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Apple Watch Series 9: Is it Worth the Upgrade?

Apple's latest smartwatch, the Series 9, has arrived! But is it worth upgrading with so many Apple Watch models? This blog post goes into the features, upgrades, and battery life of the Series 9 to help you decide.


We'll also explore who might benefit most from this new model, compare it to other Apple Watches like the SE and Ultra, and finally help you decide if the Apple Watch Series 9 fits your wrist.

Apple Watch Series 9 - Is It Worth The Upgrade

Key Takeaways

  • Apple Watch Series 9 boasts a faster S9 SiP processor, enhancing hands-free capabilities and Siri performance.
  • It features an ultra-wideband chip for precise iPhone finding and a carbon-neutral design for sustainability.
  • The Snoopy watch face adds a playful touch, while the double-tap gesture enhances convenience.
  • Series 9 offers improved battery life with fast charging and up to 36 hours in low-power mode.
  • Consider upgrading if you're coming from older models or seeking the latest technology, but Series 7 or 8 owners may find the upgrades less significant.

What's New in Series 9?

What's New In Series 9

At first glance, the Series 9 looks similar to its predecessor, mirroring the trend of recent tech releases focusing on refinements rather than groundbreaking changes. This means you can still consider the Apple Watch SE, Series 7, and Series 8, which are readily available new or refurbished.


The most significant upgrade lies within the S9 SiP processor. It empowers the Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 to be the most intelligent Apple Watches yet, with a noticeable improvement in hands-free capabilities.


The S9 SiP fuels a faster Siri assistant, allowing you to manage tasks like starting workouts or adding reminders without relying on an internet connection, which can slow things down. Additionally, the S9 SiP facilitates the convenient double-tap gesture, a new way to control your watch one-handed (exclusive to Series 9 and Ultra 2).


Another noteworthy addition is the ultra-wideband chip, which enables more precise iPhone finding. Have you misplaced your phone? The Series 9 can guide you straight to it, even if it's buried behind furniture.


Apple Watch Series 9: Design

Apple Watch Series 9: Design

There haven't been any significant changes regarding the Apple Watch Series 9's design. Apple last tweaked the design with the Series 7, increasing the display size by 20%. However, with the Series 9, it's pretty much the same. Here are the key design features:


Rectangular Shape:

The Apple Watch's Series 9 maintains the rectangular shape that has become iconic for Apple Watches. It features an edge-to-edge OLED screen that provides a sleek and modern look.


Digital Crown:

On the side of the watch, you'll find the Digital Crown. This crown is a multifunctional control, allowing you to scroll, zoom, and interact with the watch interface.


Brighter Display:

The Series 9 boasts a display that's twice as bright as its predecessor, the Series 8. With a maximum brightness of up to 2,000 nits, it's easier to read in full sunlight. Additionally, it dims down to just one nit in low-light situations, such as in a movie theater.


This enhanced clarity makes checking the time, messages, or calendar events a breeze, even in direct sunlight.


Conversely, the watch face is now legible at a new lower brightness level, perfect for discreet time checks at the cinema or before bed. These improvements, while subtle, elevate the Series 9 above the Series 8.


Custom Apple Silicon:

The Series 9 features custom Apple silicon under the hood, making it more capable, intuitive, and faster. The dual-core CPU has 5.6 billion transistors (60% more than the S8 chip), and a 4-core Neural Engine processes machine learning tasks up to two times faster. This enables innovations like the double tap gesture, making using the watch easier.


Siri Gets a Boost: 

Siri requests processed on the Series 9 are faster and more secure. Siri dictation is also up to 25% more accurate. Starting workouts, adding shopping list items, pausing music, setting timers – these tasks are now handled swiftly by Siri on the Series 9.


You can now seamlessly control the HomePod from your watch, and Precision Finding helps you locate your iPhone with haptic feedback and visual indicators.


Carbon-Neutral Design:

Apple's commitment to sustainability continues with the Series 9. It's the company's first carbon-neutral product, achieved through materials, clean energy, and low-carbon shipping innovations. You can choose carbon-neutral case and strap combinations.


Apple Watch Series 9: Performance and Battery Life

Apple Watch Series 9: Performance And Battery Life

Performance:

  • The Apple Watch Series 9 features the S9 SiP (System in Package), which includes a 64-bit dual-core processor and a 4-core Neural Engine. This chip promises 25% improved power efficiency compared to previous models.

  • Despite boosting the retina display's brightness from 1,000 to 2,000 nits, the S9 chip efficiently manages the higher power demand, ensuring smooth performance without compromising battery life.

Battery Life:

  • Historically, Apple Watch models have touted an 18-hour "all-day" battery life. With average use, your smartwatch should need to be charged once daily.

