Apple Watch Series 8
Apple Watch Series 8 is a modest iteration with a new temperature sensor, Crash Detection, and an improved processor. One of the key features is ovulation notifications based on information provided by the temperature sensor overnight. All the health features, workout tracking, and watchOS apps return in this updated watch.
● Temperature sensing
● Improved S8 SiP
● Crash Detection
● Heart rate, blood oxygen, and ECG
● Prices start at $399
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The Apple Watch Series 8 keeps the Apple Watch Series 7 design with minimal updates to the feature set and sensors. The new temperature sensor and Crash Detection are the most notable changes overall.
Existing Apple Watch users who own devices released within the last few years may not have much need to update. Though, the new feature sets could be critical for some.
The Apple Watch is a mature product with little room for updates, especially in the existing case design. This is one reason Apple built the Apple Watch Ultra — it needed a larger 49mm case to fit the multiple sensors used for extreme activity tracking.
Apple revealed the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 during the Wonderlust event in September 2023. New features include a faster S9 SiP and a pinch gesture for controlling actions with one hand.
There isn't much to differentiate Apple Watch Series 8 from the previous generation. In fact, most users may never take advantage of the latest features.
The new sensors used for Crash Detection and ovulation notifications are basically used exclusively for those features. Most of the features Apple showed off when announcing the new Apple Watch belong to watchOS and are not exclusive to the updated model.
Apple Watch Series 8 display
Apple still offers 45mm and 41mm options. They both have always-on Retina displays with tough Ion-X glass on aluminum models or sapphire glass on stainless steel models.
The display extends to the edge with a slight curve. The center of the display glass is slightly thicker and reinforced to make it more shatter-resistant.
There are no distinguishable differences between the Apple Watch Series 8 display and the Apple Watch Series 7 display. They both have the slightly extended displays introduced in 2021.
Low-power mode turns off the always-on display to help extend battery life.
Apple Watch Series 8 health
Apple sees the Apple Watch as an essential health device. It regularly shares testimonies from people whose lives have been saved thanks to wearing Apple Watch during a critical health event.
The Apple Watch uses a set of sensors and algorithms to collect health data and notify users of health trends. While it isn't a medical device, it can make users aware of developing health issues.
Apple Watch Series 8 has two temperature sensors that work together to catalog body temperature trends. The bottom sensor measures skin temperature, and the top sensor measures environmental temperature.
The temperature sensor is primarily used with sleep tracking. It can alert the user to changes in nighttime temperature and determine if the room is too hot for a comfortable sleep.
The primary use of the temperature sensor is cycle tracking and ovulation alerts. By keeping track of body temperature over time, the Apple Watch can determine if a person has ovulated retroactively.
A suite of new sensors was added or updated for Crash Detection. If a user is in a severe car crash, the Apple Watch Series 8 will call emergency services and alert emergency contacts.
The new accelerometer can detect up to 256g of force, indicating a severe crash. Movement data is now collected four times the previous rate, equating to about 3,000 times a second.
The new sensors can detect front impact, side impact, rear-end collision, and rollover crashes. An advanced algorithm uses a barometer, GPS, microphone, and accelerometer to determine if a crash occurred.
Apple says that Crash Detection isn't foolproof, and it isn't an exact science trying to determine what is or isn't a crash. There have been numerous reports of false alarms related to Crash Detection going off during a roller coaster or while skiing.
One solution to this is to turn off Crash Detection when performing intensive activities that might trigger the feature, but users will need to remember to turn it back on later. Otherwise, consider being hyper aware of the watch so if it alerts you to a false crash, you can dismiss it.
Heart rate is the primary health feature that ties to every health and fitness metric. The infrared sensor on the back of the Apple Watch regularly measures heart rate and records its findings in the Health app.
Users can also take manual Electrocardiograms using the Digital Crown and heart rate sensor to complete an electrical circuit around their body. This measurement helps determine irregular heart rhythms and can help users decide whether they need to visit a doctor.
There is also a blood oxygen sensor built into the sensor stack. LEDs and photodiodes record oxygen content and warn users if it gets too low for a given elevation. This data can help diagnose issues with the lungs or sickness.
The new low-power mode turns off background heart rate monitoring. This also means irregular heart rate notifications won't happen, nor will background oxygen level measurements.
The Apple Watch will record decibel levels in any environment and, if enabled, will warn the wearer of dangerously loud noise. A complication is also available so users can view the decibel level at a glance.
A twenty-second timer will start when Apple Watch detects the user is washing their hands. The feature was added during the pandemic to encourage healthy habits.
Apple Watch Series 8 fitness
Tracking workouts hasn't changed, and the new sensors don't appear to affect how they are tracked. The watchOS 9 update allows users to customize workouts, which is available on all modern Apple Watch models.
The Apple Watch will automatically start tracking workouts if it detects one is in progress. The user is notified that it detected a workout has begun and offers to turn on workout mode.
Apple Fitness+ no longer requires an Apple Watch to function. Users who have an Apple Watch get added benefits like on-display metrics, including heart rate.
Processor, Networking, Charging
The S8 SiP uses the same core CPU as the previous Apple Watch processors. It does control the new movement tracking and Crash Detection sensors, which explains why a new SiP was needed.
Cellular Apple Watch models can use international roaming when running watchOS 9. This includes any model from Apple Watch Series 5 and up.
Fast charging is still possible with the latest Apple Watch. It requires a newer model charger which is included in the packaging.
Materials and colors
Apple sells the Apple Watch Series 8 in aluminum and stainless steel. The titanium model was removed in this lineup since the Apple Watch Ultra uses the material.
Aluminum models are available in midnight, starlight, silver, and (PRODUCT)RED. Stainless steel models are available in silver, gold, and graphite.
What's new in watchOS
Smart Stack brings widgets to the Apple Watch while using any watch face. The user simply needs to scroll up on the Digital Crown to view them.
The Side Button now summons Control Center from anywhere in watchOS. These control changes make navigating even more simple.
Apple Watch will also track the time the user spends in daylight as part of Apple's push to fight Myopia. Other new heath features include mood tracking and follow-up medication reminders.
Apple Watch Series 8 review
The Apple Watch Series 8 is a small iteration of Apple's smartwatch formula. Despite that, it is still the most well-rounded Apple Watch to buy.
Apple added Crash Detection and a temperature sensor to this updated model, but that's about it. The S8 SiP is updated but still uses the same core CPU.
Like on iPhone 14, Crash Detection uses a range of sensors to detect up to 256g of force. This triggers an alert and calls emergency responders if the user doesn't respond.
The temperature sensor is only really used for one feature — retroactive ovulation notifications. The Apple Watch will track nightly body temperature, and once it has a base, it can use deviations from this base to predict if ovulation has occurred.
There's not a lot here that isn't introduced because of new watchOS 9 features. That watchOS update is available to previous models, so it's less of a reason to upgrade.
This is the best Apple Watch to buy for most people, but Apple Watch Series 7 owners can skip this model. There's also the Apple Watch Ultra, but it's a much more niche audience.
Read the full Apple Watch Series 8 Review from AppleInsider and see why we gave it a 4 out of 5.
The Apple Watch Series 8 is priced identically to the Apple Watch Series 7, starting at $399. It began shipping on September 16, 2022.