Apple has announced its new Apple Watch range. The Watch Series 8 builds on the strong platform of the Series 7 by adding a couple of useful new health tracking features, while the all-new Apple Watch Ultra offers a larger display, a more rugged design and longer battery life. Rounding out the offering is the second generation of the more affordable SE line. Here are the highlights of each new model.
Apple Watch Ultra
The Apple Watch Ultra aims to be a whole new product built for adventure. It has a 49mm titanium case which extends to protect the sapphire crystal screen. It sports the brightest display on any Apple Watch at 2,000 nits. It also has a WR100 water resistance rating, and can be used for diving to depths of 40m, with the new Oceanic+ app acting as a dive computer.
The Apple Watch Ultra also has an extra “action” button, which works as a lap button or a transition button in triathlon mode, and a larger digital crown. All versions of the watch are cellular.
It offers up to 36 hours of battery life on a single charge, and can reach 60 hours using a new battery setting that will arrive later this autumn. That’s hardly the weeks of battery life you can get from the best running watches from Garmin and Coros, but it’s the longest-lasting Apple Watch yet.
Apple says it has also improved the GPS accuracy of the Apple Watch Ultra with dual-band tracking, a feature that has impressed us on devices like the Garmin Fenix 7 and Garmin Epix 2. The watch is also set to have a running track mode, which will arrive later this year.
There is also a new watch face built specifically for the Apple Watch Ultra, with a night mode to protect your night vision, and there are dedicated bands for the watch called Alpine, Trail and Ocean Loops. The watch also has a backtrack feature that can help you navigate back to your starting point during outdoor activities.
All models of the Apple Watch Ultra cost $799/£849. It can be pre-ordered now and it will be available from 23rd September.
Read our Apple Watch Ultra review
Apple Watch Series 8
The Apple Watch Series 7 is one of the best fitness smartwatches, so we’re not too disappointed to see that the Series 8 largely sticks to the same formula. New features on the Series 8 include a temperature sensor that will monitor your wrist temperature through the night. The watch checks your temperature every few seconds and you’ll be able to see any shifts from your normal baseline temperature in the Health app. This can help you spot if your body is under stress or fighting an illness, and will be a considerable upgrade on the menstrual cycle tracking on the Apple Watch.
Another new feature on the Series 8 is car crash detection. The watch can now detect if you are in a severe car crash, and it will alert the emergency services and your designated contacts.
Apple has also added a low-power mode to the watch, which can extend the life of the watch to 36 hours from its usual 18-hour limit. Low-power mode will disable some features like always-on display and automatic workout detection, and it will be available on all Apple Watches from the Series 4 on, if running watchOS 9.
The Apple Watch Series 8 range is available to pre-order from 7th September and it will ship on 16th September. The Apple Watch Series 8 costs from $399/£419, with cellular versions costing $100/£110 more.
Apple Watch SE 2
The entry-level Apple Watch SE watch has also been updated with new materials and a new processor (the same S8 chip that’s in the Series 8). It doesn’t have an always-on display or offer some of the Series 8’s advanced health features like ECG measurements or temperature tracking.
The Apple Watch SE 2 costs from $249/£259, and there are cellular versions available for $50/£40 more.
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Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.