The Apple Watch Series 4 launched last month and packed in lots of features that make it one of the most appealing wearables on the market. A few of the big features of the smartwatch include ECG capability to detect abnormal heart rates and fall detection that can call emergency services if you are take a spill and can't dial 911 yourself. Anyone with a history of falls, particularly the elderly living alone, can appreciate that last feature. Falls represent a major cause of hospitalization for the elderly, and in those with conditions that make them unsteady when walking.
Those two major health features will likely mean that the Apple Watch Series 4 ends up on the wrists of many senior citizens. Certainly, one of the biggest questions about the Apple watch is: Does that fall detection work? The Wall Street Journal decided to put the fall detection feature to the test in what may be the coolest test of a wearable feature ever devised. The test strapped the watch onto the wrist of a stunt woman to see if the wearable could tell the difference between a serious fall and a non-issue stumble.
Apple says that the fall detection feature can determine if a fall was serious, tap you on the wrist with vibration feedback, sound an alarm, and then display an alert on the screen. If the wearer is ok, all they need to do is tap that alert on the screen, and go back to massaging their bruised ego. The message gives users the option to tap "I fell, but I'm OK" or "I did not fall." In testing, The Wall Street Journal found that the Apple Watch did a very good job of detecting a serious fall while ignoring insignificant or outright fake falls.
The stunt double performed a series of falls that are similar to falls in the slides that Apple showed in its keynote explaining the feature. In the testing, the watch was able to identify those falls and offer to call emergency services. The most interesting part is that even though the stunt woman pulled some serious fake falls, complete with Hollywood-style tumbling down a hill, the Apple Watch was able to figure out if the fall was fake and didn't offer to call emergency services.
Apple's latest Apple Watch Series 4 is available to purchase now, but it doesn't come cheap. While the previous generation Apple Watch Series 3 started at $329, the new Series 4 variants start at $399. If you want cellular connectivity, that price jumps to $499. And if you want a stainless steel body and sapphire display glass, the price of entry is a staggering $699.