Apple Watch Series 9 release date, price, display, double tap gesture and more

Apple September Event 2023
(Image credit: Apple | YouTube)

Update: Check out our Apple Event live blog for the latest from Cupertino on the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Pro Max, Apple Watch Series 9 and more.

The Apple Watch Series 9 has arrived. Apple's next-gen smartwatch became official at the Apple event on September 12, and now we know all the biggest upgrades to expect compared to the Apple Watch Series 8.

Shipping with watchOS 10, the Apple Watch Series 9 introduces an improved S9 SiP, a faster Siri experience upgraded U2 ultrawide-band capabilities and a versatile double-tap gesture. A brighter display, new pink aluminum finish are also welcome. What's more, a number of sustainability-minded production changes (including a 100% recycled cobalt battery) debut with the Series 9. It's Apple's first carbon-neutral product, with a logo affirming so on the box. 

While the lack of flashy features seems like this year's flagship will feel like a modest upgrade, it seems like updates under-the-hood make the Apple Watch that much more capable of a device. Here's everything you need know about the Apple Watch Series 9.

Apple Watch Series 9 cheat sheet

  • New S9 SiP introducing big performance upgrades with 5.6 billion transistors, 30% faster GPU, and 4-core neural engines that can power machine learning two times faster than Apple Watch Series 8.
  • On-wrist Siri communications now take place entirely on-wrist, with faster processing plus 25% more accurate dictation.
  • The upgraded U2 ultrawide-band chip makes finding your iPhone easier, and powers new proximity-based experiences between your Apple Watch and HomePod
  • The display now reaches 2000 nits and goes does to 1 nit.
  • Introduces a double-tap gesture that can uses index finger and thumb on your watch hand to control apps, launch Smart Stack and more.
  • An all-new pink finish joins the familiar color options.
  • The Apple Watch Series 9 is Apple's first certified carbon neutral product, offering a number of changes from production to packaging and band designs.

Apple Watch Series 9 release date

Apple Watch Series 9 pre-orders begin today, September 12, and then goes on sale September 22.

The Apple Watch Series 9 launches alongside the Apple Watch Ultra 2, while the Apple Watch SE (2022) remains available to purchase.

Apple Watch Series 9 price

The Apple Watch Series 9 has the same as the Apple Watch Series 8. The watch has a starting price of $399 for the 41-millimeter, GPS-only model. The price is $499 for the GPS + cellular version. The 45-millimeter size, meanwhile, will starts at $429 and goes up to $529 for cellular support. 

There are two additional Apple Watch models available now, including the $799 Apple Watch Ultra 2 and Apple Watch SE (2022), which starts at $249.

Apple Watch Series 9 design

The Apple Watch Series 9 design might not look much different that the Apple Watch Series 8, coming in the iconic squircle design with a digital crown and side button. It's again available in 41mm and 45mm sizes and an array of color options; however, new for Series 9 is a fun pink color that matches the new pink iPhone 15.

Also in terms of appearances, the Apple Watch Series 9 has the brightest display of the flagship lineup yet, reaching up to 2000 nits. That should make it easier to see in sunny conditions, though the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is still the brightness Apple Watch overall, achieving up to 3000 nits brightness.

Apple September Event 2023

(Image credit: Apple | YouTube)

While you can't really see the rest of the design changes, they are certainly impactful. As Apple's first fully carbon-neutral product, the Apple Watch Series 9 is now made with 100% recycled aluminum, recycled interior metals, and a battery made entirely of recycled cobalt. 

With the Apple Watch Series 9, Apple debuted some fresh watch bands that also help fulfill Apple's carbon-neutral by 2030 mission. The new Sport Loop is made of 82% recycled yarn, while the move away from all leather bands results in a material called Fine Woven for new band styles. 

Apple Watch Series 9 specs and performance

The Apple Watch Series 9 received two big performance boosts under the hood: the new S9 processor and U2 ultrawide-band chip.

Giving the Apple Watch it's first true processor improvement since the Apple Watch Series 9, the S9 SiP features 5.6 billion transistors, 30% faster GPU animations, and 4-core neural engines that can power machine learning twice as fast compared to the Apple Watch Series 9.

The S9 also supports a stronger Siri experience, allowing for all processing to take place on-device for faster response. Dictation is supposed to be 25% more accurate, too. Soon, Siri will also be able to communicate your health data with you for quick insights on your heart rate, medications and more.

As for the U2 chip, now, finding your iPhone with your Apple Watch is easier with directions that take you to your smartphone. The U2 chip also powers new proximity HomePod experiences, prompting you to start music from your wrist when you approach your smart home speaker. 

Apple Watch Series 9 battery life

The Apple Watch Series 9 has the same "all-day" 18 hour battery life. It still gets low power mode, that lets it last longer with reduced functionality, though. 

Apple Watch Series 9 outlook

The Apple Watch Series 9 doesn't have a large list in-your-face upgrades, making it seem like an incremental improvement. That said, the sweeping improvements to the S9 SiP suggests using the Apple Watch Series 9 could feel a lot smoother than before, but that's something we'll have to test out for ourselves.

Beyond the actual functionality of the watch, it's pretty exciting to see how Apple Watch is at the forefront of Apple's carbon neutral missions. The company made it clear that the changes made for the newest family of Apple Watch devices are paving the way for other products.  

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.