The smartwatch market is entering a state of stagnation. Small manufacturers are gradually bringing the characteristics of their devices closer to the models of first-tier manufacturers, and recent leaders are frantically looking for new meanings and looks for their devices in order to interest new users and motivate old ones to upgrade. And only Apple seems to know what to do.
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The company has a whole army of dedicated and loyal users who are always happy about the release of a new product. It’s good if it’s revolutionary, but if not, then you can always find small and pleasant innovations. It is no coincidence that Apple is the main player in the smartwatch market. Its devices are quite technologically advanced and meet the basic requirements of users, and if you take into account the connection with the proprietary ecosystem, this becomes an additional big plus. The company’s main model, Apple Watch, was released in the fall of 2023 in a new, ninth series. Let’s compare it with the previous one and try to understand how this model differs from last year’s Apple Watch Series 8.
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External differences between Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Series 9
It seems that Apple considers the current watch design to be successful and not yet outdated to change it. So the Apple Watch has been coming out in the same form for three years now. It is a rectangle with rounded corners and a small frame around the screen. The edges are also rounded. The case can have two sizes: with a 41 mm display it is 252 × 430 mm, and with a 45 mm display it is 396 × 484 mm. On the right side are the main watch controls: this is the Digital Crown with a red ring for models with the ability to work in cellular networks, and just below is the power off button. The back surface has a slightly convex area; it is required for the operation of the sensors.
The manufacturer offers a case made of recycled aluminum, but more status options are made of stainless steel. The weight of the models is no different – it is still the same 32 grams for the 41 mm case and 39 grams for the 45 mm case.
External differences will have to be looked for only in body colors. And if the stainless steel version has the same three options: silver, gold and graphite, then with aluminum watches the difference was finally found. Apple Watch Series 8 received a rather modest set of colors: black, silver, beige (starlight) and signature red.
But the Apple Watch Series 9 will delight users in other shades: black, beige (starlight), silver, corporate red PRODUCT(RED) and pink, which is fashionable this season.
Of these flowers it is worth noting pinkwhich is unique to the Apple Watch Series 9.
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Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Series 9 displays
The screen dimensions have been preserved, as has its resolution. The 41mm model has 352 x 430 dots with an area of 904 mm2, while the 45mm model has a resolution of 396 x 484 and an area of 1143 mm2. This resolution is quite enough to provide the watch with a clear picture and readability. The bezels are thin enough not to be annoying. Aluminum models have front side protection with Ion-X glass, while steel watches are protected with a more durable sapphire crystal. Both generations have an oleophobic layer on the screen to protect against fingerprints.
The screen is made using OLED LTPO Retina technology, which gives the picture richness and excellent color rendition. But while the Series 8 had 1000 nits of brightness, then in Series 9 it doubled and is now 2000 nits. In practice, this will make it easier to read the contents of the watch in bright sunlight. Both series support the Always-On function, which ensures that information is shown even when the display is turned off. You can see the necessary data on it without activating the watch with a movement of your hand.
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Apple Watch 8 and Apple Watch Series 9 performance
One of the most important changes in the new model is the new processor. The Apple Watch Series 9 uses the Apple S9 chip, which is based on the A15 Bionic (installed in the iPhone 13 and iPhone 14). The Apple S9 features a 64-bit dual-core processor and a new 4-core neural processor. It should handle requests to Siri much better. Last year’s Series 8 had the Apple S8 chip, which had 60% fewer transistors. Upgrading to a new processor can improve performance by up to 30%. The wireless modules are controlled by the Apple W3 coprocessor, but the same one was installed in the previous series.
Both generations received 1 GB of RAM, and the built-in storage capacity in Series 8 is 32 GB, while in Series 9 its volume has doubled and is now 64 GB. It is worth noting that the Series 8 has a U1 ultra-wideband chip, while the Series 9 has a U2 – its second generation. True, its location functionality will still not work in Russia. The U2 chip enables new integration with the HomePod speaker – the watch can control playback on it.
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Features and health monitoring in Apple Watch 8 and Apple Watch Series 9
Modern smartwatches are not only about showing the time, but also about numerous functions. The main part of them is intended for monitoring the health of users. The most important of them are present in both generations of watches.
At Apple’s fall presentation in 2023, a new exclusive way for the user to interact with the Apple Watch Series 9 was announced, allowing you to control the device without touching the screen. The function is called “Double tap” and is a double squeeze of the index finger and thumb, which will force the watch to turn off the alarm or answer a phone call, play music, view the menu, and so on.
