So we got to the Apple Watch Series 8 this year, the most minor update of any Apple Watch ever… Well, the only changes were the temperature sensor, which cannot measure your actual temperature or detect when you have a fever. It only detects variations from the baseline. And then we also had car crash detection, but this was it. It had the same chip, the same design, the same display, the same bands, the same everything. So the question is, will the Series 9 be a big change?
Well, potentially. So here are 4 things to expect!
The first thing to expect is the S9 chip. And this is actually a very big deal. And that’s because the S8, S7 and S6. The chips inside the Apple Watch series 8, 7 and 6, they were actually the same chip, just with a different name.
And it made sense performance wise. The S6 was very fluid. I haven’t had any lag whatsoever, so there wasn’t really any reason for Apple to upgrade the chip to a more powerful one. So then why are we even getting the S9?
Well, the main reason is power efficient. The S8, 7 and 6 chips were based on a 7 nanometer process. And fun fact, the S5 and the S4 chips were also based on the same 7 nanometer process.
If you take a look at the iPhones, the A16 chip is based on a 5 nanometer process. Same goes for the M2 chip inside the MacBooks. And in 2023, we’re expecting to see a switch to 3 nm, which means that the S9 chip will be based either on a 5 nanometer or even a 3 nanometer manufacturing process, which means that we’re going to see significant improvements to power consumption.
Now, performance gains are possible, but I don’t think that these are needed. So I do believe that Apple will focus solely on power consumption with the S9 chip. And that is why the second thing to expect is an improved battery life.
Improved battery life
Right now we can get up to 18 hours and 36 hours in low power mode on the series of 8. But a fun fact, 18 hours has been the claim ever since the original Apple Watch, although they have made some improvements over the years, for sure.
For example, my series 7 can last me for a day and a half, and that is with sleep tracking. So that seems pretty good, right? Well, kind of, for an Apple Watch, but it is still far from the competition.
The Galaxy Watch 5 can last up to 50 hours. And if you take a look at the Garmin options, even though they are for a different purpose, they can last for seven days, or 30 days, or even unlimited with sleep dollar charging.
The Apple Watch Ultra does last for longer, double actually. 36 hours by default, and then 60 hours with low power mode. But that disables a lot of features. The Galaxy Watch 5’s 50 hours by default has no low power mode involved.
So with a new S9 chip, I wouldn’t really expect any massive gains. I would say probably 4 hours at most. So 22 hours instead of 18. I still think this is a great improvement, but yeah, Apple will need to also bump the battery size in order to compete with what the other manufacturers are being able to offer.
And since we’re not expecting any redesign with a Series 9, it’s unlikely that the battery size will increase by any substantial amount.
So since the design has not changed, like I said, Apple is expected to have a key selling feature of the Apple Watch, which is what they’ve done in the past.
The Series 4 had a new design, the Series 5 had the same design, but not Always on Display. And the Series 6 had the same design, but with an oxygen level meter. The Series 7 had a new design, and then the Series 8 had the same design, but with a temperature sensor.
So the Series 9 will have the same design, but with a new major feature. And yeah, you’re probably wondering, what could this feature be? Well, I would think that most likely this will be a new health sensor.
What sort of health sensor, you might ask? Well, we know that Apple is currently working on two health sensors: a glucose monitoring sensor and a blood pressure sensor. In terms of the glucose monitoring sensor, Digitimes reported that Apple suppliers have already started working on short wavelength infrared sensors that could be used just for this.
And this was, fun fact, rumored for the Series 8. So it was really close to completion, but we never actually saw it in the end. Blood pressure has also been rumored, but this is a bit more difficult to do.
Although Samsung can already do this on the Galaxy Watch 4 and 5, it’s just that it needs calibrating with an actual blood pressure meter first. So between these two, I would guess that it would likely be the glucose monitoring sensor, especially since we know that it was very close to completion.
But if we don’t see it, then we could actually see something entirely new, something such as a BMI sensor. And that’s because some smartwatches already have this, including Samsung. And it is very accurate, and it also gives you a lot of data.
You can see your body fat. The percentage of water in your body, the percentage of muscle, your bone density and so much more. And that’s why I think that this is the perfect sensor to add because it gives you more than just one metric and of course it is doable today.
So I really hope that Apple adds also. Apple actually has a couple of patterns on smart Apple Watch bands, including one, which allows you to measure your ECG through the band alone. And a fun fact, this already exists today day with the Aura Strap.
This trap has a built in battery and also readers inside the band itself that can measure your BMI. So there you go. With the Aura band, you can already measure your BMI on an Apple Watch and it connects to the Apple Watch by Bluetooth and it does actually work quite well.
There have also been a lot of talks of Apple potentially adding a Smart connector to the Apple Watch to allow for smart bands to connect. In fact, an Apple Watch Series 3 prototype did actually have a Smart connector which could have enabled blood pressure monitoring quite easily.
And having a Smart connector would allow for thinner bands without the need to actually charge them like you have to with the Aura straps. The only downside of the Smart band is that you will need to have a specialized band for each metric that you want to measure, which would be a major downgrade from the Apple Watch currently, which offers everything built in no matter which band you wear.
But I would definitely love to hear your thoughts on this. Would you prefer a smarter band but with a sooner release or that built in sensor but with a later release?
And the fourth thing to expect are just some new color options. So since we’re not getting a new design, Apple will very likely update the colors. The Series 8, for example, removed the blue and green colors, so I would guess that one of those would actually be coming back with a Series 9.
Or we could also will see an entirely new color. But I would say that the best part about the Series 9 release is that we would see some very low prices on the Series 8 and the Series 7. Even more so on the Series 7.
And since it’s basically the same as the Series 8 without the temperature sensor, I think it’s going to be an awesome offer in 2023!