Apple Watch Series 8 Hands-On: New sensors, same look

Apple Watch Series 8 Hands-On: New sensors, same look

This story is part Focal Point iPhone 2022CNET’s collection of news, tips and advice on Apple’s most popular product.

Apple announced the Apple Watch Series 8 during the fall annual product event Wednesday. The GPS the version starts at $399 (£419, AU$629) while the cellular version starts at $499. It will be available on September 16 with pre-orders start immediately. Apple also announced the Apple Watch Ultrawho starts at $799and a new version of the more affordable Apple Watch SEfrom $249 and pre-order now. Here is everything Apple announced at its September 7 event.

The biggest 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 arrived with blood oxygen saturation measurements. in 2020. The new batch of Apple Watch, which includes the Series 8 as well as the new SE and Ultra models, are also the first to include car crash detection, further underscoring Apple’s focus on good -being and security. The Apple Watch Ultra is a rugged new version of the Apple Watch aimed at athletes, while the SE is an updated version of Apple’s cheaper smartwatch.

Read more: Best smartwatch for 2022

Temperature detection and car crash detection

The Apple Watch Series 8’s temperature sensor is this year’s biggest watch upgrade. There are actually two sensors, one under the screen and another on the back closer to the skin. This should improve accuracy by helping the watch distinguish your wrist temperature from other factors affecting the temperature of your surroundings. 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 happens overnight, I couldn’t try it out in Apple’s demo room. But I could see how this information will be presented in the Health app. The app will display changes to your baseline temperature in a graph within the app, along with the context of what the data means. The company says changes in your core temperature could be signs of exercise, jet lag, or illness. There’s also a new wrist temperature tile in the summary section of the Health app where you can leverage this data.

The Apple Health app on an iPhone showing wrist temperature readings

Apple’s Health app will display data from Series 8 temperature readings.

Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

Apple positions the temperature sensor as the most useful for tracking women’s health. Temperature sensors allow the Series 8 to provide retrospective ovulation estimates and improved period predictions.

The Apple Watch also gets a new safety feature this year: car crash detection. If the watch detects an accident, it will notify the emergency services and the wearer’s emergency contacts if the wearer has not responded for 10 seconds. This is only available in the new Series 8 SE and Ultra Apple Watch models, as it leverages the improved gyroscope and accelerometer.

Apple/Screenshot by Sarah Lord/CNET

Go straight to the source of your Apple Watch Series 8 pre-order and get three months of Apple Fitness Plus.

Low power mode

A description of Low Power Mode appears on Apple Watch Series 8.

A description of Low Power Mode appears on Apple Watch Series 8.

Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

Another notable addition is the Apple Watch’s Low Power Mode, which Apple says should extend battery life to up to 36 hours for the Series 8. always-on display and automatic workout detection to preserve functionality while extending battery life. life. Although Apple just announced the feature today, it will also be available for Series 4 and above. Otherwise, Apple Watch battery life is generally the same at 18 hours.

The overall design of the Apple Watch looks broadly unchanged this year. The overall size and shape of the Series 8 remains the same, and it will be available in midnight, starlight, silver, and Product Red with an aluminum case. The stainless steel version, which I was able to try during my stay, will be available in silver, graphite and gold.

The Apple Watch Series 8 in gold stainless steel is worn on the wrist

The Apple Watch Series 8 in gold stainless steel

Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

Many of the Apple Watch Series 8’s biggest changes, like temperature sensing and low-power mode, are under-the-hood changes rather than cosmetic upgrades. We’ll have to spend more time with the Series 8 to find out just how much of an actual impact these additions have on the overall experience. But based on what we know so far, the Series 8 seems like another step towards the Apple Watch becoming an even more comprehensive wellness device.

Apple is the world leader smart watch market with 29.3% of shipments in the second quarter of 2022, according to Counterpoint Research. Samsung follows in second place with 9.2% of global smartwatch shipments over the same period.

Yet Apple faces increased competition. Even though Samsung lags far behind Apple in shipments, Samsung saw 40% year-over-year growth, compared to Apple’s 8%, according to Counterpoint data.

In August, Samsung launched the Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. Meanwhile, Google is expected to launch its first smartwatch, the Pixel Watch, this autumn. Google hasn’t revealed many details yet, but it appears to be positioning the Pixel Watch as a premium smartwatch similar to the Apple Watch.

Although the iPhone is Apple’s biggest source of revenue, products like the Apple Watch are an important part of the company’s business. The apparel, home and accessories division, which encompasses products such as the Apple Watch and AirPods, is the company’s third largest business after iPhone and then digital services. Apple said in a call for quarterly results in April that its wearables business is now the size of a Fortune 100 company.

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