Apple Watch Series 9 — should you wait or get Apple Watch Series 8 now?

Apple Watch Series 8 shown on wrist
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Now that the Apple Watch Series 9 has made its big debut at the Apple September event, we now know how it compares to the Apple Watch 8. 

The Apple Watch 9 is available for preorder starting on September 12, and will be available on September 22, but what if you’re interested in buying an Apple Watch right now? The Apple Watch Series 8, released in September 2022, is the best smartwatch overall on the market — until we've had a chance to review the Series 9, that is.

Because the Apple Watch Series 8 is nearing the end of its cycle, the best Apple Watch deals have dropped the price, making it a tempting purchase. It’s a full-featured device for fitness-tracking, communication and safety, after all.

Yet there might be some differences between the Apple Watch Series 9 vs. Apple Watch Series 8 that would make it worth your while to wait. 

Based on what we know, we can help you decide whether to wait for the Apple Watch Series 9 or get the Apple Watch Series 8 now.

Apple Watch Series 9: New features

Here are the confirmed new features of the Apple Watch Series 9

Apple Watch Series 9: Updated processor

The Apple Watch processor hasn’t received a true performance upgrade since the Apple Watch Series 6, but that’s changed with the Apple Watch Series 9, which sports a new S9 SIP processor with 5.6 billion transistors, a 30% faster GPU, and 4-core neural engines that can power machine learning two times faster than Apple Watch Series 8.

The new processor enables a number of new features, the most notable of which is double-tap, which lets you tap your thumb and forefinger together to control the watch, such as answering calls. It should be very helpful when your other hand is otherwise occupied. 

In addition, more Siri commands can now be processed on-watch, rather than relying on the cloud. 

And finally, an upgraded U2 ultrawide-band chip will make it easier to find your iPhone, as it will provide hyper-accurate directions. It also powers new proximity-based experiences between your Apple Watch and HomePod.

The new processor could be best equipped to handle the new widget-based Smart Stack feature in watchOS 10.

Apple Watch Series 9: New color option

In addition to the traditional color options, the Apple Watch Series 9 will also be offered in pink, to match one of the new colors being offered by the iPhone 15. 

What about Apple Watch Ultra 2?

We’ve seen multiple reports about the Apple Watch Ultra 2 being in the works, bringing upgrades to the original Apple Watch Ultra. For one, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 may feature a MicroLED display, according to Gurman. There’s also rumors about a more lightweight design thanks to 3D-printed parts, plus a possible dark titanium finish. Otherwise, there might not be much new between the Apple Watch Ultra 2 vs. Apple Watch Ultra

Should you buy Apple Watch Series 8 or wait for Apple Watch Series 9?

If you’d like a new smartwatch right now, get the Apple Watch Series 8. It’s a great device that’s designed to last several years thanks to software updates. In the fall, it’ll be eligible for watchOS 10, or the same software that’ll ship on the Apple Watch Series 9. Plus, with the current discounts, you’re getting an excellent piece of tech for less. 

We wouldn’t fret too much about buyer’s remorse. Reliable tipster Gurman has said that the Apple Watch Series 9 update will be “anything but major” and that we can expect “a more modest year” for the flagship Apple Watch model. 

At the very least, you might be able to still get the Apple Watch Series 8 at a steeper discount as retailers clear stock. Make sure to check out our guide on how to trade in your Apple Watch for more savings, too.

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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.