  • The Series 9 supports fast charging, allowing it to reach 80% charge in just 45 minutes from dead.

  • Additionally, the watch includes a low-power mode that debuted alongside last year's model. By turning off certain battery-draining features (such as Always On Display and continuous heart rate monitoring), low power mode extends the battery life up to 36 hours.

Apple Watch Series 9: Double Tap

Apple Watch Series 9: Double Tap

Another critical update that enhances convenience and hands-free operation is the double-tap gesture, also available on the Apple Watch Ultra 2. Previously offered as an accessibility feature, it's now seamlessly integrated thanks to the S9 SiP. 


The Apple Watch Series 9 double tap feature is a convenient way to interact with your watch. Here's how it works:


Activation:

To enable double tap, head to the watch settings. You can find this under "Accessibility" ? "Touch" ? "Double Tap." Once activated, you can use it in various scenarios.


Customization:

You can choose what happens when you double-tap the screen. Here are some options:

  • Wake Screen: Double tapping can wake up the watch display, making checking the time or notifications easier.

  • Activate Siri: If you like voice commands, double tap to activate Siri. This way, you can ask questions, send messages, or control smart home devices without saying, "Hey, Siri."

  • Open an App: When you double-tap, choose a specific app (like Messages or Workout) to open. This provides quick access to your most-used features.

Sensitivity:

You can adjust the sensitivity of double tapping to your liking. Depending on how firmly you tap the screen, it will be more or less responsive.


Use Cases:

  • During Workouts: When you're out for a run or hitting the gym, double-tap to pause or resume your workout.

  • Quick Glance: Double tap to check notifications without fully waking up the watch. It's discreet and saves battery.

  • Hands-Free Interaction: Double-tap lets you perform actions without using the Digital Crown or swiping if your hands are occupied.

Apple Watch Series 9: watchOS 10

Apple Watch Series 9: Watchos 10

WatchOS 10 significantly transforms how the Apple Watch interacts with you. Glanceable widgets are now accessible by scrolling the digital crown, swiping the display, or using the double-tap gesture. 

WatchOS 10 brings exciting enhancements:

  • Redesigned Apps: Virtually every app has been revamped to provide more information at a glance.

  • Innovative Stack: The Smart Stack widget collection provides a valuable snapshot of your daily activity progress, current music or podcasts, unread messages, weather conditions, and upcoming calendar events. 

  • Insights for Mental and Vision Health: Keep track of your body and mind right from your wrist.

  • The software update also enhances the design of several watch apps, making them more visually appealing and information-rich. 

  • The revamped weather, sleep, world clock, and primary activity app interfaces are excellent. 

  • As with every Apple Watch update, WatchOS 10 includes a selection of new watch faces and additional features sprinkled throughout.

  • These include tracking your mood in the Health app, upgrading the hiking and cycling apps, and saving offline maps from your iPhone for later use.

Apple Watch Series 9: Fitness Tracking and Health

Apple Watch Series 9: Fitness Tracking And Health
  • The sensor array on the back of the Watch maintains the monitoring capabilities of its predecessor, including heart rate, blood oxygen levels, electrocardiograms, and skin temperature tracking.

  • The Series 9 offers extensive workout options, with real-time data displayed on the screen. Activities like cycling offer Live Activity synchronization with iPhones.

  • Notable advancements with watchOS 10 include enriched cycling mode with Power Zones, improved Bluetooth accessory compatibility, and enhanced hiking features like elevation visualization and topographic maps.

  • Health and safety functionalities in watchOS 10 and Series 9 include crash detection, fall detection, hearing protection, sun exposure tracking, emergency SOS, medication reminders, and mindfulness sessions.

  • Sleep tracking on the Series 9 yields comparable results to the Oura Ring but lacks detailed insights into sleep quality or improvement recommendations. The trade-off between sleep tracking and battery life impact may not justify its use.

  • Upcoming features like Siri's ability to relay health data address privacy concerns by processing data on the watch.

  • Fitness tracking on the Series 9 is user-friendly, with auto-tracking and a visually appealing "Rings" system for daily goals. However, data fragmentation between Health and Fitness apps on the iPhone can be frustrating.

  • While the Series 9 offers some depth in fitness tracking, it falls short in providing comprehensive advice for improvement beyond suggesting Apple's Fitness+ subscription.

  • Users seeking advanced features, enhanced battery life, and increased durability may consider options like the Apple Watch Ultra or Apple Watch Ultra 2. Garmin's smartwatches, such as the Forerunner 265 or Epix Pro Gen 2, cater to running, cycling, swimming, or triathlons.

