
2. Detect my fall and notify the authorities
This, I was crazy impressed by. The new fall detection feature utilises a next-gen accelerometer and gyroscope along with custom algorithms to detect a fall when it occurs. Apple Watch Series 4 analyses wrist trajectory and impact acceleration whenever it's on. This means that if I fall hard, the watch will send me an alert; I can choose to dismiss it if I'm okay, or I can call emergency services with a little swipe. If I fall and can't move to react within 60 seconds, the watch will automatically make the call on my behalf and send a message with my location details to the emergency contacts I saved in my iPhone. So far, I've activated the fall detection feature twice — once when I slipped from the TRX straps at the gym and once when I face-planted wakeboarding. Both times, I had ample time to tell the watch I'm A-OK.
3. Apps to make my life less of a pain
I tried a few new Apple Watch apps while I was in Milan. App in the Air proved to be most useful; it provided me with real-time statuses of my flight — including boarding details, information on terminals and gates, time travelled and local time in my destination — even when my watch was on airplane mode. Elk Travel Currency Converter also came in handy. Math isn't my strong suit (stereotypes about Asians be damned) so I hugely appreciated my watch telling me how much that Prada bag I'm eyeing at the Monte Napoleone store was going to set me back without having to whip out my phone tucked safely in my non-Prada bag. There's also the iTranslate Translator app which I heard great things about but never got the chance to use, because my travel companion was able to converse in Italian. Heh.
4. An overall seamless experience
There are other features on the Apple Watch Series 4 that didn't go unnoticed. For instance, the speaker is now 50% louder and the microphone has been relocated to reduce echo. Hence, the audio quality is much improved when I'm making calls while running between fashion shows and press presentations along the street. I previously used my iPods, which battery life I can now preserve for music and videos when I'm stuck in traffic. Speaking of, the Digital Crown now includes haptic feedback, so I can actually feel the incremental clicks when I'm turning the volume up and down. God is indeed in the details.
Apple Watch Series 4 is available at Apple stores worldwide.