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Apple Watch Series 9: Specs, pricing, availability, and more
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 9: Release date and price
Apple launched the Series 9 on September 12, 2023, alongside the iPhone 15 series and the Apple Watch Ultra 2. As always, prospective Series 9 buyers have a choice 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 and starts 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
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 offered 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, too. 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 — one for everyday wear and the other for 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
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 the app you’re in, 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.
For those wondering, there aren’t any new health sensors on the Series 9. This means there’s no built-in blood glucose monitor or a 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. As we discovered during our review, the Apple Watch Series 9’s GPS performance is as great as its precedessor’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.
Notably, watchOS 10 is not exclusive to the Series 9, and the software will roll out to devices as old as the Series 4.
|Apple Watch Series 9|
LTPO OLED Retina
396 x 484 pixels (45mm)
352 x 430 pixels (41 mm)
Up to 2000 nit brightness
1 nit minimum brightness
Dimensions and weight
45 x 38 x 10.7mm
Stainless steel: 51.5g
41 x 35 x 10.7mm
Stainless steel: 42.3g
Apple S9 with 64-bit dual-core processor
Apple U2 chip (Ultra-wideband)
4-core Neural Engine
45 min to 80% charge
USB-C magnetic fast charging cable
Case materials and colors
GPS-only, GPS + Cellular
Aluminum: Midnight, Starlight, Silver, Pink, and (Product) Red
GPS + Cellular
Stainless steel: Graphite, Silver, Gold
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz and 5GHz
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
Blood oxygen sensor
Third-generation optical heart sensor
Ambient light sensor
iOS 16 or later
Apple Watch Series 9: Battery life
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. In short, the Apple Watch Series 9 won’t have better battery life than the Series 8 it replaces, at least not on paper.
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 eke out another 18 hours when activated, even if it does disable 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 in your life, opt for the Series 9. But, if you’re looking for novel health tracking advances, you might be left wanting from the lack of any 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.
If you’re thinking longer term, the Apple Watch X might be a better bet. We don’t know much about Apple’s forthcoming smartwatch series, but we weigh up the Series 9 vs the Watch X‘s prospects at the link.
Of course, there are plenty of Apple Watch Series 9 alternatives beyond the Cupertino family. Wear OS is stronger than ever, while the likes of Garmin, Withings, and Xiaomi may also offer something a little different for disillusioned shoppers.
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.