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  • Cheryl Tan

Apple Announces Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE & Apple Watch Ultra for Athletes, Extreme Users

Updated: Sep 8, 2022

Alongside the iPhone 14 lineup, Apple has not only announced the Apple Watch Series 8, but also the Apple Watch SE and hotly rumoured Apple Watch Ultra.

Let's talk about the Apple Watch Series 8 first. There's no real change externally as well as in terms of the sizes that the Series 8 will be offered in, but the watches do come with a new temperature sensor that will allow for female users to track ovulation. There are two temperature sensors in the watch, one under the display and one on the back against the user's skin for better accuracy. With accurate ovulation predictions, it'll make it easier for couples looking to conceive by providing ovulation estimates and notifications. This data will be encrypted on the device and only accessible with passcodes or biometric ID, with end-to-end encryption if the data is synced to iCloud for user privacy.

Additionally, a new safety feature is being introduced - Crash Detection. This is made possible with two new motion sensors: an improved gyroscope and a new accelerometer. The accelerometer will be able to detect crashes in most vehicles like SUVs, pick up trucks and more.

The battery life has also stayed constant at 18 hours, but there's now an improved low-power mode that can give 36 hours of battery life on a full charge. Activity tracking and crash detection will be kept on, but the always-on display and auto workout tracking will be disabled. This will be available on Apple Watch Series 4 and above, as long as the watch is running watchOS 9.

If you're subscribing to a cellular plan with the Apple Watch, the watch will now support international roaming if the plan supports it.

The Apple Watch Series 8 aluminium model comes in four colours, Midnight, Starlight, Silver and PRODUCT(RED). As for the stainless steel model, it will come in Silver, Gold and Graphite. There will be new bands introduced as well, along with new Nike and Hermes bands. The watch will be available for preorder today, with general availability from 16 September. Pricing starts from S$599.

Moving on to the new Apple Watch SE, it'll be coming in three colours: Midnight, Silver and Starlight as well as colour-matched backs. The more affordable watch will still come with the same motion sensors as the Series 8 for crash detection, as well as the new S8 chip from the Series 8 watches.

The Apple Watch SE will be available to order today, with availability on 16 September. Prices start at S$379.

Last but not least, the new Apple Watch Ultra is designed specifically for extreme users. You'll immediately notice the slightly raised protrusion around the Digital Crown and Side Button, which is a crown guard of sorts to protect the Digital Crown from knocks and impact. There's also a second orange button on the left side of the case called the Action Button, just below a new speaker vent design, allowing for instant transitions between sports for triathlons. The button will be customisable for a variety of functions. All buttons and the new Digital Crown are designed to work with gloves, so even if you're out hiking on a mountain, you won't have to fumble to use the watch.

The larger display covered by a sapphire crystal is also perfectly flat and clocks in at 2,000 nits brightness, and it'll certainly be more protected than the curved screen edges on the Apple Watch Series 8 and earlier Apple Watches.

The 49mm case is made from titanium, and the watch is certified to EN 13319 and has a diving depth of 40 metres for scuba divers, along with WR 100 water resistance. The watch is excellent for scuba diving, with a new Oceanic Plus app created by Huish Outdoors that turns the watch into a dive computer for dive planning.

The GPS has been improved here, with a new GPS chip that supports L1 and L5 GPS. For hikers, there's also a trackback feature in case a user gets lost and needs to retrace their steps. The new Compass app in watchOS 9 will add Compass Waypoints to mark points of interest on a map, along with an 86-decibel siren that can be used if the user needs to be located by others.

Every Apple Watch Ultra will come with cellular, and the watch will be able to last 36 hours or 60 hours extended with a new low-power setting. The low power mode will allow for the watch to last through most long-distance triathalons.

There is also a new watch face for the Apple Watch Ultra that also comes with a night mode, turning the details red for visibility in darker conditions. The watch face will be customisable for mountain, ocean or trail workouts.

The watch straps offered are also completely new, with the Alpine loop that comes with a woven band that has loops for the watch hook to securely attach to. The Ocean band is made with moulded elastomer that will be able to stretch over a wetsuit. The Trail loop is a lightweight band that Apple says is their thinnest so far.

The Apple Watch Ultra will be available from 23 September onwards for S$1,199, which might seem expensive, but when compared to other similar watches from brands like Garmin, is actually relatively affordable.

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