Apple Watch Series 9 and its delightful Snoopy Watch face

Apple Watch Series 9 And Its Delightful Snoopy Watch Face

Snoopy Watch Face:

The Snoopy watch face is one of the cutest additions to watchOS 10. It brings the beloved Peanuts character, Snoopy, and his friend Woodstock to life on your Here's

Here's what makes the Snoopy watch face special:

  • Lively Interaction: Snoopy and Woodstock play with the watch hands, react to weather conditions, and even get active during workouts. They add a touch of whimsy to your day.

  • Wide Range of Animations: Each time you raise your hand, you'll be greeted with a different animation. Snoopy can be seen surfing, playing basketball, or giving you side looks.

  • Customization: You can personalize the background color and hour numbers to match your Apple Watch band. Wit'ser is a classy Nomad Aluminum Band or a sporty Nomad Blaze Limited Edition Sport Band, and Snoopy adapts it.

  • Always-On Display: For Apple Watches that support the always-on display, Snoopy and Woodstock appear while sleeping, adding a playful touch even when the screen is dimmed.

How to Get the Snoopy Face:

  • To use the Snoopy watch face, follow these steps:

  • Update your Apple Watch to watchOS 10.

  • On your iPhone, open the Watch app.

  • Tap on the Face Gallery tab in the bottom middle of the app.

  • Under New Watch Faces, select Snoopy.

  • Customize the colors and style by swiping left and rotating the Digital Crown.

  • Press the Digital Crown twice to save your changes.

Apple Watch Series 9: Price and Availability

Apple Watch Series 9: Price And Availability

Price:

In the United States, the 41-millimeter GPS-only model starts at $399, while the GPS + cellular version is priced at $499. The 45-millimeter size begins at $429 and goes up to $529 for cellular support.


Availability:

The Apple Watch Series 9 was launched on September 12, 2023, and became available in stores on September 22, 2023. Thus, the timepiece is now readily available for purchase.


It's available for order in over 40 countries, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan, the UAE, the UK, and the US.


Who Should Upgrade?

Apple Watch Series 9 Who Should Upgrade
  • Upgrading from an older Apple Watch SE, Series 5, or Series 6: The performance jump and new features make the Series 9 a worthwhile investment.

  • First-time Apple Watch buyer: The Series 9 is a great entry point, offering the latest technology and seamless pairing with your iPhone.

Who Can Hold Off?

Apple Watch Series 7 or Series 8 owners: The improvements are more subtle. Consider how vital faster performance and features like double-tap gesture and ultra-wideband precision finding are to you. Waiting for the next iteration might be wise if you're content with your current watch.


Final Thoughts: The Verdict

The Apple Watch Series 9 offers a compelling upgrade for those coming from a much older Apple Watch model or looking for their first smartwatch. Its faster processor, improved Siri performance, a convenient double-tap gesture, and a brighter display makes the Series 9 more capable and user-friendly.


However, if you own a Series 7 or 8, the upgrades might not be significant enough to warrant the cost.


No matter which Apple Watch you choose, taking good care of it is important. If your Apple Watch ever needs repairs, search for Apple Watch repair near me to find an authorized service provider to get your watch back in tip-top shape. With the right care, your Apple Watch can be a valuable companion for years.


FAQ's

Q. Should I upgrade to the Apple Watch Series 9 from the Series 8?

A. If you already own the Apple Watch Series 8 and are considering an upgrade to the Series 9, it ultimately depends on your needs and budget. The Series 9 offers some new features and improvements, such as a better battery life and enhanced health and fitness tracking. However, if your Series 8 still meets your requirements, you may not need to upgrade.


Q. What are the main differences between the Watch Series 9 and the older models?

A. The Apple Watch Series 9 improves on its predecessors, including new features and enhancements in health and fitness tracking. It offers a more advanced watch model with improved notification capabilities and is designed to work seamlessly with the latest iPhone 15 models.


Q. How does the Apple Watch Series 9 improve health and fitness tracking?

A. The Apple Watch Series 9 introduces new health and fitness features, such as enhanced blood oxygen monitoring and improved workout tracking. Its smartwatch functionalities help users achieve their health goals and provide valuable insights into their well-being.


Q. Does the Apple Watch Series 9 support compatibility with Apple devices?

A. The Apple watch series nine is designed to work with other Apple products, including the iPhone 15. Its compatibility ensures users enjoy a connected experience across all their Apple watches and devices.

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Apple Watch Series 9, Apple Watch Series 9 Review


Ravi Shah

About the author

Ravi Shah


Ravi is the head of Content Strategy at iFixScreens Corporate. With over a decade of experience writing technical content for his readers, Ravi has helped thousands of readers with helpful content, tips, and tricks. He mainly writes content related to gadget repairs, such as iPhones, Smartphones, tablets, and laptops.

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