Demonstration of the “Double tap” function on video:
However, experienced users know that almost the same feature existed in Apple watches before, with the Series 4. The feature was hidden in the Accessibility section of the Watch app, intended mainly for people with disabilities. In Apple Watch Series 9, it was simply turned on by default and does not require additional configuration.
Apple Watch Series 8 and Series 9 can measure the wearer’s heart rate, and both models have an accurate third-generation sensor. Both generations know how to measure blood oxygen saturation – this way they can assess how the lungs are working. The measurements are made by a group of LEDs and photodiodes on the back of the watch. There is a heart activity sensor on the same platform, but the secondary electrodes are hidden in the Digital Crown wheel. This equipment allows you to generate an electrocardiogram (ECG).
Apple Watch Series 8 and Series 9 can measure body temperature. This information is useful for calculating the ovulation period in women. In addition, the devices monitor women’s cycles.
Both generations of watches can track sleep and its stages, have numerous programs and exercise diaries, help maintain mental state, watch activity rings, read notifications from your phone, listen to podcasts and communicate with Siri.
Both generations are able to detect car accidents using sensors and, when a sudden overload is detected, send a signal to relatives and the rescue service. Another important safety-related feature is detecting a user’s fall and sending a signal similarly.
Apple Watch Series 9 comes out immediately with the watchOS 10 operating system, and last year’s model will have to be updated to this version. But as a result, software capabilities (with the exception of the “Double tap” function) will turn out to be identical.
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Other Apple Watch 8 and Apple Watch Series 9 features
Apple Watch Series 8 and Series 9 received a rather impressive set of sensors for modern smartwatches, but already standard for Apple models: accelerometer, gyroscope, barometer, compass, altimeter (always on), ambient light sensor, microphone and speaker. It is worth noting that it remains compatible with GymKit machines, which can increase the accuracy of keeping a training diary.
Both generations are available in two versions: with GPS support (and in addition to GLONASS/Galileo/QZSS Series 9 also supports BeiDou) and GPS + Cellular (with the ability to work in cellular networks). The watch supports Wi-Fi 4 802.11 b/g/n, with frequencies of 2.4 and 5 GHz, and can work with the current Bluetooth 5.3 standard. The degree of protection from water turned out to be the same – the watch can dive to a depth of 50 meters and engage in water training and similar active sports.
The dust protection standard in both models is IP6X; in any case, the devices are well protected from the effects of external environments.
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Battery in Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Series 9
The transition to a new chip did not affect the autonomy of the Series 9 in any way. it remains the same as it was in Series 8. Both generations of watches can work without recharging for up to 19 hours in mixed mode (viewing the time, notifications, using applications, listening to music), including using the Always-on display mode. Modern versions of watchOS support Power Saving Mode, which can double the operating time of devices.
Both models can charge quickly – replenishing their capacity from 0 to 80% in 45 minutes. And eight minutes of charging the watch in the evening is enough to then track the owner’s eight-hour sleep.
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Prices for Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Series 9
Prices for Apple Watch Series 9 are completely identical to the previous model:
Aluminum Apple Watch Series 9
Apple Watch Series 9, 41 mm, GPS – $399
Apple Watch Series 9, 45 mm, GPS – $429
Apple Watch Series 9, 41 mm, GPS+Cellular – $499
Apple Watch Series 9, 45 mm, GPS+Cellular – $529
Steel Apple Watch Series 9
Apple Watch Series 9, 41 mm, GPS+Cellular – $699
Apple Watch Series 9, 45 mm, GPS+Cellular – $749
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With the release of Apple Watch Series 9, last year’s model disappeared from official sales. Obviously, the manufacturer does not want to leave the new product with a competitor. Apple Watch Series 9 is already actively criticized, considering this model only cosmetic update from last year. Design really remained the sameof the external differences, only appearance of pink versions. In fact, the new product is worthy of attention and still surpasses its predecessor. Although the design, sensors and functionality have not changed, but the screen became much brighter. Has grown and performance, storage capacity has doubled. When choosing from the last two generations of Apple watches, the favorite is obvious. The manufacturer managed to smoothly improve the main model of its watches without sudden steps. It will not turn out to be passable and will firmly take the place of last year’s Series 8.
Naturally, for owners of Apple Watch Series 6, 7 and 8, switching to a new model may not seem entirely justified, but for users of Apple Watch Series 5 and older models, there is reason to think about upgrading.