Apple Watch Series 9 — what to expect from the Apple event

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

The Apple Watch Series 9 will likely be revealed at the Apple event today. While we’re unpacking all the last-minute iPhone 15 rumors, you might be wondering more about what to expect from the Apple Watch lineup in 2023. 

Apple has released a new Apple Watch every year since the original, even introducing a few flagship alternatives such as the budget-friendly Apple Watch SE and sporty Apple Watch Ultra. During today’s Apple event, we’re expecting to see the Apple Watch Series 9 and a second-generation Apple Watch Ultra, or the Apple Watch Ultra 2

From what we’ve heard, this year’s family of Apple Watch models will receive modest updates. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, owners of the Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra are unlikely to pursue upgrades to the upcoming refreshes. This insight might suggest the Apple Watch-related updates we hear today might pale compared to iPhone 15 news. 

That said, there are a couple of hints into what ways the Apple Watch Series 9 vs. Apple Watch Series 8 will differ. For one, the Apple Watch Series 9 is believed to get its biggest performance update in years, with a fresh processor that should introduce the first significant improvement since the Apple Watch Series 6.

The Apple Watch Series 9 is reportedly getting a new optical heart rate sensor, too. The fourth-gen sensor could result in better accuracy for workout tracking, as well as Apple’s heart health features including irregular heart rate notifications and ECG readings. 

This heart rate sensor, in addition to Apple’s new U2 ultrawide-band chip for upgraded Find My functionality, should make its way to the Apple Watch Ultra 2. We’ve heard that not much else will be different between the Apple Watch Ultra 2 vs. Apple Watch Ultra.

Both the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra materials may be built using a new 3D printing manufacturing process Apple is allegedly testing to extend to more product lines. If true, the shift shouldn’t make an aesthetic difference. Instead, the Apple Watch Series 9 coming in pink and the Apple Watch Ultra 2 coming in a dark titanium could be the only way of differentiating the 2023 slate of devices from last year’s. 

Though we’ve heard an iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max price increase could dampen the mood of the Apple event, we haven’t heard such rumors for the new Apple Watch family. The Apple Watch Series 9 price should start at $399, with premiums for Cellular-capable models and the larger of two size options. The Apple Watch Ultra 2 will probably cost $799, coming in a single configuration. 

Last year, Apple staggered the release of the Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra. The flagship hit shelves on September 16, while the Apple Watch Ultra arrived on September 23. We’ll just have to wait for confirmation on when the devices become available, which we’ll learn at the Apple event.

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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.