The Apple Watch has been a huge success for the company, pretty much tying up the wearables sector at the first attempt. With 2023 underway, we’re looking forward to seeing what Apple will do with the next generation of its digital timepiece. So, here’s all the news, rumors we’ve discovered so far about the Apple Watch Series 9 as well as our expectations for the new device.
Apple Watch Series 9: Release date
Apple has a release schedule for its Watches that, if you’ll pardon the pun, runs like clockwork. For years now, its latest iterations have made their debut in the second or third week of September, usually alongside the new iPhones, with on-sale dates about a week and a half later:
Apple Watch Series 8: September 7, 2022
Apple Watch Series 7: September 14, 2021
Apple Watch Series 6: September 15, 2020
Apple Watch Series 5: September 10, 2019
Apple Watch Series 4: September 12, 2018
Apple Watch Series 3: September 12, 2017
It seems highly unlikely that Apple will change the cadence this year, so we expect the Apple Watch Series 9 to launch in September 2023, likely on September 6 or 12.
Apple Watch Series 9: Price
Again, Apple has been remarkably consistent with its pricing strategy for the Apple Watch for U.S. buyers. However, 2022 saw European countries take the brunt of several price increases. As such, the U.K. saw the baseline model rise by £50:
One thing we know for sure about the Apple Watch Series 9 is that it will ship with watchOS 10. Like always, you can expect a few new watch faces—possibly a couple that are exclusive to the new model—and a new feature or two. However, this year’s update could be more substantial than usual. A report by Mark Gurman in April claimed that watchOS 10 “will be the focus” of Apple’s 2023 watch strategy, bringing “bigger enhancements, including an updated interface.” He added that watchOS 10 “will tell you most of what you need to know about the Apple Watch in 2023,” meaning the hardware upgrades will be minor compared to the Series 8.
Apple Watch Series 9: Rumored new features
The Apple Watch Series 9 isn’t expected to be a major upgrade over the last year’s models, which featured the introduction of the Apple Watch Ultra with a larger screen, rugged titanium design, and an Action button. According to a tweet from Mark Gurman, the Apple Watch Series 9 upgrades will be “anything but major,” with the new model “poised for a more modest year.” He adds that Apple is planning “a major update to the watch hardware in 2024, complete with a larger, custom-built display.
Apple Watch Series 9: Possible new features
Even without major changes, there are still several possible new features that would make the Apple Watch Series 9 a worthy upgrade.
Last year Apple introduced the all-new Apple Watch Ultra with a dizzying array of features and components. The newest member of the Apple Watch family featured a more rugged design, flat edges, and a slightly larger display (49mm vs 45mm on the Apple Watch Series 8), along with a surprising new feature: the Action button.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
The Action button is located on the opposite side of the Digital Crown and would easily fit on the Apple WAtch Series 9. On the Ultra you can set it to trigger specific tasks such as a stopwatch, workout, or flashlight, functionality that would be an excellent upgrade to the existing Apple Watch design.
If you look at the tech specs for every new Apple Watch, you’ll see a new chip listed. The Series 8 has an S8 chip, the Series 7 has an S7, and the Series 6 has an S6. The only thing that’s weird is that they’re all the same chip with different names. While the S6 delivered a 20 percent boost in performance over the Series 5, the S7 and S8 are rebranded versions of the same processor according to teardowns and Apple’s conspicuous commission of any sort of performance improvements. But the S9 is rumored to change that, with a design based on the A15 that brings a boost in performance and battery life, and maybe a Neural Engine built into the chip.
Like the iPhone 14 Pro, the Apple Watch Ultra upgraded its GPS to include the L5 band in addition to the standard L1 for faster and more precise location tracking. Even if you’re not hiking in steep terrain, the extra band would be handy in busy city areas where the standard Watch can struggle. Apple has a habit of introducing new features on high-end models and then trickling them down to the lower-end models, and we think that very well could happen here.
Thus far, Apple Watches are one of the few remaining Apple devices that hasn’t been updated to 5G—even the high-end Apple Watch Ultra has 4G LTE. With the Apple Watch moving closer toward complete independence, having the fastest connection available seems like a good idea. We’re sure there are no doubt a few problems to overcome, but Apple tends to be good at that.
Apple has been working for years on a non-invasive way to monitor glucose levels without needing extra equipment. A recent report claims that a secret team within Apple has reached several “major milestones” in the project, and the feature is now considered to be at a “proof of concept” stage. However, it’s unlikely that it will appear in this year’s watch and could still be several years away.
Other possible sensors for inclusion could be an electrodermal activity (EDA) sensor for measuring stress levels and a bioimpedance sensor for measuring body composition.
There have been plenty of rumors about Apple potentially using MicroLED displays on various devices over the past few years, but the strongest are targeting the Apple Watch as the first device to make the switch. After all, the Apple Watch was the first device to have an OLED screen—years before the iPhone—so it’s likely that Apple will debut its MicroLED screen on the Apple Watch too. The advantages would well make it worthwhile, as MicroLED is thinner, brighter, higher-res, and more efficient than even OLED. The most recent rumors say the first microLED watches won’t arrive until 2024, but we’re holding out hope for an earlier appearance.
Apple Watch Series 9: watchOS 10
While we don’t know much about the next release of watchOS, which will be version 10 assuming Apple sticks to the same numbering system, but we do know we’ll get our first look at it during WWDC 2023. You can expect to see some new health and fitness features as well as a handful of new watch faces.
We’ll keep updating this article as more information becomes available, so be sure to check back regularly. In the meantime, if you can’t wait until September, here’s our roundup of the best Apple Watch deals currently around.
Martyn has been involved with tech ever since the arrival of his ZX Spectrum back in the early 80s. He covers iOS, Android, Windows and macOS, writing tutorials, buying guides and reviews for Macworld and its sister site Tech Advisor.