Apple Watch Series 5 is official: Always-On screen, Compass, $400 starting price

Apple Watch Series 5 is official: Always-On screen, Compass, $400 starting price
The new Apple Watch Series 5 is here and it comes with an always on display while maintaining the same all-day, 18-hour battery life.

This is possible thanks to a brand new type of super efficient display that can change its refresh rate, and the watch also comes with a quite a few other new features including a built-in compass.

Here is everything new about the Apple Watch Series 5:

Always-on thanks to new screen technology



The Series 5 comes with a brand new low temperature poly-silicon and oxide display (LTPO) display and it has a super power: it can refresh as a normal screen, or it can refresh extremely slooowly, so it's a perfect fit for an always-on screen. How does it do it? It can switch from a typical screen refresh rate (60 hertz, or 60 time a second) all the way down to refreshing just once a second (1Hz). Naturally, this means that it is much more power efficient than before, so much so that even with an always-on display mode the Series 5 maintains the same all-day, 18-hour battery life as the Series 4.

This new experience comes mainly from the screen, but technically, it is a a combination of factors: the new display technology, a new low-power driver, a new circuit, a new light ambient sensor and more. It's beautifully complicated.


An interesting detail is that the always-on mode comes with a custom, dimmed version of watchfaces and workout screens, and then you can bring the full-color versions of those watchfaces with a tap on the watch or by raising your wrist.

A built-in compass



The Series 5 now also comes with a built-in compass, so you can use the Maps app on the watch just like you would on an iPhone, seeing which way you are headed.

The technical explanation is that the watch features a built-in magnetometer that detects magnetic north which it then automatically adjusts to show true north, in order to show you which way you're facing in the Maps app.

There is a new Compass app as well, where you can see Altitude, Longitude, Elevation and Incline, more than you could ever see on the watch.

Safety features



Previously, Apple had added fall detection, emergency SOS, and medical ID, all incredibly useful safety features.

Now, every Series 5 cellular model comes with emergency calling that works all across the world. Just press and hold the side button to start an emergency call, even when you don't have your iPhone around. This should bring some more peace of mind when you travel internationally.

You should also know that the new watch has cases that are now made from 100% recycled aluminum, great for the environment.

Apple Watch Edition is back: it now comes in titanium or ceramic




The Series 5 comes with quite a few new colors and finishes, plus the Edition version refers to a brand new version of the watch made out of titanium as well as a re-imagined ceramic body.

Here are all the new finishes:

  • Aluminum cases are available in space gray, silver and gold
  • Stainless steel now come in gold and space black, plus the natural steel color
  • New models for the first time with a case made of titanium. Apple ensures that titanium maintains its color thanks to a special finish, and you have a titanium or space black titanium colors
  • New brushed space black with diamond like finish
  • Ceramic comes in a brilliant white color
  • New Apple Watch Nike models, new bands, sportloops
  • New Hermes models with color block bands, Hermes models in black, space black cases

Price and Release Date



The Apple Watch Series 5 replaces the Series 4 (meaning that the Series 4 will no longer be sold).

The prices for the Series 5 are the following:

  • starting from $399 for GPS models (aluminum case)
  • from $499 for GPS+cellular (aluminum case)
  • stainless steel models start from $700
  • Edition titanium starts at $800
  • Edition ceramic starts at $1300

Finally, the Series 5 is available to order today and will arrive in stores starting Friday, September 20th.

Apple is also keeping Series 3, but dropping its price so it now starts at the quite affordable $199.

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23 Comments

1. Mrmark

Posts: 399; Member since: Jan 26, 2013

Wow they finally catch up to Android Wear always on and make you believe it new pizza .

3. whatev

Posts: 2316; Member since: Oct 28, 2015

Lmao, android wear has a lot to catch up, wyd, if I were you I’d delete this comment

7. maherk

Posts: 6928; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Android wear? Like honestly man? I'm not fan of the Apple Watch, but Watch OS is lightyears ahead of Wear OS.

12. darkkjedii

Posts: 31273; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Android wear LMAOOOO! C'mon dude.

13. ssallen

Posts: 200; Member since: Oct 06, 2017

Haha, love watching all the Apple fanboy butthurt over this.

