Apple Announces Three New Watches

The new Apple flagship Watch has a host of new features to help backpackers and adventure seekers.

While the world rushes to their nearest Apple store to get their hands on the new Apple iPhone 14 with the dynamic island feature, the American giant has released a host of new smartwatches as well – Apple Watch Ultra, Apple Watch Series 8, and Apple Watch SE.

Apple Watch Ultra

The all new Apple Watch Ultra is the biggest news in the watch world this year. This rugged watch is explicitly aimed towards adventurers and athletes.

This new model gets an aerospace-grade titanium case measuring in at 49mm, the largest ever in the Apple Watch lineup. While still keeping the recognizable Apple Watch design, the case has been altered for increased durability and protection. The titanium case is positioned a notch higher over the sapphire crystal display to protect it from impacts. The Digital Crown is now larger with more defined grooves and gets a very pronounced “crown guard”. The side button is also raised from the edge of the case to make it easy to operate even while wearing gloves.

On the other side of the watch you get a new button known as the “Action Button” this can be customized as per the user. One can use the button to track a multi-stage activity like a triathlon and switch to the next phase of the race, or use it to run a shortcut.

The always on Retina display on the Apple Watch ultra goes up to 2,000 nits of brightness, double the amount on the new Apple Watch Series 8. It gets an extra speaker, new microphone and the biggest battery on an Apple Watch till date, rating the battery life at 36 hours, once again double the amount on the Series 8 which is 16 hours. Moreover, a battery optimization setting will be introduced this year which could possibly push the battery life up to 60 hours.

The new Apple Watch Ultra also includes a new dual-frequency GPS to create a significantly more accurate readout. This should enable users to get accurate GPS mappings in difficult conditions.

The Apple Watch Ultra has been certified to work in extremely harsh conditions. It has been tested to the subsections of the US MIL-STA 810H military standard for altitude, high and low temperatures, temperature shock, freezing, thawing, impacts from shocks and vibrations. The watch also has a water resistance rating upto 100 meters and it gets a depth gauge and water temperature sensor to gather metrics during dives.

The WatchOS’s existing compass feature has been reconditioned for the Apple Watch Ultra. Now, the app allows you to set waypoints such as campsites and a new feature called “Backtrack” which displays a line showing your exact route that you have taken to get to where you are, allowing you to easily retrace your footsteps during your adventures. In case you lose connectivity, Backtrack will automatically turn on. There is also a “night mode” that changes the Apple Watch Ultra’s display to a red color for greater night time visibility. The watch also gets a built-in 86 decibel siren which can be triggered to alert anyone in the range of 600 feet, a great way to get attention if you get trapped somewhere.

Apple is releasing three Ultra-exclusive Apple Watch bands: Trail loop, Ocean Band, and Alpine Loop. Each strap is designed for a specific activity. The Alpine Loop is for outdoor adventures, the Trail Loop for endurance athletes, and the Ocean Band is designed for extreme water sports and recreational diving.

All Apple Watch Ultra models will be available for $799 and include both GPS and Cellular.

Apple Watch Series 8

The display and case design remains the same but the Series 8 gets a host of new sensors. Starting off with the temperature sensor. This sensor samples your body temperature from your wrist overnight every five seconds and tracks this data in the iOS Health app. It utilizes the metric for tracking menstrual cycles as well. The new Series 8 also gets a new 3-axis gyroscope and high g-force accelerometer. The watch uses these sensors in conjunction with GPS, barometer, and microphone to detect if you’ve been in a car crash. This can only be activated while you’re driving and will automatically contact emergency services and notify your emergency contacts if it detects you’ve been in a car crash.

This year also marks the introduction of Low Power Mode in the Series 8. Upon activating Low Power Mode, it will disable power hungry features of the WatchOS such as the always on display, automatic workout detection, etc. This feature will be available on Apple watches Series 4 or later. On the Series 8 however, gets a 16 hour battery life and the low power mode should increase the battery life to upto 36 hours.

The Apple Watch Series 8 starts off at $399 for aluminum GPS-only models, $499 for the aluminum cellular models, and $699 for stainless steel models which come with GPS + Cellular.

Apple Watch SE

The Apple watch SE receives minor upgrades such as new color options which include silver, midnight, and starlight, all available in aluminum finishes. It even gets a redesigned caseback made from nylon composite materials. The new SE benefits from the same new motion sensors found on the Series 8, allowing it to support the new crash detection mode. The Apple Watch SE comes in at $249 for GPS and $299 for GPS and cellular.

You can order the watches on Apple’s website and shipping will begin late September or early October. Any Apple Watch purchase will include three months of Apple Fitness+ for free.

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