At Apple’s huge event on September 12, many new devices were announced (as expected), including the highly anticipated iPhone 15. Yes, the new smartphones were definitely the stars of the show, but let’s not forget that new Apple Watch. reveals.
The Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, releasing on September 22, are the company’s latest iterations of their iconic smart wrist bling. But do their new features make it a necessity to upgrade? Or is it better to stick with your Series 8? Let’s break it down.
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What’s new with the Series 9 and Ultra 2?
The Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 aren’t the huge technological leaps we saw with the iPhone 15, but there are still some pretty cool new additions worth checking out.
A new feature coming to both watches, and probably the most popular of the bunch, is the addition of ‘Double Tap’. This is a new gesture that acts as a primary action button that can be operated with one hand. Simply tap your index finger on your thumb twice to answer calls, launch Smart Stack widgets, and more. It may seem like a small thing, but the introduction of Double Tap could be a game-changer in terms of quality of life improvements for the new smartwatches.
Get ready to *tap, tap* all day.
Another big change is the announcement that the Series 9 and Ultra 2 will use Apple’s ultrawideband (UWB) chip. The UWB chip is going to make a huge difference for those who tend to lose their phone regularly: it uses precise location tracking via a compass and haptic feedback to guide you straight back to your iPhone with minimal stress. (If you’ve ever played a game of hot and cold, it’s basically in watch form.) Both watches also come standard with the new S9 SiP chip, which improves speed and performance.
Siri is also getting an upgrade in the Series 9 and Ultra 2. All Siri requests are now processed on the device, so it doesn’t have to travel to the cloud before contacting you. That means not only will you get faster responses, but you can also use Siri offline. Siri will also add Health app integration for easier access to your analytics.
Where the Ultra 2 differs from the Series 9 is in its fairly large price increase and its overall purpose. The Ultra 2 is made for outdoor use: it is more robust and durable than the Series 9, and has a brighter screen, a built-in siren and much longer battery life. If you’re not a super active person and are deciding between the Series 9 and Ultra 2, we’d say go for the 9 and save yourself $400.
Series 9 and Ultra 2 prices vs. Series 8 price
The price difference between the Series 8 and Series 9 is fortunately non-existent (although you can buy a Series 8 on sale at the time of this writing).
Where the big price increase comes into play, however, is on the Apple Watch Ultra 2. For the outdoor-focused smartwatch, you can expect to spend at least $400 more than the Series 9 or Series 8.
Apple Watch Series 8 price drops
As we mentioned, the Series 8 comes with the same starting price as the Series 9: $399. But at the time of this writing, the Series 8 is getting a pretty nice discount ahead of the Series 9’s release date.
That’s not a bad amount of savings, but if you are Real sold on Double Tap and the UWB chip, we’ll spend the extra $74.01 and buy the Apple Watch Series 9.
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Do you need to upgrade?
If you already have an Apple Watch Series 8, this is a tougher decision than choosing between the Series 9 and Ultra 2 for your very first smartwatch. What it really comes down to is Double Tap and the UWB chip: if you can live without it , then stick with your Series 8 until the next Apple Watch. But if these two new features really mean anything to you, the upgrade is worth it for the convenience alone. If you’re looking for a smartwatch that will let you be more active and you still have $400 to spare, the Ultra 2 is the upgrade from the Series 8 you need.
If you’re brand new to the smartwatch game and have to choose between Apple’s two new offerings, you can’t really go wrong as both watches have the same selection features. So the only decision you have to make there is what you are going to use your watch for. Do you only need it for daily use? Buy the Series 9. Do you plan to take your watch with you on camping trips? Go for the Ultra2.
Starting September 12, both the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 will be available for pre-order, with both devices officially launching on September 22. Here’s where you can get yours: