Apple Watch: Everything You Need to Know

The biggest updates between models, the naming conventions, and more

Apple Watch series 4

 Apple Inc

Since introducing its smartwatch back in 2015, Apple’s been upgrading its wearable on a regular basis. However, with various naming conventions and some very incremental, granular changes, it can be hard to keep tabs on the latest Apple Watch info. Here’s your a guide to the latest details on the most recent popular device.

Available Apple Watch Names and Models

There are two main versions of the Apple Watch currently available for purchase:

  • Series 4
  • Series 3

Previous Apple Watch models called Series 1, 2, and Edition have all been discontinued — though you still may be able to find them available for purchase through third-party (non-Apple) retailers. The original Apple Watch has also been discontinued.

Apple Watch Series 4

Apple Watch series 4
 Apple Inc

Apple Watch Series 4 was announced and released in September 2018 with watchOS 5. Its main benefits were stated as: connection, fitness, and health.

Series 4 is the first smartwatch which features an electrical heart sensor or EGC available over-the-counter to consumers. It will be able to alert the wearer to irregularities in their heart rhythm. The Series 4 is also able to detect when the wearer has fallen and can call for help automatically.

Series 4 features two increased sizes: 40mm and 44mm compared to the previous 38mm and 42mm. It’s 10.7mm thick.

The Series 4 comes in two different case materials: Aluminum and stainless steel. Each case has a few different colors to choose from

Highlights of the Apple Watch Series 4:

  • Digital Crown with haptic feedback
  • ECG capability
  • Fall detection
  • Improved accelerometer (up to 32 g-forces)
  • Improved gyroscope
  • Back of the watch with all ceramic and sapphire crystal

Apple Watch Nike+ Model

The Apple Watch Nike+ was first introduced September 2016 as a Nike-branded Apple Watch Series 2. There have also been Nike+ Apple Watch Series 3 and Series 4 models.

Unique Nike+ Features:

  • Exclusive Nike+ watch faces
  • Nike Sport Loop and Nike Sport bands
  • Nike+ Run Club app
  • Nike branding on back of watch

Apple Watch Hèrmes Model

The Apple Watch Hèrmes collection was first introduced September 2015. The collection was in partnership with the French design house. It continues to be offered as part of the Series 4 lineup.

Unique Hèrmes Features:

  • Various leather bands with buckles, starting north of $300.
  • Hèrmes branding on back of watch.
  • Exclusive Hèrmes watch face.

Apple Watch Series 3

Apple Watch series 3
 Apple Inc

The Series 3 was release in September 2017 with watchOS 4. Its flagship feature was the availability of cellular connectivity for an additional cost.

Series 3 features two size screen displays: 38mm and 42mm. It’s 11.4mm thick.

As of September 2018, the Series 3 is only available in aluminum and in two case colors.

Highlights of the Apple Watch Series 3:

  • LTE antenna for using the watch without an iPhone — including phone calls (this feature was optional).
  • Barometric altimeter for tracking elevation (stairs climbed, etc.) to factor into your total activity-tracking data.
  • S3 processor, which Apple claimed offered up to 70% faster performance over previous models.
  • W2 chip delivers faster Wi-Fi than previous models.

Apple Watch Series 1 and 2

Apple Watch series 1
Apple Inc

The Series 1 and 2 watches were both introduced in the Fall of 2016. Series 1 was an original Apple Watch with updated processor for additional speed. Series 2 had the additional speed, but also added GPS for better location tracking, and 50 meter water resistance.

Series 1 support brief encounters with water from rain or washing hands, but was not intended to be submerged. Series 2, however, was the first Apple Watch that officially supported use in water featuring water resistance up to 50 meters, and included fitness tracking for swimming. 

Series 1 and 2 featured two size screen displays: 38mm and 42mm. Series 1 was 10.5mm thick, while Series 2 was 11.4mm thick.

Original Apple Watch

Original Apple Watch Sport

The first Apple Watch didn't have any series number and was divided into three product models" Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport, and Apple Watch Edition.

Apple Watch Sport was the lowest cost model and made out of aluminum. Apple Watch was the more premium version and made out of stainless steel. While Apple Watch Edition was made from 18 karat solid gold. There was no differentiation in features beyond the watch material.

Apple Announced the first Apple Watch in September 2014, while it became available for purchase in Spring 2015.

Apple Watch Edition

The Apple Watch Edition was the high end version and debuted in 2015. It started at $10,000 for the 38mm version and $12,000 for the 42mm version and came in 18 karat gold or rose gold. The original version was configurable up to $17,000 depending on the size and band choice.

Starting with Series 2, the solid gold Edition model was retired in favor of an all ceramic version. Series 3 offered a ceramic version in two colors as well.

As of September 2018, there is no longer any Edition version of the Apple Watch for sale.