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Apple Watch Series 9: Specs, pricing, availability, and more

Here's what Apple Watch fans can look forward to this year.
By
December 11, 2023
Apple Watch Series 9 Pink Face
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

The Apple Watch Series 9 is the latest edition of Cupertino’s best-selling smartwatch series. It might appear similar to its predecessors, but Apple promises several changes beneath its skin. Read on to discover the critical details surrounding the Series 9.

Apple Watch Series 9Apple Watch Series 9
AA Editors Choice
Apple Watch Series 9
Powerful new processor • Upgraded display with 2000 nit brightness • New gesture controls and Siri features
MSRP: $399.00
Apple's most convenient smartwatch
The new S9 chip makes the Apple Watch Series 9 the most capable, and battery friendly Apple watch to date. Enjoy improved security, improved functionality in low-connectivity situations, and improved health tracking. Introducing new Double-Tap gesture.

Apple Watch Series 9: Release date and price

An Apple Watch Series 9 displays the app screen.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Apple launched the Series 9 on September 12, 2023, alongside the iPhone 15 series and Watch Ultra 2. Prospective Series 9 buyers can choose between two body sizes, two body materials, Wi-Fi-only and LTE variants, and several colorways.

We’ve seen remarkably consistent pricing from Apple over the years, and the Series 9 is yet another example of this. Bucking the trend of other devices this year, the wearable will keep its predecessor’s price, starting at $399 for the base aluminum Wi-Fi-only model and $499 for the LTE option. The stainless steel options start at $699.

You can preorder the Series 9 right now, with general availability kicking off on September 22, 2023.

Apple Watch Series 9: Design, colors, bands, and sizes

An Apple Watch Series 9 displays the Snoopy watch face.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

The new watch largely shares body shape with the Series 8. Regarding the Watch Series 9 colors on offer, we get a new pink colorway to join Starlight, Product (Red), Midnight, and silver on the aluminum models. The steel option is available in more subdued gold, silver, and graphite shades.

Apple is using more recycled material in the Series 9’s construction, which also extends to the watch bands. There’s also a new FineWoven option, which Apple notes is a more environmentally friendly alternative to suede-feel leather and features a magnetic buckle. Existing band styles, like the Nike Sport Band and Apple Sport Loop, are now made with more recycled fabric and fluoroelastomer. There are still plenty of third-party Apple Watch Series 9 bands if you don’t like the official offerings. Notably, one of our top Apple Watch Series 9 tips is to grab two bands for everyday wear and activity.

Apple is using more recycled material in the Series 9's construction.

Up front, you’re getting 2,000 nits of maximum brightness from the display, but it can drop to just 1 nit in dark environments. This should make for considerable power savings in the right conditions.

Apple Watch Series 9: Features and specs

An Apple Watch Series 9 rests face down displaying the device's sensors.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

Internally, the Series 9 welcomes several new components. Apple’s new S9 silicon now commands the Series 9 and features a four-core neural engine that processes Siri commands on-device. This means you needn’t require a data connection to control your device via the voice assistant.

This chip powers features beyond Siri, too. The Series 9 now comes with a nifty gesture command. Double tap your index finger with your thumb twice with your watch hand to control apps on your wearable. The gesture interacts with the main command button in your app, but it can also be used to swing through the widgets on offer. Again, this is powered by the watch’s new neural smarts.

Siri commands are now processed on-device.

You can also use Siri to access general health data on the fly using your voice or use the voice assistant to prompt specific health details, like what time you took your medication.

Also joining the fray is an upgraded ultra-wideband chip dubbed the U2. This should elevate the Series 9’s Find My device capabilities. You can ping your iPhone 15 from your watch, which will navigate you to your smartphone’s location within 20 feet. Apple’s calling this feature Precision Finding. If you get within four feet of a HomePod, the Series 9 will launch the now-playing screen or suggest media to play on the smart speaker.

An Apple Watch Series 9 user review their Smart Stack widgets.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

For those wondering, there aren’t any new health sensors on the Series 9. This means there’s no built-in blood glucose or blood pressure monitor.

Alongside the Series 9’s new hardware comes watchOS 10. This arguably brings the most visible changes to the Apple Watch Series 9. We’ve had a chance to experience this software in beta form, but the software looks right at home on the new watch. The most notable watchOS 10 change is the return of widgets. Dubbed Smart Stack by Apple, these contextual information cards replace Glances and can be rotated by twisting the digital crown.

