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Apple Watch Series 8 debuts with new sensors & focus on health

The newly announced Apple Watch Series 8 is an update with a focus on speed improvements and fitness.

Rumors pointed to a significant Apple Watch redesign for the previous two generations. Instead, for 2022, Apple iterated on the existing design with minor changes that enhanced the overall experience.

The Apple Watch Series 8 could easily be mistaken for the Apple Watch Series 7 that came before it. The curved chassis, Digital Crown, speaker cutouts, and edge-to-edge display are identical.

New health capabilities

The exterior design didn't need to change to accommodate the new body temperature sensor. It uses the existing sensor's contact with skin to take periodic measurements to observe temperature trends.

Similar to the other health sensors on Apple Watch, the temperature sensor isn't meant to replace dedicated medical equipment. Instead, it will alert the user if a trend indicates health issues.

Apple Watch Series 8

Apple Watch Series 8

The Apple Watch Series 8 is crack resistant, dust resistant and water resisant.

Specifically, Apple highlighted women's health as part of the announcement. With a two-sensor design— one sensor on the back of the watch near the skin, and another under the display— it samples the wrist temperature during sleep every five seconds to measure changes.

Cycle Tracking with the temperature sensor on the Apple Watch Series 8

People can view nightly shifts in baseline temperature inside the Health app. These can be caused by exercise, illness, or even jet lag.

Women can receive ovulation estimates with the temperature sensor, a helpful feature for family planning. Temperature sensing also enables improved period predictions, again found within the Health app.

With iOS 16 and watchOS 9, the Cycle Tracking app pushes a notification to show possible deviations in a cycle, such as irregular, infrequent, or prolonged periods, and persistent spotting. These can be symptoms of underlying health conditions.

Crash Detection

A new emergency feature can detect car crashes using a more powerful gyroscope and accelerometer on Apple Watch. In addition to motion data, Crash Detection uses the barometer, GPS, and the microphone on iPhone as inputs to detect severe crashes.

When it detects a severe car crash, it checks on the user and dials emergency services if the person is unresponsive after a 10-second countdown. Emergency responders will receive the user's device location, which is also shared with the user's emergency contacts.

Low power mode

A new Low Power Mode can give up to 36 hours of battery life on a single charge. It disables certain features, such as the always-on display. It temporarily disables or limits certain sensors and features, including the Always-On Retina display, workout autostart, heart health notifications, and more.

The feature is built into watchOS 9 instead of limited to the Apple Watch Series 8, available on the Apple Watch Series 4 and later.

When Low Power Mode is not enabled, the Apple Watch Series 8 offers users all-day 18-hour battery life.

Price & availability

Aluminum color options include Midnight, Starlight, Silver, and (PRODUCT)RED. Stainless steel sticks with Silver, Graphite, and Gold. Apple customers can purchase it for $399 for GPS and $499 for the cellular option.

Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch SE are available to order today, with availability beginning Friday, September 16.