Apple is the king of smartwatches and it has reigned supreme for years now despite a slow start. With 2023 underway, we’re looking forward to the next generation of the company’s iconic timepiece. Over the years, Apple has made a steady stream of upgrades to the Apple Watch, adding an always-on display in 2019, blood oxygen monitoring in 2020, a larger screen in 2021, and temperature sensing in 2022.
This year, however, an incremental upgrade is more likely to materialize, given that Apple shook up its smartwatch lineup last year with the introduction of the luxury Apple Watch Ultra and the second-generation Apple Watch SE. Currently, there are few rumors to go around for the Watch Series 9 (unlike the iPhone 15 series), but we’ll be sure to update this article as we get a whiff of any credible buzz.
The big new health feature expected to come to the Apple Watch is non-invasive and continuous blood sugar monitoring, according to a Bloomberg report published in February. Currently, testing for blood sugar requires pricking the skin for blood. To test glucose levels without blood, Apple is said to be exploring an approach that involves using a silicon photonics chip for a measurement process called optical absorption spectroscopy. This technique shines light from a laser under the skin to determine the amount of glucose in the body, the report says. Although great progress has reportedly been made in bringing this feature to life, the technology needs to be miniaturized to fit into a wearable device. If Apple pulls this off, it has the potential to make the Apple Watch essential in millions of diabetic households.
The Apple Watch received an OLED screen years before the iPhone, and now the rumor mill suggests that the Apple Watch could adopt another screen upgrade before Apple’s smartphones. According to a Bloomberg report, MicroLED displays produced in-house will appear on the next Apple Watch Ultra model, which could arrive as early as 2024. Earlier rumors had pointed to 2023 as the year for a MicroLED Apple Watch. This represents another effort by Apple to reduce its reliance on outside technology partners – in this case Samsung and LG – as it strives to build more components on its own.
Not to be confused with Mini-LED, MicroLED is being touted as the next big leap forward for display technology from OLED. It gets its name from the millions of tiny tiny pixels that create the image directly. The biggest obstacle to mass adoption is getting those pixels (and screens) small enough. MicroLED is brighter than OLED with correspondingly perfect black levels and no danger of burn-in.
Launch and price
Apple has released a new generation of Apple Watch every year since its debut. This year, unless the company breaks tradition, the Apple Watch Series 9 will likely arrive in the fall of 2023 alongside the iPhone 15 series.
There are also no leaks on the starting price of the Apple Watch Series 9. However, the price has been the same for several years now, at least in the US, and we expect prices to remain the same in 2023. Apple Watch Series 8 starting at $399.
What we expect
We expect the Apple Watch Series 9 to have everything the Watch Series 8 has. These features include an always-on display and different size options and finishes. We also expect the Watch Series 9 to get an upgraded processor (likely the S9) and support for the next software version, WatchOS 10. Hopefully we’ll also see an improvement in battery life, which the Watch 8 didn’t receive.