Garmin has announced the Approach S4 golf sportswatch, adding a high-resolution touchscreen interface and the ability to receive notifications from a compatible paired iPhone (iPhone 4s and above running iOS7.0 and above) using Bluetooth Low Energy technology. Those notifications, which include the ability to display texts and emails, make for a very attractive feature and one that has Garmin treading into smartwatch territory. There’s no word yet on plans to bring this feature set to Android.
Before going further, let me digress and say that I hope this feature comes to Garmin handhelds. The ability to keep my phone in my pack and see notifications on the screen of my GPS would be a killer feature for me.
Back to the Approach S4: It comes with 30,000 preloaded international courses, free lifetime course updates, and a dedicated “Green View” button to see the shape and layout of the green. The 10 hour GPS-mode battery life should allow for a couple of rounds of golf each weekend on a single charge.
Of course all the normal functions you would expect are included — the ability to see the distance to the front, middle and back of the green; layup, dogleg and shot distances; digital scorecard and player stats.
While the S4 only comes in black and white, accessory bands of various colors will also be offered. Slated for availability this fall, the Approach S4 carries an MSRP of $349.99. And a footnote for you globetrotters: “Currently, there are no golf courses available in Asia for Approach S-series devices sold outside of Asia.” UPDATE: Here’s the full news release. Finally, here is a promo video that does a great job of showcasing its features: