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Apple Watch 8 vs. Apple Watch 7 — biggest upgrades to expect

apple watch series 8 vs apple watch series 7
(Image credit: Front Page Tech / Tom's Guide)

Wondering how the Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Apple Watch Series 7 will be different? So are we. We’ve been tracking all the rumors about Apple’s upcoming smartwatch, but what we know so far is mostly speculation.

Compared to the Apple Watch 7, the Apple Watch 8 might offer an updated design and added health or fitness-tracking sensors. It could arrive alongside multiple new Apple Watch models, too.

The Apple Watch 8 could also be more similar to the Apple Watch 7 than expected. In the past, Apple Watch upgrades have been mostly incremental. That’s why we’re not expecting sweeping changes to the Apple Watch 8, but it will still hope to see new specs of features that make the best smartwatch even better.

Here are the biggest rumored differences between the Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Apple Watch Series 7, from price and design to feature and battery life. 

Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Series 7: Price

Apple has held steady on the same Apple Watch prices for several years, so we expect the Apple Watch 8 price will match the price of the Apple Watch 7. The Apple Watch 7 starts at $399 for the 41mm model, with premiums for the larger 45mm model and cellular connectivity. You can often find the Apple Watch 7 on sale with the best Apple Watch deals, too.

What could be different is the availability of a new, lower-cost Apple Watch model — we're talking about the Apple Watch SE 2, a follow-up to the Apple Watch SE. We think the Apple Watch SE is the the best Apple Watch value, offering most modern features for $279 (or less, with deals.)

Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Series 7: Design

The bigger Apple Watch 7 sizes introduced a minor design change compared to the Apple Watch Series 4 through Apple Watch Series 6. The current flagship Apple Watch is slightly curvier than before, with slimmer bezels around the display. Apple made the Series 7 design more dust-resistant as well.

We could see the Apple Watch Series 8 design look similar, if not identical to the Apple Watch Series 7. Or, we could finally get the long-rumored, flat-edged redesign that would mean the Apple Watch taking aesthetic cues from iPhone. Tipster Jon Prosser shared a series of renders earlier this year, claiming he's seen a flat-edged Apple Watch, though he doesn't know when or if it'll actually materialize.

Another new design we've heard about is a rugged version of the Apple Watch Series 8. This model has been mentioned several times by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, who believes Apple is working on an alternative design for outdoor sport enthusiasts. 

Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Series 7: Features

Most of the Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Apple Watch Series 7 experience will be similar thanks to the release of watchOS 9. As one of the watchOS 9 support devices, existing Apple Watch Series 7 units will get new running features, added sleep-tracking metrics, the Medications app for keeping tabs on different prescriptions or pills, an AFib history tool and more. 

Of course, the Apple Watch Series 8 will ship with watchOS 9. It's also possible the Apple Watch Series 8 will get a few special watchOS 9 features, the way the Apple Watch Series 7 comes with exclusive watch faces and a QWERTY keyboard in watchOS 8.

There's also a chance the Apple Watch Series 8 comes with a health sensor that the Apple Watch Series 7 doesn't have. Blood pressure monitoring is probably not happening (even though the best Samsung watches like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 have the feature) but the Series 8 could come with a kind of built-in temperature sensor.

Some rumors about of the Apple Watch 8 body temperature sensor say it's happening, while others are less optimistic. Mark Gurman suggested the temperature sensor could be used to inform select features such as fertility at first, rather than telling users their skin temperature on-demand.

Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Series 7: Battery life

Like the models before it, the Apple Watch Series 7 offers 18 hours of battery life with regular fitness tracking, sleep-tracking and the always on display enabled. We're familiar with daily charging at this point, though it's been enhanced by the Apple Watch 7 fast charging feature.

We won't get our hopes up that the Apple Watch Series 8 will last longer, but there is an interesting rumor about improved battery life management. Mark Gurman has alluded to a low-power mode that could optimize the upcoming Apple Watch's stamina. If true, this would be one of the biggest changes to Apple Watch battery life in a while.

Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Series 7: Outlook

Apple set the smartwatch bar high for itself several years ago, which is why the incremental improvements continue to pay off. But competing smartwatches are getting better — not quite good enough yet to beat Apple at its own game, though the gap is closing. The Google Pixel Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 are the top challengers expected later this year.

Though we won't know the details until an official announcement, key Apple Watch 8 upgrades could make the flagship unbeatable. We hope at least some of the rumored difference discussed above will come to fruition. 

Kate Kozuch
Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is an editor at Tom’s Guide covering smartwatches, TVs and everything smart-home related. Kate also appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account (opens in new tab), which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her on an exercise bike, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.