Apple Watch S4 radio waves - anyone worried about them?

I gathered from the event that on the AW Series 4 the new back allows for radio waves to move through it, differing - it appears - from the older models where they apparently don’t(?)

Radio waves are generally a very clever little nugget from nature, but given enough power they could be quite dangerous (think cancer).

I’m pretty sure that they adhere to whatever legal limits has been set by lawmakers around the globe, but I can’t stop thinking that this is a watch that will be in contact with my body a lot of hours every day. Compare that to a phone where it’s only touching my body when i’m using it actively.

Am I seeing ghosts here? Or is this a factor that we still don’t know enough about and we’re basically guinea pigs?

The watch has a GPS receiver, Bluetooth radios and more depending upon your device. This is not new. Apple has changed some materials to improve performace of those radio receivers and transmitters.

I have some experience / training in radio technology and I PERSONALLY am not worried about this at all. There are all kinds of electromagnetic fields in our world some man-made some nature made. There as been a lot of research in EM and it is a very very complex subject.

Be careful of unsupported fear here.

Medical science goes back and forth with stuff like this. First coffee is bad for you, then coffee is good for you. First wine is bad for you, now wine is good for you. First global cooling, now global warming. I keep thinking of the scene from Woody Allen’s Sleeper, where he wakes up in the future, sees people smoking and questions why they do it in light of the bad health effects. They respond by saying, what are you talking about? It’s been proven to be one of the best things for you!

The scientists don’t know squat one day to the next. My advice? Just use the watch and stop thinking about it.

They are radio waves, so it doesn’t matter that the watch is against your skin. Radio waves penetrate most things. Think food in a covered glass dish in the microwave.
True, given enough power, they can be harmful (as microwaves can cook food). But water can also be toxic if enough is drunk at once (see hyponatremia).
The watch might even have the opposite effect, as it will block UV from that area of your arm, UV being a proven carcinogen. In fact, our bodies have DNA repair mechanisms to deal with this threat.
We still see warning signs not to use cell phones at gas pumps, even though the true risk is from static electricity, as shown by an IEEE study.
The earth is constantly bombarded by particles that can travel through us and the earth. Life is not without risk.
My advice would be to use the watch.

And my favorite, the Dunning-Kruger effect.

In the field of psychology, the Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which people of low ability have illusory superiority and mistakenly assess their cognitive ability as greater than it is. The cognitive bias of illusory superiority comes from the inability of low-ability people to recognize their lack of ability; without the self-awareness of metacognition, low-ability people cannot objectively evaluate their actual competence or incompetence.[1] On the other hand, people of high ability incorrectly assume that tasks that are easy for them are also easy for other people.[ better source needed ][2]

As described by social psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger, the cognitive bias of illusory superiority results from an internal illusion in people of low ability and from an external misperception in people of high ability; that is, “the miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others.”[1]

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You are seeing ghosts. I’m in the RF industry as an engineer, and yes, we are surrounded by RF ALL the time, both natural and man-made. At very high power levels, and depending on the frequency, you can be seriously injured by burns mostly, but it has NEVER been conclusively proven that RF can cause cancer.

That being said, I, and the industry at large, do suspect there MIGHT be a link at low frequencies, but again, there is no conclusive evidence. And by the way, the frequencies we’re dealing with on 99% of our electronic devices are not in the low frequency range.

That’s a doubled-edged statement.

In the 90s a study was funded in the UK by the mobile phone industry - it wanted to see if the act of using a mobile phone had any measurable effect on the brain - it was a very simple study, designed to test whether further research was needed. One of the results found was that the phones of the day (remember those stubby little cones on top of the device, or the pull-out aerials?) could cause the area of the brain close to the device to increase in temperature by over a degree celcius. This was far more than anyone expected. The study was immediately cancelled and not published. At the same time new devices across the majority of manufacturers ditched those aerials and went instead to the next gen aerials - flat patches inside the device which radiate more in one direction than another. Correlation does not prove causation but, y’know…
(I know this because the professor who taught me electrostatics in my degree course ran the study)

But today, even the phones themselves put out a tiny fraction of the rf energy than even those 90s devices did (but I don’t even want to think about what one of those old brick-phones would do to you if we used them as much as we use modern devices)

I genuinely believe that if it was an issue, that nearly 60 years would have revealed it.

I am familiar with those studies, and the conclusions are typically the same - a rise in temperature of nearby cells. But that is the expected result from RF, a rise in temperature due to excitation of the molecules - exactly how a microwave works.

I do agree that 60+ years would have already exposed an issue, however the variables of RF power, coupled with variations in frequency, make it very difficult to pin down.

In any case, the bottom line is - Don’t worry about it, and enjoy your Apple watch!!

As a scientist, thank you!

The known component of wine that has antioxidant abilities, called Resveratol, DOES have effect in high enough doses to make an impact… but only at certain doses. Doses that would equal to a person needing to down multiple bottles in an evening in order to get the beneficial amount!

You are correct, correlation is not causation, and people need to be aware of it.

/side-rant over

Unless you stick your head in a microwave oven or stand in front of a radar antenna you have nothing to worry about.

This entire panic about radio wave health risk is a made up issue by some people who did not like the sight of a radio tower.