Apple Watch Series 8 release date, specs and rumours

(Pocket-lint) - Apple's next smartwatch[1] won't appear until later in 2022, likely alongside the iPhone 14 range[2], but that doesn't mean we can't speculate about what we'd like to see appear. Here's everything we've heard so far about the Apple Watch Series 8, mixed with our wishlist.

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What will the next Apple Watch be called?

  • Probably Apple Watch Series 8

Unlike the iPhone, Apple didn't mess around with the Watch naming structure. Since the original was followed by the Apple Watch Series 1, the company has used sequential numbers every year.

Best Apple Watch apps 2021: 43 apps to download that actually do something By Britta O'Boyle . 14 October 2021

It is therefore highly likely we can expect 2022's watch to be called the Apple Watch Series 8, succeeding 2021's Apple Watch Series 7[3].

We saw the Watch SE[4] launch in 2020, but there was no follow up in 2021, so it could be we see a successor to the mid-range smartwatch too. The new watch, or watches, will no doubt be running Apple's watchOS 9, which will likely be previewed during Apple's developer conference[5] that normally takes place sometime in June.

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Apple Watch Series 8 release date

  • September 2022
  • Likely from £399/GBP379

Apple typically holds its iPhone launch event in September of every year and the next iteration of the Watch is normally announced at the same time. For 2021, the iPhone 13 range[6] and the Apple Watch Series 7 were announced at an event on 14 September.

While 2020 didn't quite follow the 'normal' path, the Apple Watch Series 6 and Watch SE[7] were revealed ahead of the iPhone 12 series[8] on 15 September 2020 so September is typically the month for the diary. Based on previous years, we'd pencil in 13 September 2022, but we'd put that in very light pencil for now. It will be a while before we know too, with invites unlikely to appear before early September 2022.

In terms of price, the Apple Watch Series 7 starts at £399/GBP379. We'd expect the same ballpark for the Series 8. 

Apple Watch Series 8 design

  • Flat-edge design?
  • Three sizes?

The Apple Watch Series 4[9] made some big design changes in terms of display and the Series 5, Series 6 and Watch SE adopt the same design. The general style and shape remain the same as the original Watch[10], but they offer a lot more screen in similar footprints.

The Series 7 increased the screen size again, and the casing options changed from 40mm and 44mm to 41mm and 45mm, though the general design didn't change. It could be therefore, that the Series 8 offers some bigger design changes - like the flat edges rumoured for the Series 7 that never appeared, and perhaps a third size option as rumours have suggested. Flat edges would put the Apple Watch in line with other Apple devices, like the iPhone 13 series, new iMac[11] and the more expensive iPads[12].

The Apple Watch has had the same form factor since it was first introduced, but the flat edges would allow it to retain this, whilst also offering a refresh.

What we want and expect to see on the next Apple Watch

  • Focus on fitness - more advanced features
  • Better sleep tracking
  • Improved battery life
  • Smart straps

We'd expect more health and fitness features, perhaps taking on the likes of Garmin[13] with more running functions, for example. Garmin also do a great job of enabling users to share their runs or activity so we wouldn't be surprised to see Apple take a leaf out of this book. We'd love to see something like Garmin's Body Battery arrive on the Apple Watch too, but we don't think it will happen for the Series 8.

We'd also like to see battery improvements to match other smartwatches in the market, like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4[14] and we'd also like to see more advanced sleep tracking[15] on the Series 8, as well as roaming capabilities. Apple revealed sleep tracking[16] as part of watchOS 7, meaning it is available on older Apple Watches too, but it isn't as detailed as some other devices on the market. Perhaps some extra hardware on the Series 8 could put it up there with the Fitbit's and Garmin's.

Other possibilities could include things like smart straps, third party support for watch faces, a camera and Face ID[17] or an under display fingerprint sensor, though we suspect the latter are wishful thinking rather than plausible additions, mainly due to lack of space for the sensors.

Apple Watch Series 8 rumours: What's happened so far?

Here are all the rumours and news so far, surrounding future Apple Watches.

12 October 2021: Apple is developing an even larger third size option for the Apple Watch Series 8

According to reputable display analyst Ross Young[18], Apple is planning on developing a third Apple Watch model even larger than its current 45mm offering for the Watch Series 8.

Don't be surprised if there are 3 sizes next year...

