Apple Watch Series 4 – Ask This Before You Buy

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The Apple Watch Series 4 is here.

apple watch series 4

You may be aware that I am a big Apple fan girl. I love Apple products and use them daily.

I was also a proud owner of the Apple Series 1 watch – yup, the original.

But what I found over time, was that even though I wore the Apple Watch (series 1) every day – I didn’t really use it to it’s full potential.

I guess I would say that I used it to tell time, track my steps, get notifications, and as an alarm.

In fact, I was getting a little disillusioned and was considering switching back to a fitness tracker like a Fitbit.

So, with the Apple Watch Series 4 release, I was a bit skeptical.

Would I really use all the features to make it worth the investment?

Well, here’s the thing, I am a strong believer in using technology to make life easier.

However, I think that many of us don’t use our gadgets as best we can because we don’t know how.

That’s what happened to me with my Apple Watch Series 1.

Armed with that introspection, I decided to bite the bullet and upgrade my Apple Watch to the Series 4.

This time is going to be different.

I am going to use my Apple Watch to it’s full potential. I will take the time to learn about it’s features and capabilities. And I will put them to use to make life easier for me.

If you find yourself in the same boat – excited about a new device but then out of time when it comes to learning about it – then follow along with me as I get started with the Apple Watch Series 4.

I will share with you what I learn along the way.

Which Apple Watch Series 4 Model Should You Buy?

Once I decided that yes, I would in fact upgrade to the Apple Watch Series 4 – I knew I had a little research to do.

It comes in a few different configurations and price points.

Apple Watch Series 4 GPS or Apple Watch Series 4 GPS + Cellular?

The first and most important decision (no it is not which color) is whether to buy just the GPS version or the GPS + Cellular.

The main difference between the two is that the Cellular version can be used to make phone calls, send SMS text messages, and stream music without having your cell phone close by (using the same cell phone number as your phone).

That sounds pretty good but you have to be aware of a few things:

  • The actual Apple Watch Series 4 with cellular costs about $100 more than the one without
  • To use the Cellular feature, you have to add it on to your cellular plan with your carrier at an additional monthly cost. (This probably varies by carrier but for ATT it is $10 per month).
  • It doesn’t work with all cell phone plans – so make sure you check with your carrier before you buy your Apple Watch.
  • Cellular also doesn’t work with all iPhones – you need an iPhone 6 or above running iOS 12 or higher

You don’t have to activate the cellular feature right away, but if you think you might want to use it down the road then you should get the model that offers this capability.

I decided to get the Apple Watch Series 4 with GPS + Cellular for a couple of reasons:

First, I am forever forgetting my cell phone at home when I run out the door.

Second, when I go out to walk the dog or head to gym, I don’t like to carry my phone around with me. I usually don’t have pockets so I end up juggling too much.

Which Size Apple Watch Should You Get?

The Apple Watch Series 4 comes in 2 sizes:

  • 40 mm and
  • 44 mm

These watch faces are slightly bigger than previous versions which were 38 mm and 42 mm.

The good news is that the bands from the old 38 mm Apple Watch will fit the Apple Watch Series 4 40mm size and the bands from the old 42mm will fit the new Apple Watch Series 4 44mm size.

If you are upgrading your old watch and want to use bands that you already have – then get the smaller or larger size accordingly.

I had the 38mm series 1 so I went with the 40mm series 4.

The new watch face may only be slightly bigger in actual size but Apple makes great use of all the available space.

Compared to the series 1 which had big bezels, I feel like there is so much more screen real estate in this little package.

And now the best part –

What Color Apple Watch Do You Want?

Now that you made all of the important decisions, it’s time to decide on something fun – the color!

The Apple Watch Series 4 comes in a collection of standard configurations that you must choose from.

Apple Watch Series 4 GPS Models

The Apple Watch Series 4 GPS models are the most affordable options. They come in the following combinations:

Apple Watch Series 4 GPS + Cellular Models

The Apple Watch Series 4 GPS + Cellular models give you the option of using your watch as a phone even when your actual iPhone is not close by.

I got this model in the silver aluminum with white sport band.

One thing I would especially recommend if you decide to get a Cellular model is to also get a set of Apple AirPods or other bluetooth wireless headphones, otherwise you will be stuck taking calls on your Apple Watch “Dick Tracy” style (meaning speaking into your wrist).

I know that is quite a comprehensive list – but there may be a few things that you have noticed when displayed this way.

Maybe Aesthetics Do Matter – Just a Little

First, if you want an Apple Watch Series 4 with GPS only, then your choices are limited to an aluminum case only.

All the stainless steel models are GPS + Cellular.

So, if you have your heart set on stainless steel, then you have to go with the cellular version.

The Nike+ models are available in both GPS and GPS + Cellular – and there is no cost difference from the non-Nike models in the same category.

What you get with Nike+ is a few additional watch faces and a unique band to that brand as well as a “complication” that launches the Nike+ Run Club App right from the watch face.

Now it’s time to make your decision – what questions should you ask yourself?

7 More Questions to Consider Before You Buy An Apple Watch Series 4

1. Do You Want a Stainless Steel Case?

If you answer yes, then you have to go with a GPS + Cellular model.

Your next step is to choose the case color and corresponding band.

If you answer no, then you can go with either GPS or GPS + Cellular.

My Series 1 Apple Watch was stainless steel and the Apple Watch Series 4 that I bought is aluminum.

Here are a few pros and cons to consider:

Personally, I like the lighter feel of the aluminum case.

