The Apple Watch 9 remains something of a mystery. There are already a lot of rumors and speculation about the iPhone 15, as well as other upcoming Apple gadgets, but up until recently, there’s been comparatively little to talk about when it comes to the next Apple Watch.
However, that’s slowly changing. Although there’s been very little concrete news about what we might expect from the Apple Watch 9, we have heard a few rumors. Today’s WWDC 2023 conference should provide a preview of Tim Cook’s plans for this year’s watch, and even if the Apple Watch 9 isn’t showcased, we’re expecting to see watchOS 10 make an appearance.
As the future operating system for all Apple Watches, watchOS 10 which will show us all the features that are coming to existing Apple Watches. This will give us an indication of the sort of hardware changes we’ll see when the watch launches in September.
While we wait for more concrete news, we’ve created a list of everything we know so far about the Apple Watch 9 below. We’ve also compiled a list of things we’d like to see from Apple’s upcoming wearable. We’ll be updating this article whenever there’s more news to share, so check back soon to stay up to date.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The next Apple Watch
- When is it out? Probably September 2023
- How much will it cost? Likely at least $399 / £419 / AU$629
Apple Watch 9: Price and release date
The Apple Watch 9 will probably launch in September. The reason we suspect this is because the Apple Watch 8 was announced in September 2022, and with two exceptions every previous model has landed in September of their release years too. It popped up in a database listing in August, suggesting a launch is coming soon.
More specifically, the Apple Watch 9 will probably be announced on a Tuesday or Wednesday in early or mid-September based on past form, meaning September 5, 6, 12 or 13. It will likely be announced alongside the iPhone 15 series, and will probably go on sale around 10 days later. We’d be surprised if Apple Watch 9 landed during this year’s WWDC conference, but stranger things have happened.
As for the price, there’s no news there, but it’s likely to cost at least as much as the Apple Watch 8, which starts at $399 / £419 / AU$629, given the rising cost of parts, fuel, and labor.
Apple Watch 9: news and leaks
The main Apple Watch 9 leak so far comes from an analyst at tech firm Omdia via this MacRumors article, and simply states that the Apple Watch 9 will probably be the same size as the Apple Watch 8. That means it would come in both 1.89-inch and 2.04-inch screen sizes, with likely a 41mm and 45mm case respectively.
Since then, we’ve also heard from the reputable Mark Gurman that the Apple Watch 9 could have a much more powerful chipset than the Apple Watch 8. This would make for the first real power upgrade since the Apple Watch 6.
On the software front, in June 2023 Apple is set to reveal its upcoming watchOS 10 Apple Watch operating system. According to reports it’ll be the biggest software upgrade to the smartwatch in years. This is exciting but the same sources who have told us to expect big things from the software warn the Apple Watch 9 itself might not be a big leap forward in terms of hardware.
Then there’s a sketchy leak that suggests the Apple Watch 9 might instead be called the Apple Watch X, skipping the number nine entirely. This is according to a supply chain source speaking to iPhoneSoft.
They suggest that this wearable would still land in 2023, so it would be a simple name change, but with the X being the Roman numeral for 10 that seems unnecessarily confusing. Plus, we’ve heard from the MacRumors leak to expect the Apple Watch X in 2024 alongside the SE 3, so there are conflicting accounts here. The SE 2 was released alongside the Watch 8 and the first iteration of the Apple Watch Ultra, but there’s no news of an Ultra 2 coming in 2024 to complete the trifecta.
What we want to see
The Apple Watch 8 achieved four stars in our review, so for the Apple Watch 9 to get five stars we want to see the following things.
1. Better battery life
One of our main complaints with the Apple Watch 8 – and indeed with every Apple Watch prior to it – was the battery life. While it’s not terrible, this is a wearable that you’ll likely need to charge daily, and at the very least every two days.
That’s not ideal, especially for a device designed to constantly track aspects of your health, exercise and sleep. So we’d like to see the Apple Watch 9 last for at least three days between charges, but given that we ask for this every year it’s probably not going to happen.
2. A big chipset upgrade
The Apple Watch 8 technically has a new Apple S8 chipset inside it, but there’s very little in the way of upgrades here. In fact, it uses the same CPU as the S7 and even the S6 from the Apple Watch 6.
Now, in fairness the Apple Watch 8 is a speedy device, so it doesn’t feel particularly lacking in power. But it could always be faster. Or Apple could work to substantially improve the efficiency, for better battery life.
3. An Action button
One of the key features of the Apple Watch Ultra is an extra button called the Action button. This can be customized to do various things, so it’s basically a shortcut to an app or feature of your choice.
It’s an extremely useful addition, and it’s one we’d like to see make its way to the Apple Watch 9 as well, since it doesn’t seem like something that we should have to shell out on an Ultra model for.
4. A tweaked design
The Apple Watch 8 looks good, so we don’t feel the design needs to be drastically overhauled, but it also looks much the same as the Apple Watch 7, so some tweaks to freshen it up would be nice.
That could take the form of even smaller bezels, a new case material, a slimmer body, or something else along those lines to help it feel new and modern.
5. A lower price
With a starting price of $399 / £419 / AU$629, which rises if you want it in a larger size or cellular connectivity, the Apple Watch 8 is a fairly expensive wearable, despite not offering a vast amount more than the much cheaper Apple Watch SE 2.
So we’d like to see Apple reduce the price for the Apple Watch 9. Either that or make it a substantial upgrade anyway. Doing so would help ensure it ranks high among the best Apple Watches and the best smartwatches.