The Apple Watch has been a huge success for the company, pretty much tying up the wearables sector at the first attempt. With 2023 underway, we’re looking forward to seeing what Apple will do with the next generation of its digital timepiece. So, here’s all the news, rumors we’ve discovered so far about the Apple Watch Series 9 as well as our expectations for the new device.
Apple Watch Series 9: Release date
Apple has a release schedule for its Watches that, if you’ll pardon the pun, runs like clockwork. For years now, its latest iterations have made their debut in the second or third week of September, usually alongside the new iPhones, with on-sale dates about a week and a half later:
- Apple Watch Series 8: September 7, 2022
- Apple Watch Series 7: September 14, 2021
- Apple Watch Series 6: September 15, 2020
- Apple Watch Series 5: September 10, 2019
- Apple Watch Series 4: September 12, 2018
- Apple Watch Series 3: September 12, 2017
It seems highly unlikely that Apple will change the cadence this year, so we expect the Apple Watch Series 9 to launch in September 2023, likely on September 6 or 12.
Apple Watch Series 9: Price
Again, Apple has been remarkably consistent with its pricing strategy for the Apple Watch for U.S. buyers. However, 2022 saw European countries take the brunt of several price increases. As such, the U.K. saw the baseline model rise by £50:
- Apple Watch Series 8 – $399/£419
- Apple Watch Series 7 – $399/£369
- Apple Watch Series 6 – $399/£379
- Apple Watch Series 5 – $399/£399
- Apple Watch Series 4 – $399/£399
With a price rise in Europe already in place, we’d expect the Series 9 to have a similar price as the Apple Watch Series 8 it replaces. So, it should be around $399/£419.
Apple Watch Series 9: Design and specs
With the next generation of Apple Watch still off in the distance at the time of writing, information about what new features Apple could introduce remains pretty scarce. There are a few possibilities though, as well as some features the team at Macworld would like to see Apple introduce.
Last year Apple introduced the all-new Apple Watch Ultra with a dizzying array of features and components. The newest member of the Apple Watch family featured a more rugged design, flat edges, and a slightly larger display (49mm vs 45mm on the Apple Watch Series 8). While the Apple Watch’s aesthetics are iconic, a flat design had been rumored for the Apple Watch as far back as the Series 7, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Series 9 adopt a similar look to the Ultra.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
Perhaps the most likely feature the new Watch could borrow from the Ultra would be the Action button. This is a second physical button, located on the opposite flank of the Digital Crown. On the Ultra you can set it to trigger specific tasks such as a stopwatch, workout, or flashlight, functionality that would be an excellent upgrade to the existing Apple Watch design.
However recent rumors suggest the Apple Watch Series 9 will be a minor upgrade this year, with little more than a chip upgrade.
If you look at the tech specs for every new Apple Watch, you’ll see a new chip listed. The Series 8 has an S8 chip, the Series 7 has an S7, and the Series 6 has an S6. The only thing that’s weird is that they’re all the same chip with different names. While the S6 delivered a 20 percent boost in performance over the Series 5, the S7 and S8 are rebranded versions of the same processor according to teardowns and Apple’s conspicuous commission of any sort of performance improvements. But we’re hoping the S9 changes that, with a boost in performance and maybe a Neural Engine built into the chip.
Like the iPhone 14 Pro, the Apple Watch Ultra upgraded its GPS to include the L5 band in addition to the standard L1 for faster and more precise location tracking. Even if you’re not hiking in steep terrain, the extra band would be handy in busy city areas where the standard Watch can struggle. Apple has a habit of introducing new features on high-end models and then trickling them down to the lower-end models, and we think that very well could happen here.
The Apple Watch could soon have an even better display. Will it debut with the Series 9?
There have been plenty of rumors about Apple potentially using MicroLED displays on various devices over the past few years, but the strongest are targeting the Apple Watch as the first device to make the switch. After all, the Apple Watch was the first device to have an OLED screen—years before the iPhone—so it’s likely that Apple will debut its MicroLED screen on the Apple Watch too. The advantages would well make it worthwhile, as MicroLED is thinner, brighter, higher-res, and more efficient than even OLED. The most recent rumors say the first microLED watches won’t arrive until 2024, but we’re holding out hope for an earlier appearance.
Thus far, Apple Watches are one of the few remaining Apple devices that hasn’t been updated to 5G—even the high-end Apple Watch Ultra has 4G LTE. With the Apple Watch moving closer toward complete independence, having the fastest connection available seems like a good idea. We’re sure there are no doubt a few problems to overcome, but Apple tends to be good at that.
Apple has been working for years on a non-invasive way to monitor glucose levels without needing extra equipment. A recent report claims that a secret team within Apple has reached several “major milestones” in the project, and the feature is now considered to be at a “proof of concept” stage. However, it’s unlikely that it will appear in this year’s watch and could still be several years away.
Other possible sensors for inclusion could be an electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor for measuring stress levels and a bioimpedance sensor for measuring body composition.
Apple Watch Series 9: watchOS 10
While we don’t know much about the next release of watchOS, which will be version 10 assuming Apple sticks to the same numbering system, but we do know we’ll get our first look at it during WWDC 2023. You can expect to see some new health and fitness features as well as a handful of new watch faces.
We’ll keep updating this article as more information becomes available, so be sure to check back regularly. In the meantime, if you can’t wait until September, here’s our roundup of the best Apple Watch deals currently around.
Also read: Every new Apple product coming in 2023 and When is the next Apple Event?