Apple is set to release its next wearable – likely called the Apple Watch 8 –later this year, but what will be new and different about it? Here’s what we know so far.
We were highly impressed by the Apple Watch Series 7, it is the best smartwatch overall in our wearables round-up thanks to its excellent screen, brilliant software, and an extensive list of fitness and smart features.
However, that’s not to say that it’s perfect; its battery life is still rather short, and it is very expensive. So can the Series 8 improve on its predecessor? Read on to find all we know about the sequel so far.
There’s not yet been any official word on when the Apple Watch Series 8 will arrive, but fortunately there’s a reliable launch pattern in place when it comes to previous generations of the wearable.
Therefore, we can predict with some confidence that it will arrive in early September, but we’ll keep our ear to the ground for more specific information. It will most likely be unveiled alongside the new iPhone 14 series.
Again, at this stage there’s been no official announcement regarding the price of the watch, and we’ve not yet come across any reliable leaks either.
The previous Apple Watch 7 starts from S$599, and we would expect the new version to have a similar starting price too.
The biggest question of all is, how different will this watch be when compared to previous editions? While the line has been regularly updated on an annual basis since its first introduction, this year there’s actually some rumours of a major redesign to the classic curved screen.
A Twitter tipster with the name ShrimpApplePro suggested that this time around the Apple Watch’s screen will not have rounded edges but will instead lie completely flat, just like the screen of the iPhone 13. This rumour was given more weight when it was publicly supported by Jon Prosser, a renowned leaker of Apple information.
Ross Young, the CEO of Display Supply Chain Consultants, also teased that there might be a third size option available for the Apple Watch Series 8. Whereas previous editions have been available with a case size of 41mm or 45mm, Young seemed t indicate that a bigger display may be added to the range in 2022.
Finally, there’s been word from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman that there may be a rugged version of the Apple Watch available in the new generation, which might appeal to trekkers and hikers who need a watch that can survive exposure to extreme elements.
Features and Specs
Information on new features coming to the watch is relatively thin on the ground at this stage, though we expect the rumour mill to start whirring into life over the coming months.
One of the first rumours that did the rounds was that of a skin temperature sensor, in a report published by the Wall Street Journal, which claimed that he technology could be implemented on the Apple Watch in 2022. However, later information now seems to point to 2023 as being the earliest date we might see this implemented.
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, a highly reliable source on Apple, gave the following assessment of new fitness sensors in his Power On newsletter:
Don’t expect any of these soon, though. Body temperature was on this year’s roadmap, but chatter about it has slowed down recently. Blood pressure is at least two to three years away, while I wouldn’t be surprised if glucose monitoring doesn’t land until later in the second half of the decade.
Nonetheless, whether they appear on the Apple Watch 8 or not, it is clear that there are some exciting and important features in the pipeline for the series of wearables. On top of the skin temperature sensor, these features would include sleep apnea detection and even car crash detection.
A software update in watch OS 9, the newest version of Apple’s wearable operating system, could also bring with it new features including low power mode (to save battery life) and atrial fibrillation detection, which would detect irregular heart rhythms that are potentially dangerous. These software updates would be expected to be announced at WWDC 2022, which takes place from 6-10 June, and the new features may be rolled out to several previous generations of the Apple Watch in addition to the newcomer.
With Google’s first smartwatch, the Pixel Watch, arriving this year, there will be plenty of eyes on what Apple does to continue its dominance in this area.
I can’t see Google’s attempt instantly offering a better experience than the Apple Watch, however I am sure Apple will want to show what it can do. The rumours of a redesign have popped up again and while I am not hugely sold on a flat design, a fresh look would be welcome after years of the same overall blueprint.
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