Apple is releasing new Apple Watch model Series 9 on this Friday.
The upcoming Apple Watch has the same features as its predecessor. This year’s iteration has last year’s familiar two sizes (41mm and 45mm) and retains the ability to monitor heart rate, track activity, and display notifications from a pair of iPhones. There is also a top model made of titanium called Ultra.
It’s been testing the 45mm aluminum Apple Watch Series 9 for a few days.
For those who are already familiar with the Apple Watch world, the new model will not be surprising. Apple’s wearable products, along with iPhones, continue to excel in fitness tracking and management. There are no new sensors in this year’s watch, the design has been the same since 2018, and the screen size has been the same since 2021.
But Series 9 introduces a faster system that unlocks new features. Improvements to Siri and navigation that are easy to use with both hands open. The reveal also shows how users interact with Apple’s upcoming Vision Pro VR headset. More importantly, the Series 9 maintains the same price point as last year’s model.
Here are the new features coming to Apple Watch this year:
Double Tap Gesture
Apple Watch Series 9 brings significant changes to the way users interact with the device by introducing a new feature called “double-tap” gestures. This new approach eliminates the need to click on the screen or press a button to keep track.
Two clicks work like this: When you lift your wrist, follow the sequence of checking the time, the Apple Watch turns on. Next, tap your thumb and index finger together (though in my testing, the middle finger works just as well). The watch’s internal sensors, including a pedometer and heart rate monitor, measure these pressures. As a result, an icon appears at the top of the home screen with a subtle suggestion.
This is the most important thing for Apple Watch; because it can now be moved by hand, in addition to some easily accessible features. Apple created this feature to improve the usability of the watch when the user is holding their wrist (for example, while walking the dog or holding a cup of coffee).
In general, double-clicking works as a way to select an option. The main function or most important button of the watch. By default, when viewed in watch view, it displays a scrolling device screen with information like weather updates, Apple News headlines, and appointments.
Dual indicators are versatile and can stop an alarm, end an alarm etc. Make phone calls and even activate your iPhone’s camera shutter button, depending on which app you use.
A special application occurs during long-term exercises such as running or walking. If you forget to start a task on your watch, the device will usually detect your activity and prompt you to save it. Now, instead of touching the screen, you can start your workout by lifting your wrist and double-tapping.
The ‘Double Tap’ Gesture on Apple Watch Series 9
While double-tapping is fun and contributes to haptic feedback, it has not become an integral part of my daily life. Similarly, I found that the “skill set” widget invoked by double-clicking didn’t work very well either.
They don’t really like the widget, and the preset instructions it provides aren’t that specific either. Since these widget options are driven by machine learning, they will become more useful over time.
We should point out that this indicator must turn on the backlight in order to open the Apple Watch interface. You can’t double-click with your hands at your sides. Instead, you have to raise your arm and then double-tap to remove the image; thus creating a stronger workout.
Interestingly, the “double tap” gesture on Apple Watch is similar to the main interaction method on Apple Watch. Shop parts for Apple’s Vision Pro VR headset launching next year. Apple sees this headset as connecting with the “new era of computing” in the “spatial computing” concept.
Vision Pro goes beyond traditional displays by using advanced sensors to recognize hand movements and a variety of gestures, allowing users to interact with them from three places. The new Apple Watch offers a glimpse of this technological evolution.
Theoretically, this suggests that as Apple introduces mixed reality through a headset, the content of this user interface can be incorporated into existing products that have millions of users.
It is worth noting that the double-click function will not be enabled by default when new watches are released. Instead, it will be enabled with a software update coming next month, specifically for new watch models. For this review, Apple provided pre-release software for the Apple Watch Series 9.
Siri On-Device and Enhanced Chip Performance
Another major development this year is the upgraded middle chip, which Apple calls system-in-package (SiP). It has 60% more transistors and 30% faster GPU than Apple.
Previous Apple Watches have always been found to be functional enough and the new chip does not provide the same speed. However, this is the first significant improvement in the clock processor in many years. One of its most important features is that Siri is faster and does not require an internet connection.
Now, when you give a voice command to your watch, the entire process, from converting speech to text to understanding the request, takes place on the device itself. Since Siri works independently of the internet, there is no need for a cellular connection or Wi-Fi to complete all commands.
My most obvious observation is that Siri is more responsive on the device. In the past, I’ve waited a long time to use the Apple Watch as a Siri interface because I kept having problems trying commands over poor Wi-Fi. For simple tasks like setting up the kitchen or getting quick answers to questions, I find I’m relying more on my Apple Watch, even better than alternatives like HomePod or my phone.
Additionally, your device’s functionality allows Siri to access your health information, which Apple typically protects by default. Previously, Siri on the watch could not perform tasks such as recording weight or providing medication information with voice commands because these tasks required cloud computing. Siri on the device has proven to be very useful for people who need to check basic stats or fill in daily information.
Improved visual brightness
Another important hardware improvement in Apple Watch Series 9 is the brightness display. Apple announced that the new model can achieve up to 2,000 nits of brightness; This is a significant improvement over last year’s 1,000-nit model.
The brightness will not be particularly noticeable in indoor environments such as home or office. However, its benefits become apparent when outdoors, especially in direct sunlight. The brighter panel on the new devices provides a more pronounced visual impact, rendering text, especially white text, with a slightly more solid appearance.
Apple Watches do not offer user-adjustable brightness settings but provide four different presets that automatically adapt to ambient lighting conditions.
While it’s a nice-to-have feature rather than a must-have, especially considering that many users do not have their Apple Watches set to maximum brightness initially, individuals who spend extended periods outdoors with their watches will undoubtedly appreciate this improvement. Personally, I’d prefer having the option of a brighter screen rather than not having it, particularly for outdoor use.
Is It Worth Buying?
There are no new models or sensors that make people eager to find new models. The previous watch, like the new one, still does a good job of tracking sleep, alerting authorities in case of accidents, viewing reports, and supporting downloads.
Small prices start at $399 At $429 for the large model, the Apple Watch Series 9 isn’t cheap, especially considering most upgrades require a faster chip and a brighter screen again. That same year, Apple also released the updated entry-level Apple Watch SE, which starts at $249 and has similar features to older Apple Watches from a few years ago; but there are no improvements like two-taps or the new Apple Watches for this year. .
I think choosing the mainstream Apple Watch Series 9 over the SE is a good choice for most people to start their Apple Watch journey as long as they can afford it. Features coming over the next few years will require more time and development to be completed.
Users will also need to decide whether it’s worth investing an extra $400 for the Apple Watch Ultra Lifestyle, which has longer battery life and fitness-friendly features. Ultra is getting an upgrade this year, but CNBC didn’t have a chance to test it.
A specific group of users who may consider upgrading even if they own last year’s model are those who are already involved in the Apple ecosystem and want to explore. Learn how the company introduced new user interfaces like Two Clicks. Make a gesture. If you’re investing in the $3,499 Vision Pro headphones, $400 doesn’t seem too expensive if you’re interested in Apple’s interactivity.
But I don’t think so in the long run. For most users who currently have a working Apple Watch, I think the Series 9 is a worthwhile upgrade.
The upcoming Apple Watch Series 9 maintains its performance in tracking and iPhone integration, although it does not update the system. It makes for a faster process and gives us a glimpse into the future of Apple’s VR headsets by introducing the “double-tap” gesture. While this isn’t a necessary upgrade, it’s worth considering for Apple fans.