Over the years, the Apple Watch has seen only modest improvements when comparing year to year, making it critical to evaluate the wisdom of an upgrade versus sticking with an older model. The latest release, the Series 9, debuts the S9 chip, offering a performance boost for the first time in four years and supporting features like Double Tap. Priced from $399, it follows the Series 8, which added body temperature monitoring and Crash Detection. Before that, the last notable update was the 2021 Series 7, featuring larger screens and quicker charging capabilities.
We break down each generation's new features and improvements to help you assess the cumulative benefits of skipping over various models when making a purchase. While the Series 9 doesn't represent a significant leap over the Series 7 and 8, it does offer compelling advantages for those with Series 6 or older models. Budget-conscious buyers might consider discounted Series 7 or 8 models as well.
Apple Watch Series 9 (2023)
- Retina display with up to 2,000 nits of brightness
- Display can get dimmer in dark rooms and at night (down to 1 nit of brightness)
- Double Tap gesture
- S9 chip (based on A15 Bionic)
- 4-core Neural Engine (x2 faster than Series 8)
- Siri processed on-device for requests that do not need information from the internet
- Siri can access health and fitness data
- 25% more accurate dictation
- Second-generation Ultra Wideband chip
- Precision Finding for iPhone 15 models
- HomePod proximity integration
- 64GB storage
- Pink aluminum casing introduced
Apple Watch Series 8 (2022)
Mark Gurman of Bloomberg suggests that Apple is contemplating less frequent, but more impactful, updates for the Apple Watch. Rumors for next year's Series X predict a major overhaul to celebrate the device's 10th anniversary, including slimmer designs, enhanced displays, microLED technology, improved batteries, blood pressure tracking, and a novel band-attachment mechanism.