Apple Watch Series 8: Features, specs, price, release date, and more

Apple Watch Series 8 hero
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple unveiled the Apple Watch Series 8 at its Far Out event on Sept. 7, 2022. It's now the middle child of the Apple Watch lineup, below the brand new kitchen-sink-and-all Apple Watch Ultra. But that doesn't mean it's forgotten. With some novel notable features and the potential for much longer battery life the Apple Watch Series 8 looks to be a worthy successor to last year's Series 7. 

But as our Apple Watch Series 8 review makes clear, "the Apple Watch Series 8 is an excellent piece of kit. It’s the best flagship watch the company has ever created," our reviewer noted. Here's everything you need to know about Apple's newest wearable device -- including watchOS 9.3.1, the latest version of the software powering Apple TV

Apple Watch Series 8: Design

(Image credit: Apple)

The Apple Watch Series 8 doesn't reinvent the wheel — it's not going to a circular design at all. In fact, the Series 8 looks exactly like the Series 7 that came before it. That means it's available in both 41mm and 45mm sizes. The Apple Watch Series 8 retains its crack-resistant front crystal and its Aluminum and Stainless Steel finish options. 

It is also certified IP6X dust resistant and water resistant up to 50 meters, as well as swimproof. 

Your old Apple Watch bands will fit the Series 8

Since there are no design or size changes to the Series 8, your old bands will also work with the new wearable, providing they are for the correct size. 

Apple Watch Series 8: Display

Series 8 features the same 41mm and 45mm display options with an edge-to-edge Always-On Retina display with up to 1,000 nits of brightness. Apple describes The Watch display as an LTPO OLED, a needlessly complicated detail most people won't need to know about. It stands for low-temperature polycrystalline oxide -- an Apple-designed and patented technology that aims to reduce the power consumption of your watch display by varying the refresh rate.

As with other Apple Watch models, the screen is beautiful, colorful, and makes good use of the deep, inky blacks that OLED televisions are famous for.  

Apple Watch Series 8: New Features

Apple Watch Series 8 crash report

(Image credit: Apple)

The Apple Watch Series 8 can sense your temperature

The rumors are true: Apple has included a temperature sensor (opens in new tab) in the Apple Watch Series 8. The sensor is sensitive enough to sense a 0.1 degree Celsius temperature change in your body, the company claims, a feat it achieves by taking your wrist temperature during sleep every 5 seconds. A big part of the sensitivity is the two-sensor design — one sensor on the back of the watch, near the skin, and another under the display. Apple states this helps eliminate interference from the outside environment.

The temperature sensor will improve the cycle-tracking feature of Apple Watches by notifying a wearer of potential cycle deviations, as well as through improved ovulation tracking. All Cycle tracking data is encrypted right on the device, for privacy.

(Image credit: Apple)

Crash detection

Thanks to two new and improved sensors -- a 3-axis gyroscope and a G-Force accelerometer -- the Apple Watch Series 8 can tell when you are in a crash.

Crash Detection uses many sensors and features to determine if you've been in a severe crash, including the barometer, GPS, and microphone on your iPhone. This should prevent the Apple Watch.

When it detects a severe crash, the Series 8 automatically calls 911, provides your location, and notifies your emergency contacts if you don't respond to the on-screen notification in 10 seconds.

Besides these new features, Apple Watch Series 8 retains many of the great features of previous models including ECG, fall detection, the Always-On Retina display, and more. 

Apple WatchOS 9

Apple's Watches are powered by watchOS, a version of Apple's iOS software that's specifically built for the wearable devices, and contains functions and features tuned for it. As of this writing, the latest version of Apple's watchOS supported by the Apple Watch Series 8 is 9.3.1, released Feb. 13, along with new versions of Apple's software for iPhones, Apple TVs, and iPads.

Unfortunately, there isn't much to talk about with watchOS 9.3.1. There aren't any new features and Apple's release notes for the new update simply say that the new software version includes "bug fixes and important security updates for your Apple Watch."

Watch OS 9.3 was released on January 24, 2023, adding support for a new Unity wallpaper in celebration of Black History Month. Watch OS 9.1 -- released last October -- was a bigger improvement to the core OS, adding a number of battery life improvements for select workouts, support for Matter, and more.

Watch OS 9 was announced at WWDC 2022 and ultimately released Sept. 19, 2022 -- and in the wonderful words of the incredibly talented Lizzo, "it's about damn time." The latest version of the Watch operating system added sleep stage tracking (at last!) workout enhancements including Heart Rate Zones and customizable workouts, crash detection, medication logging and reminders, a more complete Compass ... and of course, new watch faces. It's a heckuvan upgrade.

Apple Watch Series 8: Battery Life

The Apple Watch Series 8 has the same battery life as the previous model when using it like normal. But there's more to it than that: There'ss a new low-power mode in this wearable device.

Apple Watch Series 8 has a low-power mode

With your iPhone present, you can get up to 36 hours of battery life using the new and improved low-power mode. While you can do much more with low-power mode than you can currently on the Apple Watch Series 7, there is still some limitation the new low-power mode will impose on you. It will disable and/or limit the use of select sensors and features, most notably the Always-On display and heart health notifications. 

This new low-power mode is also coming to other Apple Watch models from the Series 4 onwards thanks to watchOS 9.

Apple Watch Series 8: Finishes and colors

(Image credit: Apple)

The Apple Watch Series 8 is only available in two finishes — aluminum and stainless steel — and each of them has different color options.

The aluminum Series 8 is available in four colorways, including Midnight, Starlight, Silver, and PRODUCT(RED), while the stainless steel finish is available in Silver, Gold, and Graphite.

Apple Watch Series 8: Price

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 41mm45mm
Aluminum GPS$399$429
Aluminum GPS + Cellular$499$529
Stainless Steel GPS + Cellular$699$749
Hermès$1,229Row 4 - Cell 2

These are the base prices of each Apple Watch Series 8 model, but you'll see the price increase slightly depending on which band you buy with your watch. The Braided Solo Loop or certain Leather Link bands can add more cost to your Watch. 

Apple Watch Series 8: Release date

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple Watch Series 8 is fully available now and has been since its September 16, 2022, release date. You can buy it directly from Apple, or from numerous retailers. Check out our full guide on the latest Apple Watch Series 8 deals.

Luke Filipowicz
Staff Writer

Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way. 

Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.

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