Apple Watch Series 8: Everything we know so far

Apple Watch Series 8: Everything we know so far

Alongside a revamped iPhone 14 series, Apple is expected to upgrade the Apple Watch later this year. Unlike last year, competition from Google’s Wear OS is intensifying. It’ll be competing with the Pixel Watch and Galaxy Watch 5 when it breaks cover, and a slew of WearOS 3 watches are finally expected to start trickling out. It’ll be tricky, but the wearables market remains Apple’s to lose.

In the lead-up to this year’s Apple big fall event, rumors have swirled about the company’s hardware lineup. The Apple Watch Series 8 has gotten the short shrift on this, at least compared to the iPhone, but here’s everything we know so far from Apple and third-party sources alike.

Design

Alleged renders of the Apple Watch Series 7

With the Apple Watch Series 7, rumors spread that Apple would be working on a squared-off design for the Apple Watch. Obviously, with the launch of the Apple Watch Series 7that didn’t pan out. Still, there may have been some truth to the rumor. A new but growing-in-prominence leaker, ShrimpApplePro, shared a report that Apple would be including a flat display for the Series 8. With the iPhone having flat edges and the MacBook Air and Pro recently joining them, it’s possible the company will bring a similar look to the Watch as well.

Heard from source today that there is a flat front glass display for apple watch display. High chance that this is the front glass for the Apple Watch Series 8.
Haven’t heard any on how’s the redesign housing nor which model yet.
illustration image only not real. https://t.co/uC6i22Q0aZ pic.twitter.com/DmWh8FOZGE

— ShrimpApplePro 🍤 (@VNchocoTaco) May 16, 2022

Apple is also said to be introducing three sizes for the Apple Watch for the first time in a while. Apple currently has a 41mm and a 45mm Series 7 watch at 1.7 and 1.9 inches respectively. The Series 8 may bring a 47mm watch, with display analysts Ross Young and Jeff Wu both concurring that the aforementioned new size would have a 2-inch display.

Software

A variety of Apple Watches showing new Watch OS 9 features and screens.

At WWDC earlier this year, Apple announced WatchOS 9 which will power the Series 8.  The new update brings in more of the company’s ‘rich complications’ and adds additional watch faces including the Utility, Simple. and Activity Analog. New focus mode features will be added to the Watch, allowing you to tie certain watch faces to select focus modes. As with the iPhone, the Apple Watch will be getting a lot more personal this fall.

Fitness and health features will also see a boost with updates to the ECG functionality, a new Medications app, and updates to the Workout app.

“Users around the world love Apple Watch for helping them stay connected to those they love, be more active throughout the day, and better manage their health,” Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, said at the launch. “This fall, WatchOS 9 takes the Apple Watch experience to the next level with scientifically validated insights across fitness, sleep, and heart health, while providing users more creative ways to make their Apple Watch their own.”

Hardware and sensors

Apple Watch Pride Watch strap
Apple

Expect the Watch Series 8 to have a compass, GPS, a blood oxygen sensor, an electrocardiogram (ECG), a gyroscope, and additional similar functionality. There have been reports that Apple was testing a blood glucose sensor as well as one that would help with sensing temperature, but the glucose one seems to be unlikely for this year. While the temperature sensor was being saved for next year because it was not quite ready, a later report claims that Apple will bring it to the Series 8 this year. At the very least, it’s a lot more likely to make an appearance than it was earlier in the year.

As for power, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has said that the chip powering the Apple Watch Series 7 will be the same as the 8, cutting down hopes of a processor upgrade.

“For those hoping for a faster chip in this year’s Apple Watch, I’m told the S8 chip will have the same specifications as the S7, which was also the same as the S6. Next year’s models, however, are slated to get an all-new processor,” Gurman wrote.

Models

apple-watch-se-pocket
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Alongside the main Apple Watch Series 8, Gurman reports that Apple is also bringing a rugged Series 8 edition and a low-end Apple Watch SE refresh. The Apple Watch SE would be an update to the last SE, bringing the new S8 processor but little else as far as we know. We’d expect the Watch SE 2 to have a larger display and better sleep tracking, and an always-on display, but it’s up to Apple to fulfill those promises.

As for the rugged Series 8, that’s an Apple Watch that’s built for those who like extreme sports. There have been rugged smartwatches in the past from the likes of Samsung, but this would be the first time Apple would be jumping into that pool — so to speak.

Price and availability

Apple Watch Series 7 sitting on top of an iPhone 13 Pro.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Watch Series 8 is expected to cost the same as the Series 7. This means it’ll start at $399. As for availability, Apple typically launches its Watch alongside the iPhone in September, so that is when we expect to see this make a debut. It may actually be made available later as production allows, but we would expect an announcement in the fall in any case.

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