After focusing on iOS 16 at WWDC 2022, Apple went on to demonstrate the new features coming to watchOS 9 for the Apple Watch. There are tons of really impressive new features and updates this year with the main focus on health and fitness.
The keynote didn't solely focus on health and fitness, though, we also got a glimpse of new personalisation features, as well as new UI features that make the Apple Watch easier to operate.
Of course, this preview of watchOS 9 may also reveal some clues about the Apple Watch Series 8.
We've already seen a few rumours about the Apple Watch 8, including that it could feature a new design, feature more sensors, and expand its model range, but until the Series 8 is launched on stage this Autumn, watchOS 9 is the closest we'll get to official news from Apple.
You see, watchOS 9 gives us an idea about Apple’s priorities and shows key areas Apple has been working on.
So, here are my Apple Watch Series 8 predictions based on the recently announced watchOS 9 features:
1. A rugged Apple Watch 8 model could be on the cards
Rumours of a rugged Apple Watch have been around since early 2021, but there was one new feature that makes me think this rumour could soon become reality.
At WWDC Apple talked about more advanced running metrics and swim tracking, as well as adding a new triathlon sport mode which automatically detects which stage of the race you're in.
Apple is clearly after the performance athlete crowd with the addition of these new modes and features in watchOS 9, but if there's one area where the Apple Watch loses out to Garmin, Polar, et al. it's that they have super-rugged, chunky designs, controls which can easily be operated during a race or wearing gloves, and long battery lives. Will Apple add a more rugged Apple Watch to rival the likes of Garmin? Only time will tell…
2. The Apple Watch 8 could feature new health and fitness sensors
Much of the watchOS 9 section as WWDC was focused on the Apple Watch’s health and fitness tracking abilities. We saw improvements to the Workout app, the ability to track heart rate zones added, custom workouts, and the multiple updates mentioned in the previous section.
To build on these fitness-tracking efforts, the Apple Watch Series 8 could offer an updated heart rate sensor to record more accurate data, as well as a temperature sensor, which could be used in the new sleep tracking app.
3. The Apple Watch will replace your personal trainer
Again, along the same lines as the previous points, the Apple Watch Series 8 could introduce a new feature that takes all of the advanced data it's recording and automatically build the perfect workout for you.
At WWDC Apple did announce you can now create custom workouts on the Apple Watch, which is admittedly better for training than what Apple currently offers, but the next step possible is to add something like the Garmin Coach which recommends workouts based on performance. Is Apple saving this for an exclusive Apple Watch Series 8 feature?
4. A new Apple Watch SE could be launched as well
While it wasn't announced on stage at WWDC, it was later discovered that the Apple Watch Series 3 wouldn't support watchOS 9.
The Apple Watch Series 3 is now incredibly old but is also incredibly affordable. As this cheap smartwatch no longer supports the latest software, that suggests to me that Apple is getting ready to retire it.
Will the company release an Apple Watch SE 2 to replace it? It certainly makes sense…