Apple is also bringing improved navigation tools to the watch, including offline maps support for Apple Maps. Alongside iOS 17, Apple Watch users can access mapping tools even when they’re nowhere near a cell tower or Wi-Fi coverage. We discovered during our review that the Apple Watch Series 9’s GPS performance is as great as its predecessor’s.

There are some changes to Apple’s software fitness approach, too. The Series 9 brings follow-up medication reminders, open Workout APIs for third-party app access, Apple Fitness+ custom training plans, and new cycling metrics. Apple Health also gets mental health tools, including a mood logger and details about time spent in daylight. watchOS 10 is not exclusive to the Series 9, and the software is now available on devices as old as the Series 4.

Apple Watch Series 9
Display
LTPO OLED Retina
396 x 484 pixels (45mm)

352 x 430 pixels (41 mm)
Always-on display

Up to 2000 nit brightness
1 nit minimum brightness
Dimensions and weight
45mm:
45 x 38 x 10.7mm
Aluminum: 38.8g
Stainless steel: 51.5g

41mm:
41 x 35 x 10.7mm
Aluminum: 32g
Stainless steel: 42.3g
Durability
WR50
IP6X-certified
SoC
Apple S9 with 64-bit dual-core processor
Apple W3
Apple U2 chip (Ultra-wideband)
4-core Neural Engine
RAM
1GB
Storage
32GB
Battery
18 hours
45 min to 80% charge

USB-C magnetic fast charging cable
Software
WatchOS 10
Case materials and colors
GPS-only, GPS + Cellular
Aluminum: Midnight, Starlight, Silver, Pink, and (Product) Red

GPS + Cellular
Stainless steel: Graphite, Silver, Gold
Connectivity
GPS/GNSS
GLONASS
Galileo
QZSS
BeiDou
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz and 5GHz
Bluetooth 5.0

Model A2475 (41mm)
Model A2477 (45mm)
LTE bands: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 25, 26, 39, 40, 41, 66
Sensors
Always-on altimeter
Blood oxygen sensor
ECG
Third-generation optical heart sensor
Temperature sensor
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Ambient light sensor
Compatibility
iOS 16 or later

Apple Watch Series 9: Battery life

An Apple Watch Series 9 rests alongside its charger.
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

The Apple Watch is not renowned for its stellar battery life, and the Series 9 likely won’t change this. While the new chipset and tweaked display will likely translate into better battery life than its predecessors, Apple still claims the watch will last 18 hours on a single charge. During our review, we regularly managed around 26 hours between charges. That’s excellent compared to Apple’s claims but falls short of its rivals.

In our experience, Apple usually sells its smartwatch battery life short, so you might exceed that figure depending on how you use the device. Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that low-power mode will provide an additional 18 hours of juice, even if it disables non-essential systems.

Should I buy the Apple Watch Series 8 or Series 9?

The Apple Watch Series 9 brings just enough to entice those with older models. If you compare the new watch to the Series 8, Series 7, or Series 6, onboard Siri processing and smarter gesture controls are enticing. If you must have these features, opt for the Series 9. But, if you’re looking for novel health tracking advances, you might be left wanting from the lack of new sensors or core features.

Now that the Series 9 is official, the Series 8 will likely see a stark price drop. If you want to board the Apple wagon on a budget and skip the Watch SE 2, the Series 8 is the ticket.

The Apple Watch X might be a better bet if you’re thinking longer term. We don’t know much about Apple’s forthcoming smartwatch series, but we weigh up the Series 9 vs the Watch X‘s prospects.

Of course, many Apple Watch Series 9 alternatives are available beyond the Cupertino family. Wear OS is stronger than ever, while Garmin, Withings, and Xiaomi may offer something a little different for disillusioned shoppers.


FAQs

The Apple Watch Series 9 is water-resistant. The device features a WR50 water resistance rating. This indicates that it can withstand water pressure at 50 meters.

No, the Apple Watch cellular models can only connect to LTE networks.

The Series 9 comes with a charging cradle, but Apple does not include a charging brick. You’ll have to buy a charger separately.

No, the Series 9 must be paired with an iPhone. Therefore, it doesn’t work with Android devices.

Yes, the Series 9 features a skin temperature sensor that is used to improve health tracking for those who menstruate.