This comes from Bloomberg reporter and regular Apple tipster Mark Gurman, who claims: “I’d also expect the low-power mode I’ve long discussed as part of watchOS 9 to show up as a new hardware-exclusive feature.”
One of the biggest hurdles for even the best smartwatches to overcome is battery life. The current Apple Watch 7 offers only 18 hours of battery life, which might seem like a lot but won’t get you through much more than a day's worth of proper use; skimp on the fitness tracking features and you’ll get two days worth of use, which is still not a lot for a wearable device. I found the same is broadly true of the Apple Watch SE I've been using.
But a low power mode for the Apple Watch 8, or a suite of new Apple Watches — as Gurman has a new SE model tipped as well as a rugged Apple Watch — could be the antidote to smartwatch battery anxiety.
How this will be achieved isn't clear. Gurman has the Apple Watch 8 and Apple Watch SE tipped to use the S8 chip, which will reportedly have the same specs as the existing S7 chip. Yet knowing Apple we’d be confident that some optimization will be done on both the hardware and software side to improve power efficiency and thus battery life. Apparently, we’ll have to wait until next year to get an “all-new” Apple Watch processor.
Gurman also noted that the current Apple Watch SE will slide into the same price point as the Apple Watch 3, with the next SE model taking the spot as the entry-level Apple Watch option. There was no mention of a new design or extra features, but we can expect the new Apple Watch SE to be more powerful and capable than the current model.
As for the rugged Apple Watch 8, it’s expected to take advantage of the boosted workout tracking features watchOS 9 brings in. The ability to be able to move between tracking swimming, biking and running Gurman claims is especially relevant to an extreme sport watch. We could see a rugged Apple Watch 8 appealing to multi-sport athletes, such as those who enjoy triathlons.
With the Apple Watch 8 likely to launch at the same time as the iPhone 14 range, which we’re predicting will arrive September 13, we'd suggest it's worth waiting to see what the next-gen Apple Watch models have in store before getting a new Apple Watch.
If you're on the fence between the next Apple Watch and current model, check out our Apple Watch 8 vs Apple Watch 7 preview comparison.
Read next: The Apple Watch 8 just got tipped for huge 2-inch display.
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Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.