At its “Far Out” special event today, Apple announced a refresh of the Apple Watch lineup. Series 8 sees improvements including a body temperature sensor, car crash detection, and longer battery life. However, the most significant watch announcement was the introduction of the Apple Watch Ultra.
One of the key additions to Series 8 is the inclusion of a body temperature sensor. Apple touts this as a significant innovation for women’s health since it allows them to better track their menstrual cycles and get retroactive estimates of ovulation. Women can also get notified of possible deviations in their menstrual cycles, which could indicate underlying health problems.
The new sensors track body temperature while sleeping, taking temperature readings once every five seconds. Health data is stored locally on the device, encrypted end-to-end, and requires two-factor authentication to access. (Apple says it cannot read or decrypt this data.)
Another big upgrade with Series 8 comes in the form of car crash detection. Apple Watch already featured fall detection, but the improved accelerometer, new motion sensors, and three-axis gyroscope allow the device to detect an extreme crash. It can also contact emergency services when you need help.
Battery life on the Apple Watch also got a nice increase. Apple announced that Series 8 would get 18 hours worth of power on a full charge. The company also introduced Low Power Mode to the Apple Watch. Low Power Mode will grant the device up to 36 hours of battery life when enabled. But, you’ll sacrifice some perks like the always-on display and workout detection. (Low Power Mode will be available on Apple Watch models from Series 4 onward with the watchOS 9 update.)
Apple also introduced Night mode for the Watch Ultra. With a button tap, your watch switches to a red color scheme and brightens up so you can better see the display in even the darkest conditions. According to Apple, the red color reduces eye fatigue and increases visibility.
Apple Watch Series 8 comes in a full range of colors and sizes. It’s available as a 41mm or 45mm case, is constructed of either aluminum or stainless steel, and colors include Starlight, Midnight, Silver, and Red.
watchOS 9 also sees the introduction of international roaming for the Apple Watch. Customers can now use their devices on up to 30 different carriers when traveling abroad. International roaming is available for Apple Watch Series 5 and up.
Orders for the Apple Watch Series 8 begin today, prices range from $399 to $749. Apple expects the product to ship on September 16th.
The most prominent watch announcement Apple made today was for the Apple Watch Ultimate. This new model is targeted at the most intense power users, athletes, and adventurers that travel into the most extreme weather conditions.
The Apple Watch Ultra comes in a gigantic 49mm titanium case. Its flat sapphire crystal display can use up to 2000 nits, which is twice as bright as any watch Apple has put out. The extreme sports watch can also.
The Action button is one of the most excellent new features in the Apple Watch Ultra. This customizable button allows you to program instant access to commonly used features like workouts and the compass.
Apple specifically aims this watch at people who venture into remote locations. These users will find the Backtrack and Waypoint features quite useful. They allow you to find your way back quickly if you ever get lost. And Apple also included a siren that can alert nearby teammates to their location if they fall and get injured.
The Apple Watch Ultra also features three improved microphones and enhanced speakers that allow you to take calls even extreme weather.
Apple Watch Ultra is meant for several types of extreme use. So, Apple also offers customized bands for specific uses. The Ocean Band is great for water sports like swimming, scuba diving, surfing, and more. The Trail Loop band is excellent for hikers, and the Alpine Loop band can accompany you to the highest peak.
For those pushing the limits of where an Apple Watch can go, the Ultra features dual-frequency GPS in both the L1 and L5 frequencies. And the new positioning algorithms offer improved accuracy for the most exact distance, pace, and route data. The Apple Watch Ultra also features improved water resistance. It has a rating of 100 meters under ISO standard 22810. Suba divers can expect their watches to function up to 40 meters deep. Apple claims the watch can survive in temperatures ranging from negative four degrees to 131 degrees Fahrenheit.
Apple also introduced Night mode for the Watch Ultra. With a button tap, your watch switches to a red-themed color scheme and brightens up so you can better see the display in even the darkest conditions. This mode should also reduce eyestrain, according to Apple.
Battery life on the Apple Watch Ultra is a stunningly long 36 hours. Plus, Apple promises an update before the end of the year that can extend battery life to up to a whopping 60 days. The Ultra is also highly weather resistant, enduring temperatures from -5 degrees to 131 degrees Fahrenheit.
All Apple Watch Ultra models cost $799, are available to order now, and will be shipped starting September 23.
Apple Watch SE sees some marginal improvements over the previous generation. The case design remains the same. However, the back case is constructed of a new nylon composite material, making it lighter and more comfortable to wear. The new SE comes in a 40mm and 4mm case and comes in Midnight, Starlight, and Silver finishes.
The SE also gets a 20 percent power upgrade with the inclusion of the S8 chipset. These chips include the same processor as the Apple Watch Ultra. And because it runs watchOS 9, it comes with many of the new features listed above for the standard edition and the Ultra.
Arguably the best thing about the SE compared to the other Apple Watches announced today is the price. You can order one today starting at just $249. Apple’s Family Setup plan is an excellent option for users to give their children an Apple Watch SE instead of a smartphone.