Apple Watch Series 8 and SE go hard on the health tracking
Along with the new iPhone 14 lineup, Apple has today announced the next-generation Apple Watch Series 8, as well as an upgraded Apple Watch SE, its entry-level wearable. The watches feature new temperature-sensing tech, Crash Detection, international roaming and more detailed health tracking.
The Apple Watch Series 8 borrows much from its predecessors, sporting crack-resistant, Always On OLED displays measuring 41 or 45 mm. Battery life stays steady at 18 hours, meaning you’ll need to charge it every day or two of use, or up to 36 hours in low-power mode. It has a dust resistance rating of IP6X and is water resistant to a depth of 50 m (164 ft).
The main new health-monitoring feature is temperature sensing, which the Series 8 does using two sensors – one on the back of the watch, and the other just below the display. This, Apple says, is designed to reduce outside interference.
These more accurate temperature measurements can be used to track body temperature overnight, measuring changes as small as 0.1 °C (0.2 °F). It can also be used to help women track their menstrual cycle and even estimate past ovulation dates, allowing for future fertile windows to be predicted to help with family planning. Other new health apps include a blood oxygen tracker and an ECG generator.
A new suite of emergency features have been added. Crash Detection, triggered by sharp motions like those in a car accident, will ask users if they’re ok and if they don’t respond, the device will automatically call emergency services and send the user’s location data. Fall Detection works in a similar way, helping people with mobility challenges get help.
The new Apple Watch SE fills the same role as the previous iteration from 2020, paring back some of the fancier features in favor of the core functionality at a lighter price tag. On the chopping block in this case is the Always On display, the dust resistance, the temperature sensing, and the blood oxygen and ECG apps.
Both watches are powered by Apple’s new watchOS 9, which adds a few new health features. That includes AFib History, which monitors for irregular heartbeat events in patients diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, as well as a new medications reminder app, more detailed sleep stages breakdowns, and more functions in the Workout app. And of course, there’s a suite of new watch faces. All of these watchOS 9 features will be available on the last few generations of Apple Watches and the new Apple Watch Ultra.
The Apple Watch Series 8 and SE will be available from September 16, starting at US$399 for the Series 8 and $249 for the Apple Watch SE.