-- Ross Young (@DSCCRoss) October 12, 2021[19]

27 August 2021: New Apple Watch Series 7 design revealed in biggest leak yet

Twitter user @MajinBuOfficial tweeted[20] some images of what was said to be a clone of the new Apple Watch Series 7 in the real world, showing a flatter-edge design, supporting previous rumours of a design change. Could this happen for the Series 8 instead?

Apple Watch S7 clone #Apple #AppleWatch pic.twitter.com/K2hjtleoAN[21][22][23]

-- Majin Bu @MajinBuOfficial) August 27, 2021[24]

18 August 2021: Leaked Apple Watch Series 7 renders suggest new look

91Mobiles published[25] some renders of the Apple Watch Series 7 that supported the idea of a squared-edge design for the next smartwatch. Of course, that didn't happen for the Series 7, but it's still a possibility for the Series 8.

19 May 2021: Apple Watch Series 7 could have squared design like iPhone 12

Leaker Jon Prosser claimed[26] the Apple Warch Series 7 would come with a redesign and a new green colour option.

The Series 7 did come in a new green colour, but not a redesign. Perhaps the Series 8 will adopt this look?

Matt Talks Tech / AppleTrack Apple Watch Series 8 release date, specs, rumours and news photo 2

3 May 2021: Will the next Apple Watch read blood sugar and alcohol levels? Possibly

A major feature coming to the Apple Watch could have been revealed in an SEC filing for UK-based startup Rockley Photonics.

Rockley Photonics designs sensors for monitoring a person's blood using infrared light. The sensors could be used for monitoring blood glucose and alcohol levels. 

26 March 2021: Apple considering launch for 'Explorer Edition' Watch designed for extreme conditions and athletes

A report from Bloomberg[27] suggested Apple is considering the launch of an all-new Apple Watch model designed for athletes, hikers and those who would use the smartwatchin extreme environments. It was said to launch in 2021 or 2022 and possibly offer a rubberised case.

With no sign in 2021, all eyes are on 2022.

23 March 2021: Patent suggests redesign of Apple Watch

MacRumours reported[28] Apple could be looking into a potential "redesign for the Apple Watch, including a rounded watch face, wrap-around flexible display, and digitally-customizable watch bands". The report came after the discovery of a newly-granted patent filing.

15 Febraury 2021: No glucose monitoring for Series 7, but what about Series 8?

Leaker Max Weinbach dispelled[29] rumours that the Apple Watch Series 7 would feature glucose monitoring. It was a feature previously reported, but Weinbach has claimed it isn't coming yet, so maybe it is destined for the Series 8?

2 January 2021: Future Apple Watch could have Wrist ID, patent suggests

A patent was filed by Apple[30] for a light sensor on the back of its Watch that would shine light onto the user's wrist and generate a field image of the area.

The image would feature veins from your arm and should be as unique as a fingerprint, allowing the Apple Watch to recognise who has put the Apple Watch on and unlocking it accordingly. 

14 November 2020: New Apple Watch design could arrive 2021

9to5 reported[31] that analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed a new Apple Watch design would arrive in 2021 at the earliest. The report said Kuo speculates that a "significant form factor design change would come with new Apple Watch models in 2H21 at the earliest."

22 July 2020: Apple Watch With MicroLED Display Could Launch in 2020

MacRumours reported[32] that Apple was in talks with Taiwanese display manufacturers to use microLED displays in its products in 2020. We didn't see that in the Watch Series 7, but maybe this is something we will see on the Watch Series 8.

6 February 2020: Digital Crown could get new features

One of the most distinctive things about the Apple Watch is the Digital Crown.

A rumour in Febraury 2020 suggested it could get some new features to make it touch or light-sensitive. Certainly Apple would intend for the crown to become more sensitive through these methods, not less. These were spotted thanks to a patent release[33].

"The crown may include a light-directing feature configured to direct, onto the image-sensing element, an image of an object in contact with the imaging surface" says the filing. The crown could potentially detect the motion of your finger as you rotate or touch the crown.  Apple Insider suggests[34] this could mean that the Digital Crown has less physical bulk, therefore, making room within the watch for other components.

30 January 2020: Digital Crown set to be replaced with an optical reader? 

A patent spotted by Patently Apple[35] shows the Apple Watch Digital Crown being replaced by an optical fingerprint reader instead which could then recognise gestures, such as if you were to rotate the virtual crown. 