15. maherk

Posts: 6928; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Only an Android fanboy would defend Android Wear. I have two Huawei Watch 1s, and for the past year or so, both of them can't connect to my phone's data while connected to Bluetooth. Go check Android Wear's subreddit, and check how many people have the same issue as myself, and how Google has failed to fix it and fix the tens of bugs that has been hitting Android wear watches. The fact that Android Wear is still buggy on the latest watches that has ONE GB of ram, says a lot about the state of this OS. Not to mention how the 3 major Android OEMs in Samsung, Huawei, and Xiaomi, have all turned their back on this power hungry and inefficient OS.

21. shonasof

Posts: 31; Member since: Mar 18, 2019

i just think that people are treating these things like sports teams. buy the one that fits your needs. The others don't matter.

2. Cat97

Posts: 1921; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

Well...Garmin Vivoactive 4 has 8 days of battery life with always-on display, and the Fenix has 14 days of battery life, while having more sensors including an oxygen saturation sensor in addition to the cardio sensor.

23. Victor.H

Posts: 1076; Member since: May 27, 2011

A correct comparison would be against the Garmin Venu which barely has more battery life with an always on option. Either way, the Garmins will be out in a couple of months, so it's still early to say much about them.

4. apple-rulz

Posts: 2178; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

About time! This makes the Series 5 a must buy.

6. Xavier1415

Posts: 207; Member since: Feb 26, 2012

Yay welcome to 2015!

8. Valdomero

Posts: 697; Member since: Nov 13, 2012

What about sleep tracking?

18. Victor.H

Posts: 1076; Member since: May 27, 2011

No sleep tracking yet.

9. cmdacos

Posts: 4253; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Emergency calling. The aggravation of every 911 operator that gets false calls from watches is now draining resources all over the world. Well done.

10. JCASS889

Posts: 554; Member since: May 18, 2018

Still see no purpose to the watch or any smart watch, besides the heart stuff my phone does it all, it's like paying 500$ to have my phone mirrored to another display.

19. Deadeye37

Posts: 305; Member since: Jan 25, 2011

To each his own. I like watches & I like the convenience. I like that I can change my watch face however much I want (instead of owning several watches, which I did at one point). The best part is seeing notifications and doing basic things like track workouts, control music, do quick searches using Google Assistant without having to bring out my phone. Its very convenient and I don't dink around on my phone as much because of it.

11. darkkjedii

Posts: 31273; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

The Series 5 is a definite pass, but Watch OS 6 is nice.

14. wickedwilly

Posts: 723; Member since: Sep 19, 2018

Will stick with my S3, been using AOD for years, it should have been standard from launch on the Apple Watch. Battery life will still be way behind the competition and no sleep monitoring, no thank you.

16. shiv179

Posts: 175; Member since: Aug 08, 2012

"and it comes with an always on display while maintaining the same all-day, 18-hour battery life." LOL my Galaxy Watch with AOD lasts longer

17. Deadeye37

Posts: 305; Member since: Jan 25, 2011

I'm not going to lie, I really am jealous of all the care that Apple has taken to make their watch. If only Google could work more on fine tuning Wear OS to be better & get a watchmaker that can put in all the cool features.... The one thing I will say that I love about Wear OS over the Apple Watch is being able to get 3rd party watch faces & make your own. I wonder if Apple will ever open their walled garden a little bit more to allow that. On the flip side, I did just buy a Fossil Gen 5 (Also own a Huawei Watch 2 & Moto 360). The new hardware makes Wear OS behave like it should. Super smooth & it works great for everything I want it to. Best part is that I got the stainless steel for only $300. I can't believe Apple sells stainless steel versions starting at $700!

22. Sotikon

Posts: 27; Member since: Aug 23, 2017

An “Always ON screen” and “Compass” would make lovely PROS for a piece that came to the party late. Wouldn’t it Victor? I can feel your excitement too. Have fun.

24. JJ1337

Posts: 11; Member since: Aug 28, 2018

18h battery life.... lmao

25. alligator

Posts: 103; Member since: Jan 09, 2016

I have a Galaxy Watch but a lot of people around me are having Apple Watch and they say it is better. I cannot say that, as I haven't tested both to confirm that but I can say just one serious negative for AW - "All day battery". Do they know that the competition has 1 or 2 weeks battery?? My Galaxy Watch can easily reach a week without recharging. I can go on work at 7% and I can come back home 8-9 hours later still with some juice in the watch even without using low power mode. That's what is missing for the AW - I don't want to recharge my watch every single day.

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