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Apple Watch Series 8: expected release date, leaks and rumours

T3 logo T3 1/22/2022 Michelle Rae Uy
Apple Watch Series 7 © Provided by T3 Apple Watch Series 7

A new year means a whole new set of Apple products to keep the rumour mill busy for months, among them the next-generation Apple Watch Series 8, on which a lot is riding. 

Don’t get us wrong; the current best Apple Watch contender, Series 7, is impressive in its own right, touting an even better screen, better build, and faster charging. It really is the best smartwatch you can buy. However, next to the improvements Apple Watch Series 6 has brought to the line, especially over its predecessor, the Series 7 seems just a step above an incremental update. And, it doesn’t bring enough updates to convince most Series 6 owners.

So, it’s only fair to expect a lot more from the rumoured Apple Watch Series 8, which is expected to launch in September 2022. Some are hoping for glucose, alcohol, and blood pressure sensors – not to mention, a processor faster than the S7, which is just a more power-efficient S6 chip to support that bigger display without sacrificing battery life. However, hopes seem dashed on the former as Bloomberg Apple expert Mark Gurman has predicted otherwise.

What can we expect from the Apple Watch Series 8 then? Well, a body temperature sensor could still be likely, especially with the ebb and flow of COVID-19. As is a more powerful chipset. Fans also are hoping for improved workout and sleep tracking at the very least, especially if the aforementioned sensors aren’t due for an appearance.

While none of these is massive enough to excite Series 6 and Series 7 owners, it’s still very early in the year, which means speculations are slim. We guarantee that more exciting news and rumours about the Series 8 will roll out in the next few months. And, we’re here to keep track of them all, updating this page to share with you any that reach our desks.

Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming Apple Watch Series 8 so far.

Apple Watch Series 8: expected release date

With the exception of the Apple Watch Series 7, which saw an October 15, 2021 release date likely due to production and quality issues, Apple has been rolling out its smartwatches in September of every year since 2016. 

So, unless the Apple Watch Series 8 suffers similar setbacks, we should see it officially announced and made available for pre-order in mid-September then hitting the shelves a week later. 

Although, to temper your expectations, we’re still in the middle of a global supply chain shortage and a pandemic – not to mention, consumer inflation and surging demands. While it didn’t look like any of those affected the release of the previous models, it’s still good to keep them in mind.

Either way, all signs (so far) point to a late Q3 to early Q4 release, just in time for the gift-giving season.

Apple Watch Series 8: expected price 

It’s speculated that the Apple Watch Series 8 will have the same asking price as the Apple Watch Series 6 and 7. 

There’s no reason to think otherwise. After all, the Series 6 kept the same US prices for all its models as the Series 5 despite the big updates it offered, and so has the Series 7 despite the noticeable improvements on its display and battery.

So, we expect the Apple Watch Series 8 in aluminium to cost around $399 / £369 / AU$599 for its base smaller display GPS variant and around $499 / £469 / AU$749 (plus the cost of the additional data plan) for its smaller display LTE variant. Things should get pricier from there, especially when you get into the steel cases.

Apple Watch Series 8: rumoured features 

Since it’s very early in the year, rumours surrounding the next-generation Apple Watch aren't exactly piling up. However, that’s likely to change in the next few months as we inch closer to its expected release date.

That doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to talk about now. Breadcrumbs have started to drop as early as October 2021 with Analyst Ross Young suggesting that there could be three size options next year, the third being possibly bigger than the current 45mm model. We don’t know how an even bigger display would be received by most, but it could still be a boon for some Apple Watch users (especially if Apple follows the Series 7 model of considerably slimming the bezels to keep the case size down).

Meanwhile, @LeaksApplePro has released CAD files and images on Twitter showing an unofficial render of the next-generation smartwatch that bears just one minor, noticeable change: an extra speaker grille on the side of the case. This seems to be in line with speculations that the Series 8 is not going to offer any massive upgrades.

For a while, there was a bit of chatter about it coming with sensors to monitor glucose, alcohol levels, and blood pressure, as well as body temperature. However, Bloomberg’s own Apple expert, Mark Gurman, has gone on record to say that “blood pressure is at least two to three years away” while glucose monitoring is unlikely to land “until later in the second half of the decade." He also said that the “chatter about [body temperature sensor] has slowed down recently,” although considering that many of Apple Watch rivals have had this feature for years, it’s too early to take it off the table.

Meanwhile, a new Apple patent uncovered by Patently Apple suggests that Apple might get rid of the Digital Crown altogether, opting instead for new optical sensors (pun intended). If Apple rolls this feature out on the Series 8, it could be the upgrade the smartwatch needs to make it a worthwhile purchase for Series 6 and Series 7 users.

While this isn’t an Apple Watch Series 8 feature per se, in December 2021, reputable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said it could be joined by two other wearables: a new Apple Watch SE and a rugged sports model. If this rumoured model turns out to be yet another incremental update, consumers might be appeased having two other options to consider.

Apple Watch Series 8: what we want to see

Beyond the rumoured features above, there are a few other things we’d like to see on the Apple Watch Series 8. 

To start with, a more powerful chipset would be appreciated. The Series 7 may have an S7 chip, but it isn’t exactly new, just the S6 only revamped to be more power-efficient to keep up with the more demanding display without sacrificing battery life. It offers, therefore, the same 18-hour battery rating as the Series 6 while supporting a display that’s not only bigger but also brighter. It would be great to see Apple actually give the Series 8 a whole new chipset, one that’s not only more powerful but can also deliver an even longer battery life.

Speaking of battery life, Apple has made strides in terms of longevity, but it still isn’t enough next to Samsung Galaxy Watch 4’s 40-hour one, let alone Fitbit Sense’s up to 6-day charge. At the very least, we’d like to see the Series 8 offer a 24-hour battery life, alongside Series 7’s fast charging capabilities.

Apple’s smartwatches have generally done a great job tracking workouts and sleep. However, there are also opportunities for improvement here such as offering more heart rate alerts during workouts and deeper insights into sleeping habits.

Liked this? Then you should read up about the Apple Watch Series 8's big rival, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 next.

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