Apple Watch Series 9 release date, price, specs, and must-know features
The Apple Watch Series 9 is Apple's current premium smartwatch that got its official unveiling on September 12, 2023, alongside the new and hot iPhone 15 series. In this article, we have everything you need to know about the new timepiece.
Mainly, this year the Apple Watch 9 is a relatively minor update with a jump in performance thanks to the new S9 processor, which is based on the A15. The device is also getting faster on-device Siri, a brighter display, and a new gesture called Double Tap (now available with the latest WatchOS update).
By the way, if you want to check out how the Series 9 performs in real life, be sure to take a look at our detailed Apple Watch Series 9 review.
UPDATE: The Apple Watch Series 9 is currently not being sold in Apple stores across the US alongside the Apple Watch Series 9 as a part of a sales ban imposed by the US International Trade Commission. Apple has seemingly infringed on patents for pulse oximetry held by Masimo. However, you can still purchase the wearable from third-party retailers.
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Latest Apple Watch Series 9 news:
The Apple Watch Series 9 was announced on September 12, 2023. General availability in stores started on September 22, 2023.
The Apple Watch Series 9 costs just as much as its predecessor, so no changes on this front.
The Series 9 starts at $399, just like previous premium Apple Watches. Of course, the price goes up if you decide you want a Cellular Apple Watch. The price also depends on the size of the watch.
We don't have big surprises in the design department as well. The Apple Watch Series 9 follows the same path in terms of design as previous Apple Watches and sports a recognizable rectangular look with two case sizes: 41mm and 45mm.
You are able to choose between aluminum and stainless steel for the case material, which is pretty standard.
One difference this year is that the Apple Watch Series 9 is available in pink alongside it's standard color options, to match the iPhone 15 colors available this year. Apart from that, you get Starlight, Midnight, Silver, and Product (RED).
The digital crown and the buttons remain unchanged as well.
New watch bands are introduced with the Series 9
Apple has been aiming to be more environment friendly in recent times, and now the company is taking it up a notch. With the Series 9, you get new watch bands that are environment friendly, and Apple is getting rid of the leather bands. For one, the Series 9, coupled with a new Sport Loop, is Apple's first completely carbon neutral product.
Additionally, the Nike and Hermès collaborations also have new environment friendly products.
These are the Nike bands that are now environmentally friendly
Apple has introduced the new FineWoven material, which is made of 68% post-consumer recycled content, and it will be taking the place of leather bands. It is available with the Magnetic Link and Modern Buckle bands, and the leather bands will no longer be sold.
Apple's new FineWoven bands. The picture shows the FineWoven band with the Magnetic Link
The Apple Watch Series 7 in 2021 was a huge step in the right direction for Apple and wearables' displays. The bezels got noticeably thinner and the display got bigger when compared to the Series 6. The Series 8 on the other hand kept almost exactly the same display – it differed from the previous models just by the Watch faces, pretty much. The Series 8's Always-On Retina display features a dust and crack resistant screen, and it gets comfortably bright outside.
The Apple Watch Series 9 display has gotten some upgrade love from Apple. It can now get up to 2,000 nits of peak brightness, which is double what the Series 8 had. Apart from that, the display is the same as its predecessor.
Battery on Apple Watches is something Apple really needs to think about. It's true that we got bigger battery life on the Apple Watch Ultra and the new Ultra 2, but not everyone wants that big of a smartwatch to wear all-day (and night) long. So far, Apple Watch battery life has remained more or less the same. And the same is happening this year with the Series 9 as well.
The Series 9 sports up to 18 hours of battery life and a new Low Power Mode which can help the watch last up to 36 hours.
As for charging, according to official documentation from Apple, the Series 8 can charge from 0 percent to 80 percent in about 45 minutes (with Apple USB-C Magnetic Fast Charging Cable and a fast charging brick). The same is true for the Series 9, and it's pretty decent in our opinion.
Features and software
Before we get to talk about the features, let's first address quickly the new chip that the Series 9 has under the hood. It's the S9, based on A15, like we mentioned in the beginning of this article. The chip has 60% more transistors than the one in S8, which makes it way more faster and capable. On top of that, it's got a new four-core Neural Engine that processes machine learning tasks up to there times faster.
And thanks to that new Neural Engine, you get the very cool feature that was highlighted during the event: the new Double Tap gesture. Now, you can tap twice your thumb and index finger together to control key features of the timepiece.
You can use the new gesture to answer a call, end a call, control the primary button in apps (like to play or pause music, stop a timer, snooze an alarm).
You also get a new second generation Ultra Wideband, which means you can use your Apple Watch Series 9 to track and find your iPhone more precisely now. Thanks to this, you get precision finding (directing you towards your iPhone using the Apple Watch) and HomePod integration (meaning you can control the music that's playing from the Now Playing screen on the Series 9).
You can also now use On-Device Siri with Ability to Access and log heath data. On-device processing will now be faster and more secure. For example, you'll be able to ask Siri to tell you how many hours you slept last night, or for the progress on closing your Activity ring. The ability to ask Siri about your health data is coming 'later this year', according to Apple.
Apple Watches are quite popular with their health-related features, and the Series 9 continues on the tradition as well. The regular features we see on premium Apple Watches are present for the Series 9 as well. Those are Blood Oxygen monitoring, Sleep monitoring, Emergency SOS, heart rate monitoring and Crash Detection.
The body temperature monitoring on the Series 8 (for women's health) has also made it to the Series 9.
Of course, there are also be plenty of workouts available with the Series 9, just like any other premium Apple Watch.
watchOS 10 will power the Apple Watch Series 9
Earlier this year, Apple's announced watchOS 10, the OS that the Series 9 comes with out of the box. The updated OS brings some very useful features to the timepiece. First of all, you get a display overhaul which will allow you to access widgets from the watch face. You also get Smart Stack with watchOS 10.
But that's not all! Apple has redesigned some of the essential apps with watchOS 10. Weather, Stocks, Home, Maps, Messages, World Clock, and other stock apps will look different once watchOS 10 arrives..
Activities are also getting some very notable improvements. With watchOS 10, Apple Watch devices will be scoring advanced new metrics and data views for cyclists. For example, starting a cycling activity on your Apple Watch will automatically show up as a Live Activity on your iPhone. Once tapped, this activity to a big view that will show you your current speed, the distance, your average speed, heart rate, and more useful info.
And last but not least, the update will bring two new watchfaces - Palette and Snoopy & Woodstock.