Apple has taken the covers off its expanded wearable portfolio for 2022, introducing the world to the Apple Watch Series 8, an updated Watch SE, and the pricey Ultra model aimed at extreme sports enthusiasts. All of these announcements came during Apple’s Far Out event on September 7.
With the Apple Watch Series 8, Apple offers a new chip under the hood and brand new temperature-sensing hardware that offers helpful insights related to women’s health. There are also some new tricks in tow, such as car crash detection, international roaming support, and a neat low-power mode.
Here’s every key detail you might want to know about the Apple Watch Series 8 before you splurge on Apple’s latest smartwatch offering.
The Apple Watch Series 8 is now available in over 40 countries. The base model with GPS connectivity and a 41mm case size has been priced at $399, while the trims with cellular connectivity start at $499.
The 45mm variant starts at $429, while its cellular variant costs $529. You can also place separate orders for accessories like the updated Hermes and Nike straps from the official online storefront and the Apple Store mobile app.
For folks purchasing the Apple Watch Series 8, Apple is bundling a three-month subscription of the Apple Fitness+ service as a freebie. As a standalone purchase, the health-centric subscription package starts at $10 per month or $80 for the annual plan.
BestBuy is also selling the new Apple Watch Series 8. As a neat little surprise, Best Buy is doling out four months of free Apple Fitness+ and Apple News+ subscriptions for purchasers.
Apple is staying loyal to the Series 7’s design once again, offering slim bezels married to a curvy metallic case. The ingress protection rating is again IP6X, with Apple capping things at 50 meters of depth immersion in freshwater. The watch is fit only for shallow water activities, and unlike the Ultra variant, it shouldn’t be taken for high-velocity, high-pressure tasks like scuba diving or water jet skiing.
The Apple Watch Series 8 comes in two sizes — 41mm and 45mm — and will let you pick between aluminum and stainless steel case options. Color options on the table are midnight, starlight, gold, graphite, silver, and (PRODUCT)RED.
The band styling options include the well-received Solo Loop and its braided version, the classic silicone sports band, the perforated Nike sports band, Sport Loop and its Nike avatar, nylon, leather, and stainless steel.
For folks with a more luxurious aesthetic inclination, the new Hermes straps come in Gourmette Double Tour (metal and leather versions), H Diagonal Single Tour, and Attelage Double Tour flavors, each with its own distinct set of colors.
Not much has changed internally, save for a new processor and updated sensors. The 41mm Apple Watch Series 8 features an always-on LTPO Retina OLED display with a resolution of 352 x 430 pixels, while the 45mm model bumps up those numbers to 396 x 484 pixels.
On the aluminum model, the screen is protected by the Ion-X front glass, while the more premium stainless steel trim goes with the sturdier sapphire crystal material. The screen can reach a peak brightness of 1,000 nits, while the storage capacity is 32GB, which is the same as the Apple Watch Series 7.
Under the hood is the new dual-core S8 system-in-chip, which is said to be 20% faster than the S7 chip inside the previous-generation models. The connectivity suite includes LTE, Wi-fi 802.11 b/g/n, and Bluetooth v5.0 for wireless pairing with other supported gadgets.
Not much has changed in the charging department, either. The battery is touted to last 18 hours on a single charge, which is identical to that of the Apple Watch Series 7. The sensing array includes a blood oxygen sensor for SpO2 level measurement, an electric heart sensor for taking electrocardiogram (ECG) measurements, a third-generation optical heart rate sensor for pulse tracking, an ambient light sensor, an updated high-G accelerometer, and a gyroscope.
The standout Apple Watch Series 8 perk is temperature sensing. It comes to life courtesy of two temperature sensors – one at the back of the watch in contact with the wrist and the second one right beneath the screen – responsible for measuring the temperature fluctuations while the user is sleeping.
But do keep in mind that these temperature sensors don’t act like a thermometer. They can’t furnish heat readings in degrees, nor do they tell users about fever symptoms. Instead, the focus of these new sensors is to use the sleeping body heat variations for more accurate menstrual cycle predictions and related analyses.
The sensor, which is capable of measuring heat level changes as small as 0.1 degree Celcius, takes temperature readings every five seconds while users are sleeping. The temperature data logged in the Health app will let users study the effect of activities like exercise and air travel on their median sleep temperature levels.
More importantly, this data can be used for a more accurate estimation of the ovulation cycle, which is of critical importance for family planning. Plus, it can also fine-tune period predictions by telling users if there are chances of any unexpected cycle deviations. Irregularities in period cycles are an indicator of issues like PCOS, and that’s where the temperature-sensing data will be used in conjunction with the period tracking algorithms to help the target audience.
Another notable trick arriving with the Apple Watch Series 8 is car crash detection. As the name makes it abundantly clear, this feature comes in handy for life-threatening scenarios like head-on collisions, rear-end crashes, side-impact crashes, or a vehicle rolling over. Once the watch detects any of the aforementioned mishaps, it tries to check if the user is safe. In case there’s no response from the injured user’s end for 10 seconds, the appropriate emergency service hotline is dialed instantly for help.
The watch also relays the location information to the emergency responder or emergency contacts on speed dial. Apple says it is using the most advanced kind of accelerometer, which works in tandem with the gyroscope as well as the mic, barometer, and GPS on the connected iPhone, to detect instances of a serious car accident. Apple says the feature has been lab-tested on a wide range of vehicle types.
Finally, the Apple Watch Series 8 also introduces a low-power mode that will allow the watch to last up to 36 hours, double that of its usual battery life. Once enabled, it turns off some of the onboard sensors and also curtails features like the always-on display, automatic exercise detection, and heart-related notifications, among others.
The Apple Watch Series 8 will hit the shelves running WatchOS 9, and it will also be rolling out for other compatible smartwatches starting September 12. However, some of the newer features will be restricted to connected iPhones running iOS 16 or a later build.
WatchOS 9 brings a bunch of neat features to the table. To begin, rotating the digital crown will let users quickly access the activity metrics with colorful rings, heart rate zones, and more. For running fans, there’s a new running power system that tells users the amount of effort they are channeling in real time.
Triathletes will be glad to know that the Apple Watch can now automatically switch between cycling, swimming, and running modes. The latest OS upgrade also brings a more detailed workout summary. Another extremely promising addition is the new medications system that will let users log their medicine routine in the new Medications app, get reminders, and keep track of the course prescribed by their doctor.
WatchOS 9 also pays attention to the sleep stage tracking system, which not only breaks down the various sleep quality phases (REM, core, deep, and awake) but also compiles a whole chart with concurrent heart rate and respiratory data in tow. Another critically important addition is AFib, which lets users maintain a log of irregular heart rhythms if they have already been diagnosed with the aforementioned cardiac condition.
New watch faces are also here, notifications will be less distracting, and a supercharged calendar app experience is also included in WatchOS 9. The new WatchOS 9 is now available for the Apple Watch SE, Apple Watch Ultra, and all the models launched after the Apple Watch Series 4.