But I do have small wrists and not much upper body strength – so I was very aware of the heftiness of the stainless steel watch on my wrist.

The aluminum case feels more lightweight and I don’t notice it as much.

However, the stainless steel is likely a bit stronger and may stand up to dings and bumps a little better (just my opinion).

And, the stainless steel case is gorgeous – the gold and black versions are very sleek.

2. Do You Want the Convenience of Not Having to Carry My iPhone Around?

I almost bought the GPS only version but I went with the GPS + Cellular.

And I am so glad that I did.

My goal in upgrading to the Apple Watch Series 4 was to make my life simpler and easier.

I am a serial “phone forgetter”.

And as unimportant as that sounds – it causes a lot of stress.

  • I get to the grocery store – and I don’t have my list which was on my phone.
  • I go to pick up my kids and I can’t call them to say I’m running late.
  • I’m waiting for an important call and I miss it because I left my phone on the counter at home.
  • I want to use Apple Pay and my phone battery is dead.

Stress of the modern world.

With the cellular feature on my Apple Watch, I have peace of mind knowing that I can connect even without my phone.

3. Do You Need the Nike+ Features?

If the additional watch faces and special bands that Nike offers appeal to you then look at those models in particular.

None of the Nike+ models are stainless steel – so you will have to go with the aluminum case.

But the Nike+ models come in either GPS only or GPS + Cellular.

4. How Long Do You Plan to Keep Your Apple Watch?

This question leads into my next question about your band selection.

At the rate that technology advances, you may realistically end up keeping your Apple Watch for just a few years before you upgrade.

I believe that I bought my Series 1 about 2 years ago – and I just upgraded to Series 4.

My point is that if you constantly plan to trade up, then you may want to go with a more economical model because you won’t have it that long.

5. How Likely Are You To Buy Additional Bands for Your Apple Watch?

Apple sells a large selection of bands separately – even the Milanese loop.

So, let’s say you want a GPS only model – well, you can always buy the Milanese loop band a la carte.

However, if you are tempted by the more upscale Hermes models you should go with that actual model because those come with an actual Hermes watch face and that doesn’t come with the a la carte bands. You also get a complimentary orange sports band in the package. You can see an actual unboxing here at AppleInsider.

On the other end of the spectrum, you can get a massive variety of third party bands for Apple Watch on Amazon. This sports band in particular is super inexpensive. I don’t really know much about the quality but it is another option.

6. Would You Consider Buying AirPods or Bluetooth Headphones?

Today I took my dog for a walk and left the house with my Apple Watch Series 4 with GPS + Cellular on my wrist and a set of AirPods in my ears – and with the dog, of course.

It was so enjoyable.

I was streaming music on Apple Music and took a phone call that came through while I was out and about.

It was even easier to pick up after my dog – because I wasn’t juggling an iPhone and headphones with wires and poop bags and the leash – and all that stuff.

While the Apple Watch is great on it’s own – the combination with the Apple AirPods makes it a winner.

The AirPods switch automatically back to the iPhone when you are back in range.

They also connect fairly seamlessly between all your Apple devices that are signed into the same iCloud account.

7. How Soon Do You Need It?

The Apple Watch Series 4 was recently released and seems to be in hot demand.

The Apple Store that I went to had very limited inventory in the different models. My sister went to Best Buy and ran into the same situation there.

Luckily, they and just two units of the watch that I wanted in stock, but my sister had to order hers online.

With the holidays just around the corner quantities could become even more limited.

So, if you need the Apple Watch now or are buying it as a holiday gift, you should probably buy sooner rather than later.

Well, that was a lot of ground to cover!

If you have any questions that I haven’t answered here – just leave them in the comments below.

If I know the answer, I will do my best to help you out. 🙂

Also, let me know what you think about the Apple Watch Series 4 and whether you decided to buy or upgrade.

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Apple Watch Series 4 Questions

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  1. I am 88 years old. My first Apple Product was at Christmas 1977 which I bought at a Computerland Store as a present for my children, 10 and 3. Today the one which was 3 at that time is today Sr. Vice President of Engineering at QUIZLET.

    I was the first customer in Jacksonville, FL to have an Apple Watch Series 1. Then as soon as the Series 4 arrived I upgraded from Series 1 to Series 4. I had been waiting for the heart measuring function and the fall detection system.

    The heart function may have saved my life. One day two months ago I was sitting at my desk in my apartment when I developed a significant pain just behind my breast bone and was aware that my heart rate was faster than normal.

    So, I activated the ECG function. In 30 seconds my Apple Watch told me I was experiencing AFib – the first time ever for me – and I needed to seek immediate emergency medical service. I immediately drove myself to the emergency room at St. Vincent’s Southside. I told the receptionist my situation. The staff took immediate control of me. I showed them the ECG results on my watch. They immediately hooked me up to their EKG machine and confirmed that I was in fact experiencing an AFib condition. They admitted me to the hospital.

    I can’t say for sure that the Apple Watch saved my life – but I can say it got me to go to the emergency room immediately and I did survive the episode.

    BTW I have the least expensive Series 4 available with GPS + Cellular – 44mm.

    If the next Apple Watch series has further advances in the area of health, I may buy that series.

    1. Hi Joe,
      Wow! That is an amazing story – and I am so glad that you were able to get the help you needed in time.
      I love hearing the stories of how technology, in this case the Apple Watch, can be used to make life better.
      I, too, am a die hard Apple fan and also upgrade my devices when the new version provides significant improvements over the old.
      Thank you for sharing your experience and stay well!

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