Apple made big moves with its smartwatches this year, but not for the Series 8.
With the new Apple Watch Ultra, which features a bigger, brighter display, 100m water resistance, a siren and longer battery life, the 8 now sits in the middle, a notch above the second-tier SE. generation.
Even if the latest iteration looks and feels identical to 7, there are some great updates worth looking out for and upgrading to, especially if you’re coming from 6 and up.
What Apple kept
Apple Watch Series 8 retains the design of its predecessor, including a curved chassis, thin screen bezels, a large always-on retina display, and crack-resistant front glass. Battery life is 18 hours with regular use. It’s also waterproof with an IPX6 rating. On the side of the watch, the familiar digital crown and side button function as a navigation tool in conjunction with the touchscreen.
New temperature sensors
The biggest update on the new Series 8 (since blood oxygen saturation measurements in 2020) is a pair of built-in temperature sensors: one under the screen and one on the back, closer to the skin. But these are not thermometers, mind you. The 8 does not measure actual body temperature; only the temperature on the wrist, which is lower than the previous one. However, when worn to sleep for five consecutive nights, the watch can set your baseline temperature and track changes, helping improve period predictions and providing retrospective estimates of ovulation. The sensors sample the temperature from the wrist during sleep every five seconds and measure changes as small as 0.1 degrees C. In the Health app, users can see overnight changes in baseline temperature, which can be caused by from exercise, jet lag, or even illness.
Like the iPhone 14, the Apple Watch Series 8 can detect a crash and call emergency services if the user doesn’t respond for 10 seconds. This life-saving feature leverages an advanced sensor fusion algorithm and a new, more powerful accelerometer and gyroscope to deliver accurate car accident alerts.
WatchOS 9 Highlights
Apple Watch Series 8 runs on watchOS9, which includes some nifty updates that we love.
To maximize the time the watch stays on your wrist, Apple is introducing new Low Power Mode on the 8, which can extend battery life up to 36 hours with iPhone present. This new mode temporarily disables or limits certain sensors and features, like the Always-On Retina display, automatic start of exercises, heart health notifications and more, so it stays on longer.
The revised Compass app now offers more detailed information and three different views. The new hybrid view simultaneously displays an analog compass and a digital interface. Turning the digital crown reveals latitude, longitude, elevation, and inclination, as well as an orientation view showing compass landmarks and setbacks. Backtrack uses GPS data to create a route showing where the user has been, which is useful if you need to retrace your steps. It can automatically turn on in the background when you are off the network. Compass Waypoints is a quick and convenient way to mark a location or point of interest right in the app.
Never forget your medications, supplements and vitamins again. The new Medications experience allows users to create a list of medications, set schedules and reminders, and view information about their medications in the Health app.
Apple Watch Series 8 comes in aluminum and stainless steel cases in two sizes, 41mm and 45mm, and is compatible with all bands. Aluminum case colors for Apple Watch Series 8 include starlight, midnight, silver, and (PRODUCT)RED, while the stainless steel case offers silver, graphite, and gold.
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