The Apple Watch Series 8 appears to be on track for its typical fall release this year and while it will no doubt once again only cater to iPhone owners, that is unlikely to stop it from repeating as the most popular smartwatch on the market.
While Apple won't have anything to say about the new hardware until it takes the stage to announce it, there have been considerable leaks and rumors about the Apple Watch Series 8 going all the way back to before the launch of the Apple Watch 7 last year.
Here's a look at everything that we know so far regarding the Apple Watch Series 8 including the expected release date, pricing, specs and more.
Apple Watch Series 8: Release date
Apple is nothing if not consistent when it comes to the announcement of the Apple Watch and so while we have limited rumors regarding its release date we can still be fairly confident it will happen on September 13 this year.
This is based on the last three years of Apple Watch launches with the Series 5 arriving on September 10, 2019, followed by the Series 6 and Series SE on September 15, 2020 and finally the Series 7 on September 14, 2021. Those are all Tuesdays, so if Apple follows the same pattern we arrive at the September 13 projection.
The actual shipping date has been a bit less consistent, but most commonly Apple sticks to Friday the week after the announcement, which in this case would be September 23.
Apple Watch Series 8: Price
The expectation is that Apple will stick to its current pricing for the Apple Watch with the base model starting at $399. Upgrading to the cellular model should once again add $100 whether you get the base Apple Watch or on top of the $30 premium you'll pay for the larger model. Pricing for different case materials like Stainless Steel or Titanium will drive the price higher, presumably once again matching the current $699 and $799 price points.
The one wild card for pricing this year is the rumored Apple Watch Series 8 Pro, a high-end "rugged" model for extreme sports with a larger display that has been tipped by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman in his Power On newsletter and corroborated by others. We'll get into some of the potential specs for this model below, but pricing could start at $899 to stay above even the Titanium version, but that is simply speculation.
Apple Watch Series 8: Design
The design of the Apple Watch has undergone only minor changes over the years with last year's larger display representing one of the most significant updates, but things might be in for more of a shakeup this year. Ahead of the Apple Watch Series 7 launch a set of leaks from Jon Prosser in association with @IanZelbo and then a subsequent set of leaks from PhoneArena all showed a dramatic new design for the Apple Watch.
These renders, and the leaked schematics they were allegedly based on, revealed an Apple Watch that follows Apple's current flat-edge design language found on the majority of its lineup. It's possible that these leaks were just too early and the schematics were in fact for the Apple Watch Series 8. There have been notably fewer leaks regarding the Apple Watch 8 design this year, so for now this is all we have to go on.
The one exception is the aforementioned larger rugged model. Beyond the leaks from Mark Gurman, DSCC's Ross Young and Haitong International Securities' Jeff Pu have independently claimed that a 2-inch Apple Watch display is coming this year. That would represent a roughly 5% size bump from the largest Series 7 display.
Gurman claims this Pro model will feature "an evolution of the current rectangular shape, and not circular," but also refuted the flat-edge design and indicated it will use a titanium chassis with a more shatter-resistant display.
Apple Watch Series 8: Features
While watchOS 9 will bring a number of new features to current Apple Watch owners as well as Series 8 buyers, there are some potential new features exclusive to the Series 8. The most notable of these is a body-temperature sensor, while Gurman believes that the blood pressure sensor and blood glucose sensors that some have suggested may arrive are not coming until 2025 and beyond.
We also expect updates to the internals that may offer some performance enhancements and perhaps longer battery life, but there have been no direct leaks to offer any specific there.
While there are a number of excellent wearables in the market, the reality is that nothing is threating Apple's dominance, particularly for Apple users. So while the leaks and rumors so far point to a relatively minor update to the Apple Watch Series 8, that won't stop it from being another huge hit.
The Apple Watch does an excellent job as both a smartwatch and as a fitness and health tracker with features like the new prescription tracking further enhancing its utility for a broad range of users. The feature I would most like to see improvement on is the battery life. Particularly with Apple promoting it as a health tool that can play a vital role for some users, the need to charge daily feels like the most obvious Achilles heel for the otherwise class-leading smartwatch.
Stay tuned as we'll update with all of the latest leaks and rumors on the Apple Watch Series 8 right up until launch.