This story is part ofCNET’s collection of news, tips, and advice on Apple’s most popular products.
Apple announced Apple Watch Series 8 as long as the company on Wednesday. It the version starts at $399 (£419, AU$629), while the mobile version starts at $499. It will be available on September 16th with . Apple also announced a rude one which and a new, more affordable version starting from . this on the show September 7th.
The most significant change is the addition of a temperature sensor, marking the first time Apple has added a new health sensor to its smartwatch since the Series 6 came with blood oxygen saturation measurement in 2020. The new batch of Apple Watch, which includes the Series 8 as well as the new SE and Ultra models, also includes the former includes car crash detection, further underlining Apple’s emphasis on health and safety. The Apple Watch Ultra is the new outdoor version of the Apple Watch aimed at athletes, while the SE is a new version of Apple’s cheaper smartwatch.
Temperature sensing and car collision detection
The Apple Watch Series 8 temperature sensor is the biggest improvement on the watch this year. There are actually two sensors, one under the screen and another at the back, closer to the skin. This will increase accuracy by helping the watch distinguish your wrist temperature from other factors that affect the temperature in your environment. The watch measures your wrist temperature overnight every five seconds and tracks it in the Apple Health app.
Since it’s a passive read that happened overnight, I wasn’t able to try it in Apple’s demo room. But I can see how this information will be presented in the Health app. The app will display your base temperature change in a chart within the app, along with context about what the data means. The company says changes in your baseline temperature could be an indication of exercise, jet lag, or illness. There’s also a new wrist temperature tile in the overview section of the Health app where you can take advantage of this data.
Apple positions the temperature sensor as the most useful for tracking women’s health. The temperature sensor enables the Series 8 to provide retrospective ovulation forecasts and better period prediction.
The Apple Watch also got a new safety feature this year: car crash detection. If the watch detects a collision, it will notify emergency services and the wearer’s emergency contacts if the wearer does not respond for 10 seconds. It is only available on the Series 8, the new SE models and the Apple Watch Ultra as it uses an upgraded gyroscope and accelerometer.
Apple/Screenshot by Sarah Lord/CNET
Go straight to the source to pre-order your Apple Watch Series 8 and get three months of Apple Fitness Plus.
Low power mode
Another notable addition is the Apple Watch’s low-power mode, which Apple says will extend battery life to 36 hours for the Series 8. The new low-power mode turns off features like the always-on display and automatic workout detection to maintain functionality while extending battery life. Although Apple just announced the feature today, it will also be available for Series 4 and up. Otherwise, Apple Watch battery life is generally the same at 18 hours.
The overall design of the Apple Watch appears to be largely unchanged this year. The overall size and shape of the Series 8 remains the same, and will be available in Midnight, Starlight, Silver, and Product Red with an aluminum case. The stainless steel version, which I have to try as long as I use it, will come in silver, graphite, and gold.
Most of the most significant changes to the Apple Watch Series 8, such as temperature sensing and low power mode, are hidden changes rather than cosmetic upgrades. We’ll have to spend more time with the Series 8 to see how much impact this addition has on the overall experience. But based on what we know so far, the Series 8 appears to be another step towards the Apple Watch becoming a more comprehensive health device.
Apple leads global Counterpoint Research. Samsung followed in second place with 9.2% of worldwide smartwatch shipments during the same period. However, Apple faces increasing competition. Although Samsung lags far behind Apple in terms of shipments, it saw 40% year-over-year growth, compared to Apple’s 8% growth, according to Counterpoint data.market with 29.3% of shipments in the second quarter of 2022, according to
In August, Samsung launched galaxy watch 5 and . Meanwhile, Google is expected to release its first smartwatch, the , this fall. Google hasn’t revealed many details, but it appears to be positioning the Pixel Watch as a premium smartwatch similar to the Apple Watch.
althoughis Apple’s biggest moneymaker, products like the Apple Watch are an important part of the company’s business. The wearables, home and accessories division, which includes products such as the Apple Watch and AirPods, is the company’s third-largest business after iPhone and digital services. Apple says in in April that its wearables business is now the size of a Fortune 100 company.