Leak claims Apple Watch Series 9 Underwhelming Upgrade: Don’t be too sure

We expect the next Apple Watch this fall, probably in September. But it is not yet clear what will be revealed. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman in his latest Power On newsletter, this may not be a year of major upgrades.

Apple Watch Series 9, as it will almost certainly be called, could be a minor update focusing primarily on a new processor, says Gurman. That may not sound very exciting, but don’t write it off just yet. Here’s why not.

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A new processor can still be transformative

For starters, Apple’s processors are getting more and more power efficient, so a new chip, probably called S9, could extend battery life or, I think more likely, add features while extending battery life.

While there’s no mention of a new sensor, Apple has a track record of getting more out of existing hardware. So sleep tracking capabilities have improved over time, for example thanks to improved processors.

Last fall’s Series 8 introduced a pair of temperature sensors designed to provide retrospective ovulation estimates and improved menstrual predictions to those using Cycle Tracking.

It is also used for another statistic that is available to everyone. This is to measure your body temperature while you sleep. Could Apple refine what the temperature sensors are used for, say for stress monitoring?

Those sensors are emphatically not designed to work as a thermometer or provide pulse temperature on demand. Again, this could change in the future with different software and a faster processor.

The design will not change

This is hardly a surprise. Apple had the same design for the first Apple Watch, then with Series 1 and Series 2, as well as Series 3. That’s three years with an almost identical design. Series 4 brought a bigger change, delayed for Series 5 and Series 6, as well as Apple Watch SE, both the original and the new generation that came out last year. Series 7 increased the screen size and this design was retained for Series 8. So, unless there had been quite a bit of turmoil, I would have predicted that Series 9 would stay with the current look.

That said, there are likely to be some different colors for both the aluminum and stainless steel models. And we may see the return of the ceramic finish for Apple Watch Series 9. Fingers crossed.

What about Apple Watch Ultra 2?

Judging by the number of people I’ve seen wearing the Apple Watch Ultra, I think this Watch has been a great success. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Ultra doesn’t get a refresh at all, just as the Apple Watch SE’s first update came after two years, not one. But the Ultra is a premium smartwatch, so it could get a refresh this fall. And if it does, it’ll just be a processor update to bring it up to Series 9. It wouldn’t make much sense for the top-tier Ultra to have an older processor than the standard Series 9 or Apple Watch SE. would it now?

What’s next?

The full reveal will come in September, though there’s plenty of time for more leaks and reports before then. Even if the Series 9 is primarily a processor update, rest assured Apple has tricks up its sleeve to entice you to update. Check back later for more.

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