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

Data from a workout showing on the screen of the Apple Watch Series 8.
Apple Watch Series 8 Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The iPhone 15 is not the only new product that Apple is expected to reveal soon. The Apple Watch Series 9 is also rumored to debut in the coming weeks. This raises the question of whether you should opt for the current Series 8 or hold off and wait for the new wearable device.

I would typically suggest holding off for a few weeks and waiting for the latest model to be released. However, based on the rumors surrounding the Apple Watch Series 9, there might be a few reasons why waiting might not be the best option for you.

It’s important to consider that the Apple Watch Series 8 is already a fantastic device that offers a wide range of features and capabilities. It boasts an always-on retina display, advanced fitness tracking, and the ability to make phone calls and send texts without needing your iPhone nearby. It is also compatible with many apps that can help you stay organized, productive, and entertained on the go. If you’re currently in the market for a new smartwatch, the Series 8 is undoubtedly a great option to consider. However, if you are someone who always wants to have the latest and greatest technology, then waiting for the Series 9 might be worth it. Here’s why.

The Apple Watch Series 9 should be faster

Apple Watch SE with widgets screen.
Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

The Apple Watch Series 9 is expected to be faster than its predecessors, thanks to a new chipset that should bring much better performance.

Apple Watches use the Apple S-series chips, with the current Apple Watch Series 8 sporting the S8. This chip is nearly identical to the S7 on the Apple Watch Series 7 and the S6 on the Apple Watch Series 6. There hasn’t been much change on this front in recent years.

According to Mark Gurman from Bloomberg, the S9 chip in the upcoming Apple Watch Series 9 is expected to have innovative chip technology. Specifically, the chip will utilize the same technology incorporated in the A15 chip of the iPhone 14. The new chip should offer faster performance and better efficiency — likely resulting in a better user experience across the board.

We’re also expecting better battery life

Activating Low Power Mode on an Apple Watch Ultra.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The S9 chip could also bring something Apple Watch users have been clamoring for: better battery life.

The 2022 Apple Watch Ultra boasts 36 hours of battery life between charges, which was huge news when the wearable device was announced. The reason? The Apple Watch Series 8 and older models, like the Apple Watch SE 2, have only offered 18 hours.

You probably shouldn’t expect the Apple Watch Series 9 to offer 36 hours of battery life between charges, but something beyond 20 hours would be nice, no? It’s unclear how much battery life will be improved, but it should be better — and that’s all that matters.

More software updates

Man wearing the Apple Watch SE 2 and typing on a MacBook.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

There’s another reason you might want to wait and purchase an Apple Watch Series 9. No matter if you’re an early adopter or a late one, once a company like Apple retires a product version, the countdown is on for when certain things end. For example, this eventually means you can no longer add software updates to the product. In other words, an Apple Watch Series 9 purchased in a few weeks will have at least 12 more months of software updates than an Apple Watch Series 8 purchased today.

Apple’s products receive several years of support, so this may not be significant in the short term, especially if you replace your devices every few years. Nonetheless, it’s still worth acknowledging.

And … that’s about it

The Apple Watch Ultra with the Apple Watch Series 8 and Watch SE 2.
From left, Apple Watch SE 2, Apple Watch Series 8, and Apple Watch Ultra Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Beyond a new chipset and what it will entail, the Apple Watch Series 9 probably won’t be all that different from the current model. And in many respects, that’s a shame.

Rumors have long suggested Apple was planning to bring nonintrusive blood glucose monitoring to the wearable device. Sure, it’s possible Apple could surprise us and add this to the Apple Watch Series 9 and the second-generation Apple Watch Ultra, though I wouldn’t count on it.

It’s also unlikely Apple plans on bringing any of the advanced features found on the Apple Watch Ultra to the less expensive Apple Watch Series 9, such as increased display brightness and better water resistance.

Why the Apple Watch Series 8 is still worth it

The World Time watch face showing on the Apple Watch SE 2.
Apple Watch Series 8 Andy Boxall/Digital Trends / Digital Trends

As you can see, the Apple Watch Series 9 isn’t expected to be all that different from the Apple Watch Series 8. Because of this, you should also consider not waiting and purchasing what’s already on the market.

The Apple Watch Series 8, just like the Apple Watch Series 9, will be compatible with the upcoming watchOS 10 software update, which is shaping up to be the most significant update in years. WatchOS 10 will be released to the public around the same time as the Apple Watch Series 9 launch and includes a range of exciting new features.

The latest update for the Apple Watch features a stunning visual overhaul for popular built-in apps like Weather, Stocks, Messages, World Clock, and Apple Maps. The Activity app will also have new sharing options and better integration with Apple Fitness+. The watchOS 10 update also adds fresh watch faces (such as Snoopy); cycling, golf, and tennis modes; and helpful mental health, mindfulness, and vision health tools.

An Apple Watch Series 8 with the screen on.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Beyond this, the Apple Watch Series 8 includes all the fitness and health tools that make the Apple Watch lineup the world’s top-selling smartwatch. This includes an Emergency SOS feature, cardio fitness notifications, a blood oxygen app, and more.

If you are still not convinced that the Apple Watch Series 8 is a better choice, consider the price differences. Although you’ll never find discounts on the Apple Watch Series 8 on the Apple website, the same can’t be said for elsewhere. Amazon, Best Buy, and other retailers will almost certainly start discounting the model as the newer one’s release date nears. Some discounts could be substantial, depending on the case size and color.

When in doubt

If getting a considerable discount isn’t that big of a concern, and you don’t need a new Apple Watch today, it’s best to wait it out for the Apple Watch Series 9. The iPhone 15 is expected to be announced in mid-September and arrive in stores before the end of next month. History suggests the new Apple Watch models will be announced and released on the same days. In other words, it won’t be long.

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