At present we think it's unlikely that Apple would remove the Digital Crown because it's one of the most distinctive features of the timepiece. But this could happen in a future version of the Apple Watch rather than being for the Series 8, of course. 

11 November 2019: Could Touch ID make its way to the Apple Watch?

Apple filed a patent[36] that turns the Apple Watch screen into a Touch ID sensor. The patent notes that "the display may provide an image or video output for the watch body 100.

The display may also provide an input surface for one or more input devices such as a touch sensing device, force-sensing device, temperature sensing device, and/or a fingerprint sensor." While we're seeing a lot of phones with under-display fingerprint readers now, this move would require quite a step-up in technology because of the diminutive size of the watch.

5 August 2019: Apple Watch could use in-display fingerprint sensor

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed Apple[37] will introduce an ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor into the 2021 iPhone - which didn't happen, but he also said the technology could be used in a new Apple Watch too. Currently, the Apple Watch has no biometric security but an in-display fingerprint sensor would allow it to offer some, without changing the design.

16 January 2019: Three big health features rumoured

The Fast Company reported[38] that Apple has hired numerous clinicians and engineers to work on health features for the Apple Watch, which are said to include blood pressure, blood glucose or diabetes management and sleep tracking or science.

Given these didn't appear on the Series 7, perhaps they are destined for the Series 8?

8 May 2018: Patent for round Apple Watch approved

A patent for circular screen technology was approved[39], after being originally filed in January 2016. The filing mentioned wrist wear, leading some to assume a circular Apple Watch was coming. Writing by Britta O'Boyle.

Originally published on 14 October 2021.

References

  1. ^ smartwatch (www.pocket-lint.com)
  2. ^ iPhone 14 range (www.pocket-lint.com)
  3. ^ 2021's Apple Watch Series 7 (www.pocket-lint.com)
  4. ^ Watch SE (www.pocket-lint.com)
  5. ^  developer conference (www.pocket-lint.com)
  6. ^ iPhone 13 range (www.pocket-lint.com)
  7. ^ Watch SE (www.pocket-lint.com)
  8. ^ iPhone 12 series (www.pocket-lint.com)
  9. ^ Apple Watch Series 4 (www.pocket-lint.com)
  10. ^ the original Watch (www.pocket-lint.com)
  11. ^ new iMac (www.pocket-lint.com)
  12. ^ expensive iPads (www.pocket-lint.com)
  13. ^ Garmin (www.pocket-lint.com)
  14. ^ the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 (www.pocket-lint.com)
  15. ^ advanced sleep tracking (www.pocket-lint.com)
  16. ^ revealed sleep tracking (www.pocket-lint.com)
  17. ^ Face ID (www.pocket-lint.com)
  18. ^ According to reputable display analyst Ross Young (www.pocket-lint.com)
  19. ^ October 12, 2021 (twitter.com)
  20. ^ Twitter user @MajinBuOfficial tweeted (www.pocket-lint.com)
  21. ^ #Apple (twitter.com)
  22. ^ #AppleWatch (twitter.com)
  23. ^ pic.twitter.com/K2hjtleoAN (t.co)
  24. ^ August 27, 2021 (twitter.com)
  25. ^ 91Mobiles published (www.pocket-lint.com)
  26. ^ Leaker Jon Prosser claimed (www.pocket-lint.com)
  27. ^ A report from Bloomberg (www.pocket-lint.com)
  28. ^ MacRumours reported (www.macrumors.com)
  29. ^ Leaker Max Weinbach dispelled (www.pocket-lint.com)
  30. ^ A patent was filed by Apple (www.pocket-lint.com)
  31. ^ 9to5 reported (9to5mac.com)
  32. ^ MacRumours reported (www.macrumors.com)
  33. ^ thanks to a patent release (appft.uspto.gov)
  34. ^ Apple Insider suggests (appleinsider.com)
  35. ^ spotted by Patently Apple (www.patentlyapple.com)
  36. ^ Apple filed a patent (www.pocket-lint.com)
  37. ^ Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed Apple (www.pocket-lint.com)
  38. ^ The Fast Company reported (www.fastcompany.com)
  39. ^ A patent for circular screen technology was approved (www.pocket-lint.com)