Apple Watch Series 9 vs Series 8: All the key differences

Apple has unveiled the Apple Watch Series 9 and immediately released it for pre-order. As expected, the changes are largely hidden on the inside: the Apple Watch has been given a “new heart,” so to speak, while the exterior remains mostly the same.

Those changes are still important, however. In this article, we outline the differences between the Series 9 and last year’s Apple Watch Series 8, covering tech specs, speed, screen quality, features, design, and price, and help you decide which model to buy, or whether to upgrade from one to the other.


Apple Watch Series 9 vs Series 8: Processor

The main technical upgrade in the Series 9 is the S9 system-in-package (SiP). That’s the processor chip running the show and should bring a noticeable boost in speed.

The S8 in the Series 8, like the virtually identical S7 and S6 chips in the Series 7 and 6 respectively, was based on the relatively old A13 processor from the iPhone 11. And not even all of the A13: Apple Watches since 2020 have only used the A13’s ‘Thunder’ efficiency cores, leaving out its ‘Lightning’ performance cores. Even if the S9 only used the efficiency cores from the A14, this would still be a significant step forward, as the A14 was Apple’s first chip to be manufactured using the 5nm process.

In the new SiP, Apple has also introduced a faster Neural Engine, which now works with four cores. (Incidentally, this is the first time Apple has presented its machine learning co-processor so prominently on the keynote stage.) The integrated graphics processor has also become up to 30 percent faster, according to Apple. All this together allows for smoother animations, faster and more accurate dictation, Siri on device, and much more on the Series 9.


Apple Watch Series 9 vs Series 8: Ultra Wideband

The Apple Watch Series 9 is also one of the first devices Apple has equipped with the next-generation U2 ultra-wideband chip. This makes it much easier to ‘ping’ a lost iPhone; not only can you wake up the phone and cause it to make a sound, but you can also navigate through rooms to locate it on your watch using the Precision Finding feature. The Series 9’s W3 wireless chip, meanwhile, is the same as the one in the Series 8.

Apple Watch Series 9 vs Series 8: Display

The Apple Watch Series 9’s screen is the same size as that of the Series 8, but in technical terms, it’s closer to the display from last year’s Ultra: brightness goes up to 2,000 nits, compared to the Series 8’s 1,000 nits. When necessary, the always-on display dims to 1 nit. It’s an always-on OLED display, but that’s true for both Series 8 and 9.

Apple Watch Series 9 vs Series 8: Storage

For the first time, Apple is giving one of its smartwatches 64GB of storage capacity. Until now, even the 1st-gen Ultra had to make do with 32GB. So if need be, you can load a decent music library onto the Series 9 and go jogging with just your AirPods—no iPhone or internet connection needed.

Apple Watch Series 9 vs Series 8: Double tap gesture

The Apple Watch Series 9 features a new double tap gesture that lets you control an app’s primary action without needing to touch the screen. All you need to do is tap your index finger and thumb together to answer a call, stop a timer, play and pause music, and more. The new gesture is coming later this year.

Apple Watch Series 9 vs Series 8: Dimensions and weight

The dimensions of the watch have not changed since last year. They are identical to those of the Series 8. Only the weight has changed almost imperceptibly: the Series 9 is slightly, fractionally lighter. All four aluminum variants, 45 and 41 mm, with and without LTE, have become 0.1 grams lighter.


Apple Watch Series 9 vs Series 8: Color

There’s a new pink color finish this year, which matches the color of the new iPhone 15. Otherwise, Apple is offering the same four colors in aluminum: silver, midnight, starlight, and Product RED. Stainless steel models are available in graphite, silver, and gold.

Apple Watch Series 9 vs Series 8: Price

Perhaps the most pleasant thing Apple has changed about its smartwatch, at least for those in Europe, is the price. While a U.S. starting point of $399 is the same as the Series 8 when it launched, the price has dropped in the U.K. from £419 to £399. Similarly, the euro price has gone down for customers in Germany, for example.

Order Apple Watch Series 9 from Apple

This article originally appeared on Macwelt. Translation by David Price.

Source : Macworld