The Apple Watch has proven to be a remarkable triumph for the company, effectively monopolizing the wearables market on its inaugural attempt. As we delve deeper into 2023, we're eager to discover Apple's plans for the forthcoming generation of its digital wristwatch. Therefore, here are all the updates and speculations we've gathered about the Apple Watch Series 9, along with our projections for the new gadget.
Will There Be a New Apple Ultra and Apple SE?
Two of the most prominent voices in Apple analysis - Mark Gurman from Bloomberg and analyst Ming-Chi Kuo - believe that the Apple Watch Series 9 won't be the only Apple product unveiled in the fall of 2023.
In a report from July 2023, Kuo mentioned the upcoming release of a new Apple Watch Ultra sometime in the latter half of this year. In contrast, Gurman noted in June that the second iteration of the Apple Watch Ultra is slated to debut later in 2023, concurrently with the new Watch Series 9. Gurman stated, "There will be two Apple Watch Series 9 models and a revamped version of the Ultra (the watches carry the codenames N207, N208, and N210)."
The Apple Watch SE is expected to see its next update not until 2024. Typically, the SE follows a biennial update pattern. The initial version was launched in 2020, followed by the second in 2022, thus leading to the projection of the third's arrival in 2024.
Once again, Apple has maintained remarkable consistency in its pricing strategy for the Apple Watch for customers in the U.S. However, 2022 witnessed several price hikes in European countries. Consequently, the cost of the baseline model in the U.K. increased by £50:
- Apple Watch Series 8 – $399/£419
- Apple Watch Series 7 – $399/£369
- Apple Watch Series 6 – $399/£379
- Apple Watch Series 5 – $399/£399
- Apple Watch Series 4 – $399/£399
Given the already implemented price surge in Europe, we anticipate the Series 9 to bear a similar price tag to the Apple Watch Series 8 it succeeds. Thus, it should be approximately $399/£419. The Apple Watch Ultra carries a cost of $799/£849, and we do not foresee this changing with the second generation.
While the design of the Apple Watch Series 9 is anticipated to remain unchanged, potential modifications could be seen in the Apple Watch Ultra's design, which are expected to trickle down to future Apple Watch models.
One such prospective change for the Apple Watch Ultra could be in its screen size. A report from DigiTimes in February suggested that the Ultra's display size might expand from 1.9 inches to 2.1 inches.
Moreover, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has speculated that an upcoming Apple Watch model will feature a larger screen, although this enhancement may not be introduced in 2023, but rather as part of the 2024 Watch (or later). In early April, Gurman reported that Apple is planning "a significant overhaul of the watch hardware in 2024, complete with a larger, custom-built display."
The New Chip
Upon examining the technical specifications for each new Apple Watch, you'll observe a new chip mentioned. The Series 8 houses an S8 chip, the Series 7 utilizes an S7, and the Series 6 carries an S6. The peculiar aspect is that despite their different labels, they all are essentially the same chip. The S6 presented a 20 percent performance enhancement over the Series 5, yet the S7 and S8 are just rebranded versions of the same processor as per teardowns and Apple's conspicuous omission of any performance improvements. However, the forthcoming S9 is rumored to alter this pattern, featuring a design based on the A15 that promises improvements in performance and battery longevity, and potentially incorporating a Neural Engine into the chip.
Dual Frequency GPS
Similar to the iPhone 14 Pro, the Apple Watch Ultra enhanced its GPS to incorporate the L5 band in addition to the standard L1, facilitating quicker and more accurate location tracking. Even if one is not navigating steep landscapes, the additional band proves useful in congested urban regions where the standard Watch may experience difficulties. Apple tends to debut new features on its premium models before gradually incorporating them into lower-end variants, and it's quite plausible that the same process might occur in this case.