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Apple Watch now has an 'I've fallen and can't get up' mode

The Apple Watch 4 will now automatically know when you've had a dangerous fall.

One of the Apple Watch 4's new capabilities is fall detection, using its suite of sensors to keep an eye out for sudden slips and drops. That's a feature that might sound familiar. It was the sole purpose of the simple Life Alert wristband, featured in a series of low-budget TV commercials in the 1980s.

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To detect falls and trips in real time, Apple says the Apple Watch 4 is trained to recognize telltale signs. Aside from basic falls (fast downward movement), the device notices trips (diagonal movement forward) and slips (abrupt halt). It also aims to sense specific arm motions, such as jerking forward to break forward momentum or windmilling backward to regain balance.

The latest smartwatch from Apple is quite a sophisticated piece of hardware, especially from a health monitoring perspective. Paired with the Health app, and running the latest WatchOS 5, the gadget tracks heart rate and takes EKG readings. It track sleep, physical activity and exercise too. And like previous Apple Watches, this model can break down swimming sessions by duration and the type of strokes employed.

Apple announced both the Apple Watch 4 and a new suite of iPhones at a press event today in San Francisco.  

Sarah Tew/CNET

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