Apple also unveiled the the Apple Watch Series 4, with improved cellular connectivity, larger screen, more powerful processor and a range of additional health-tracking features.

The smartwatches now feature an electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor which can measure not only the heart’s rate but its rhythm. Such a sensor can detect heart rhythm disorders such as atrial fibrillation, a common cause of strokes. The watches, which have been endorsed by the American Heart Association and have clearance from the FDA, still have the original optical sensors, which flash pulsed light through the skin to detect heart rate.

The device has also been fitted with an improved accelerometer and gyroscope that can detect if someone has fallen over, a feature that could be useful for older people. If a fall is detected and the person remains immobile for more than a minute, the device automatically calls their emergency contact.

“Fall detection is a feature we hope you never need, but it’s really nice to know it’s there,” said Apple chief operating officer Jeff Williams.

At 40mm and 44m, the two variants are slightly larger, but thinner, than the previous iterations that measured 38mm and 42mm. The watches can be pre-ordered from 14 September with cellular connectivity, starting at $499, or just GPS, starting at $399.

The older Series 3 watches will remain on sale from $279.

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