The announcement of some amazing new watchOS 9 features has us all stoked for the launch of of the next Apple smartwatch, which would be called the Apple Watch Series 8 if history is anything to go by. It’s expected to arrive alongside the iPhone 14 later this year and offer a number of important upgrades on previous models. Read on as we tell you what you really need to know about the device, based on the latest Apple Watch Series 8 specs, price and release date rumours.
The Apple Watch Series 8 is set to be the successor to last year’s Apple Watch Series 7, which we currently rate as the overall best smartwatch money can buy. If the latest Apple Watch 8 rumours are anything to go by, it’ll be a pretty major update, with a design overhaul tipped as well as a new ruggedised variant chock full of fresh fitness functionality.
In addition to the new flagship wrist tech, there could also be room for an Apple Watch SE 2 upgrade. The first model was announced in 2020, and Apple could look to refresh its more affordable offering now it’s officially the entry-level Apple Watch – the arrival of watchOS 9 at WWDC heralding the beginning of the end for the Apple Watch 3.
Want to learn even more? Here’s everything we know so far about this year’s new Apple smartwatch, starting with the Apple Watch 8 specs we can hope to see.
- Related: read our full Apple Watch Series 7 review
Apple Watch Series 8: rumoured specs, design and new features
Among the many WWDC 2022 highlights, we got our first proper glimpse of watchOS 9, which should launch alongside the Apple Watch 8 in a few months time. It gives us a number of major clues as to what to expect from Apple’s next flagship smartwatch, as in addition to offering the usual goody bag of fresh watch faces, it’s brimming with new health and fitness features – especially those aimed at runners and outdoor athletes.
This chimes nicely with the Apple Watch 8 rumours suggesting that a third Apple Watch model could be released this year. Right now, the Apple Watch is offered in 41mm and 45mm models – the size being that of the watch case – but analyst Ross Young of Display Supply Chain Consultants thinks the Series 8 could see the birth of a trio.
It’s gossip that sits neatly with a report by respected Apple insider Mark Gurman of Bloomberg, who in one his recent Power On newsletter instalments posited that the Apple Watch Series 8 would also be available in a ruggedised version aimed at outdoorsy types.
Given one of the most exciting new watchOS 9 features is the ability for triathletes to toggle swiftly between the Apple Watch’s running, cycling and swimming modes, we think there’s a reasonable chance this one comes good later this year.
Why? Well, throw together the bevvy of new health and fitness features in watchOS 9, coupled with multiple reports that a new Apple Watch 8 variant is in the works, and you’ve got one pretty weighty rumour. Plus, it could be a shrewed business move for Apple, given Garmin’s wares currently dominate the best GPS sports watch debate and generally rule the dedicated running watch roost.
WWDC also gave us a new 2022 MacBook Air, which at first glance would seem mostly unrelated to the Apple Watch Series 8. But there are clues to be found here, too, as the MacBook Air has been on the receiving end of a flat design refresh – something the Apple Watch 8 has also been linked to.
Twitter tipster ShrimpApplePro for one is throwing their weight behind a new flat Apple Watch display, as has YouTuber Jon Prosser in one of his videos.
- Check out the best new iOS 16 features
A flatter Apple Watch display was actually first rumoured for the Series 7 and failed to materialise, leading some to believe it was just wishful thinking, Yet the flatter screens of the current gen iPhone 13 family, and now the new MacBook Air, has us feeling that flat design could be a major theme of this year’s new Apple releases.
- Read our full iPhone 13 review
Apple Watch Series 8: release date window
The Apple Watch 8 release date hasn’t been confirmed by the company, though it does have a strong historic pattern when it comes to launching the product.
It typically does so at the same autumn event it debuts the new iPhone, which typically falls on the second (or sometimes first) Tuesday of September, releasing the product shortly thereafter.
There have been slighty deviations in previous years, but not by much. Take a look for yourself:
- Series 1 and Series 2 release date: September 16, 2016
- Series 3 release date: September 22, 2017
- Series 4 release date: September 21, 2018
- Series 5 release date: September 20, 2019
- Series 6 and SE release date: September 18, 2020
- Series 7 release date: October 15, 2021 (announced September 14, 2021)
Based on the 2022 calendar, we therefore predict that the Apple Watch Series 8 will launch on Tuesday, September 13. It could be released a week or two later, though don’t be surprised if some or all models don’t start shipping until October based on what happened last year and current challenges in the global tech supply chain.
Apple Watch Series 8: potential price
When it comes to the Apple Watch 8’s price, we’re once again limited to educated guesswork. The Apple Watch 7 starts at £369 but can rise as high as £1449 for the most luxurious model. Expect to see similar pricing in the main, though if there is a new ruggedised third model aimed at outdoor athletes, that one could cost a fair bit more to strap on.
- Read next: the best macOS Ventura features you should know about