Apple Watch Ultra, Series 8 and SE 2 explained

All the details on Apple's new smartwatches
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Apple has announced a trio of new smartwatches at its annual event in Cupertino.

As expected, we saw the launch of the all-new Apple Watch Ultra, the Apple Watch Series 8 and an update to the Apple Watch SE.
And watchOS 9 will also launch on 16 September 2022, with a new power saver mode that will enable all Apple Watch models (Series 4 upwards) to get 36 hours of battery life.
We are reporting live from the Apple event - here’s everything you need to know.

Apple Watch Ultra

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As rumored, Apple has launched an all-action, outdoors version of the Apple Watch.

With a 49mm titanium case, with a flat crystal display – the leaked renders were accurate showing the new large Action Button, designed to be easier to use while wearing gloves.

Battery life is the biggest story here, with the extra case size enabling a 36-hour battery life – with 60 hours via a new battery saver mode.

GPS performance has been boosted, with dual-band GPS, which uses L1 and L5 frequencies, and custom algorithms, which should boost accuracy in built-up areas or tree cover. We’ve seen this from Garmin, Amazfit and Huawei in the last year – with mixed results.

Water resistance has been upped to 100m, and water sports are a big focus with EN13319 dive standards – and there’s an advanced app that will turn the Ultra into a diver computer.

Safety features play a large part in the Ultra. It will drop breadcrumbs on your routes, and offer back-to-start navigation. There’s an 86db siren which can be heard up to 200m away and the same Fall Detection from the Series 8.

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Then there’s a host of extra additions:

  • Second speaker and 3 mics – voice clarity in windy conditions
  • Cellular in every model
  • Auto-running track detection
  • Running track lap tracking via the Action Button

There’s also an exclusive watch face. Wayfinder puts the compass as a live complication – and there’s a very cool red/black mode that increases legibility in the dark. It can also be adapted to Mountain, Ocean or Trail modes.

Apple Watch Series 8

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The Apple Watch Series 8 hasn’t been updated physically from the Series 7, since the new sizes were only launched in 2021.

But there’s some significant change under the hood, with a brand new sensor and a big focus on women’s health.

First up, Apple has launched a new low-power mode that pushes battery life in excess of 36 hours, while retaining activity tracking and fall detection – but nixes features like auto-workout detection and the always-on display – which seems fair to us. And best of all, this is rolling out to Series 4 upwards, with watchOS 9.

Apple has added a temperature sensor, and has made female cycle tracking a central tenant of the experience – and one of the most advanced non-specialist wearables.

The Apple Watch has had cycle tracking for three years, but the feature was little more than a calendar input. Now it leverages the temperature sensor for automated tracking of the menstrual cycle.

There are two temperature sensors inside the Series 8, which are designed to eliminate environmental readings. It tracks every 5 seconds during sleep and can detect changes of 0.1 degrees centigrade from your personal baseline.

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It will then offer retrospective alerts of ovulation – but Series 8 will also look for cycle deviations, which can be a sign of underlying conditions including thyroid issues and PCOS.

And privacy has also been highlighted, in the wake of the controversy around cycle tracking apps in the wake of Wade vs Roe, with end-to-end encryption, to which Apple doesn’t have a key to read personal data.

As we predicted in our rumor tracker, Apple has launched Car Crash Detection, which scans for impacts using a new high g-force accelerometer and gyroscope that can measure impact up to 256g.

And you can now add your Apple Watch cellular models to international roaming plans, with over 30 carriers supporting.

It's set to launch in four colors: midnight, starlight, silver, and red in aluminum. And there are silver, gold, and graphite stainless steel options, too. It will go on sale on 16 September.

New Apple Watch SE

  • Lower price starting at $249 / £259
  • 20% faster
  • Fall and car crash detection

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Finally, there’s a new Apple Watch SE - set to replace the Series 3 at the entry-level point of the Apple Watch hierarchy.

It’s a modest update, with upgraded internals that makes it 20% faster than the last generation – and it’s getting the Fall Detection and Car Crash detection features from the Series 8.

Crucially, it’s getting a price drop – although not quite as much as we anticipated, and not to the $199 / £199 levels of the Series 3.

The new Apple Watch SE will start at $249 / £259 – improving the Apple Watch experience for those getting on board – but also upping the cost of entry. However, we can see plenty of users of the aging Series 3 upgrading to the new model.

As shown in the infographic above, there's a slew of other new, minor improvements, as well.

TAGGED Apple Watch

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