Apple promoted watchOS 4’s new heart monitoring features, but if you own an original Apple Watch, you won’t have access to all the new functionality.
There was big Apple Watch news on September 12 with the introduction of the new LTE-enabled Apple Watch Series 3. But just as big a deal –at least for existing Apple Watch owners– was the announcement of watchOS 4. The latest version of the operating system for the Apple Watch brings new features and functionality to existing Apple Watch models.
One of the key new capabilities that Apple featured prominently during the September 22 presentation is advanced heart monitoring capabilities. In particular, with watchOS 4, the Apple Watch can display resting, walking and workout recovery heart rate. In a very useful health safety feature, it can also alert the wearer if it detects the heart rate rising abnormally during a period of inactivity.
However, it turns out that watchOS 4 marks an important line in the sand for the Apple Watch as it turns out that the original (released in 2015) does not support all the new heart monitoring functions. According to Apple, Series 1, Series 2 and of course Series 3 have the necessary hardware.
In case you were wondering, Series 1, is not the same as that 2015 original. When Apple released the Series 2, it gave the original a slight spec bump for more processing power before re-naming it the Series 1.
So there you have it. Even with an original Apple Watch, watchOS 4 is a worthwhile upgrade, but to get the full heart monitoring functionality and the feature of being alerted if your heart rate spikes unexpectedly, the day has come where you’re going to have to fork over the cash for a new Apple Watch.