Apple is the king of smartwatches, and it’s been reigning supreme for years now despite a slow start. With 2023 underway, we’re looking forward to the next generation of the company’s iconic timepiece. Over the years, Apple has made a steady stream of upgrades to the Apple Watch, adding an always-on display in 2019, blood oxygen monitoring in 2020, a bigger display in 2021 and temperature sensing in 2022.
This year, however, an incremental upgrade is more likely to materialize, considering Apple shook up its smartwatch lineup last year with the introduction of the luxurious Apple Watch Ultra and the second-gen Apple Watch SE. Currently, there are few rumors to run with for the Watch Series 9 (unlike for the iPhone 15 series), but we’ll be sure to update this article as we get a whiff of any credible buzz.
The major new health feature expected to arrive on the Apple Watch is noninvasive and continuous blood glucose monitoring, according to a Bloomberg report published in February. Currently, testing for blood glucose requires pricking the skin for blood. To test glucose levels without blood, Apple is said to be investigating an approach that involves using a silicon photonics chip for a measurement process called optical absorption spectroscopy. This technique shines light from a laser under the skin to determine the amount of glucose in the body, the report says. While major progress has reportedly been made in bringing this feature to life, the technology needs to be miniaturized to fit in a wearable device. If Apple pulls this off, it has the potential to make the Apple Watch essential in millions of diabetic households.
The Apple Watch received an OLED screen years before the iPhone, and now the rumor mill suggests the Apple Watch could adopt another display upgrade before Apple’s smartphones. According to a Bloomberg report, MicroLED displays produced in house are set to appear on the next Apple Watch Ultra model, which could arrive in 2024 at the earliest. Previous rumors had pointed to 2023 as the year for a MicroLED Apple Watch. This represents yet another effort by Apple to reduce its reliance on external tech partners – in this case Samsung and LG – as it strives to build more components on its own.
Not to be confused with Mini-LED, MicroLED is touted as the next major leap forward for display tech from OLED. It gets its name from the millions of teeny tiny pixels that create the image directly. The main hurdle facing mass adoption is getting those pixels (and screens) small enough. MicroLED is brighter than OLED with similarly perfect black levels and no danger of burn-in.
Launch and price
Apple has released a new generation of the Apple Watch every year since its debut. This year, unless the company breaks tradition, the Apple Watch Series 9 will likely arrive in the fall of 2023 alongside the iPhone 15 series.
There are no leaks either on the starting price of the Apple Watch Series 9. However, the price has remained the same for several years now, at least in the US, and we expect prices to remain the same in 2023. The Apple Watch Series 8 starts at $399.
What we expect
We expect the Apple Watch Series 9 to have everything the Watch Series 8 has. Those features include an always-on display and various size options and finishes. We also expect the Watch Series 9 to receive an upgraded processor (probably the S9) and support for the next software version, WatchOS 10. Hopefully we’ll see an improvement in battery life too, which the Watch 8 didn’t receive.