The Apple Watch Series 7 wasn’t quite what we thought it would be. It has a slightly bigger display, a few new colors, and slightly faster charging, but otherwise, it’s identical to the Apple Watch Series 6, from the chip to the sensors. So that means the Series 8 will be the one to, er, watch, in 2022.
In this article we gather up all the latest leaks and rumours about the Apple Watch Series 8 launch in 2022. We cover its likely release date, pricing details, new features, tech specs and design changes.
Here’s everything we know about what’s coming. Check back regularly for the latest Apple Watch Series 8 gossip.
What will the new Apple Watch be called?
An easy one to start with – the main release this year will almost certainly be called the Apple Watch Series 8. Of the nine models released so far, only two (the original Apple Watch, and the cheaper Apple Watch SE) have had names that aren’t based on the word Series and a number.
Talking of the SE, however, it’s possible we’ll see a new Apple Watch SE released alongside the Series 8 and a brand new, larger Apple Watch which may be dubbed the Apple Watch Sport or the “Apple Watch Pro”, a brand Apple reportedly considered back in 2015.
We expect the Apple Watch Series 8 to come out in September 2022.
Apple’s smartwatches didn’t used to be as predictable as its iPhones, but the company now seems to be settling on September as the launch window for its Watches. You can see this from the last few iterations:
Apple Watch Series 7: 15 October 2021
Apple Watch SE: 18 September 2020
Apple Watch Series 6: 18 September 2020
Apple Watch Series 5: 20 September 2019
Apple Watch Series 4: 21 September 2018
With an October announcement, the Apple Watch Series 7 is the only device to buck this particular trend of recent years. But 2021 was an unusual year in a number of ways; we suspect that semi-conductor shortages and COVID-related distribution disruptions played a part in the delay – although there were rumors in the run up that Apple had to go back to the drawing board with regards to its plans for the Apple Watch 7, meaning that it missed the September release window.
Regardless of the precise month – and we’d still bet heavily on September – you should certainly expect the Series 8, and the other new Apple Watches, to make its debut in the fall of 2022.
How much will the Apple Watch Series 8 cost?
Again, Apple has been quite consistent with the pricing on the Watch range, so with that in mind we’d expect the Apple Watch Series 8 to cost the same (although some countries may see price rises in line with inflation). The Apple Watch Series 7 costs $399/£369/AU$599 for the 41mm version and US$429/£399/AU$649 for the larger 45mm model. There is also said to be a 50mm model coming – which we expect to be the new extreme sports, or rugged Apple Watch rather than a Series 8 – expect that larger model to cost more.
If the starting price of the Watch 8 is too high then the Apple Watch SE (2022) is likely to have a lower price. The current model costs £249/US$249/AU$429 for the 40mm and £279/US$279/AU$479 if you prefer a 44mm display.
If you want to get a bargain, then check out best Apple Watch deals guide, as it’s updated regularly with all the latest discounts on the whole range.
Apple Watch Series 8: Design and screen size
We haven’t heard any specific rumors about the design of the Apple Watch Series 8, but we did hear a flurry of rumors about a new Series 7 design that didn’t come to pass. Jon Prosser of Front Page Tech reported in May 2021 that Apple was working on a new Apple Watch design, one that has flat edges like the iPhone 13 and iPad mini. Additionally, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that the 2021 watch would feature an “improved form factor.”
Meanwhile, Bloomberg’s Gurman reported in August 2021 that “a bit of a redesign, with flatter displays” was expected, which collaborated Apple leaker Jon Prosser and Ian Zelbo’s designs from May 2021 (below) that were based on “a mixture of images as well as CAD files for this new design” sent to Prosser by sources.
So, prior to the launch of the Apple Watch Series 7, pundits were expecting it to look different, but when it launched there was no dramatic change other than a 1mm increase in screen size. Prosser claimed that that something had gone “catastrophically wrong” during mass production of the watch back in 2021. Our intuition tells us that the redesigned Apple Watch was simply scrapped. A rumor by ShrimpApplePro in August 2022 seemingly confirms that the Apple Watch Series 8 will have the same design as the Series 7.
But a new size is almost certain to arrive. Back in October 2021 Ross Young of Display Supply Chain Consultants suggested that Apple will launch three size option with the Series 8. He tweeted that, alongside the traditional 41mm and 45mm models, we shouldn’t be surprised if there’s a third size in 2022.
Young later indicated that this new Apple Watch screen size could be 50mm, 5mm larger than the largest Apple Watch 7 at almost 2in. A larger version of the Apple Watch could offer a bigger battery. There may also be room for additional features and sensors.
However, instead of bringing this larger size to the standard Apple Watch lineup, it sounds like Apple is introducing a whole new Watch category: a larger screened, more rugged model aimed at extreme sports fans.
Even if the standard Apple Watch Series 8 doesn’t get a bigger screen we may still see improvements to the screen technology. In mid-2021, Mark Gurman reported that the Series 7 watch would sport “updated screen technology” while 91mobiles added Apple may be using “a new lamination technique that is expected to bring the panel closer to the front cover.” While we did get thinner bezels and a harder coating, the Apple Watch Series 7 appears to use the same overall display tech as the prior models. So we’ll be keeping an eye out for a new screen process in the 2022 flagship model.
It’s possible that the Apple Watch could adopt Mini-LED panels. It could be too soon in terms of cost and production, but this would be a significant new feature if it did come to fruition.
New color options
This is a perennial design rumor, because it’s easy for pundits to imagine their favourite device in a different color. The issue for Apple is deciding which color finishes will actually sell.
So remain sceptical when we show you some concept illustrations posted on Instagram by the account Appledsign. These show the Apple Watch Series 7 ‘as it could have been’ – with a different and bolder set of colours – and look pretty great. Whether Apple will take heed in time for the launch of the Series 8 is a different matter.
Along with new colors for the Watch we can expect to see new Apple Watch bands, which are likely to support all recent models of Apple Watch. The Series 7 watch delivered a new round of colors, but didn’t introduce any new band styles.
Apple Watch Series 8: Health and fitness features
While the Apple Watch Series 7 has identical health features and sensors to the Series 6, the next model could bring huge advancements. A report by The Telegraph in May 2021 divulged that Apple is a customer of a company that specializes in next-gen health sensors, fueling speculation that future watches will have blood pressure, glucose, and alcohol level monitoring. However, Bloomberg reported in April that while Apple is working on such functionality, it might not be ready until 2024 at the earliest.
One new feature that does seem to be making its way to the next generation Apple Watch though is a temperature tacker – although rather than take the wearers temperature, it sounds like it’s purpose will be to alert them to possible fever or for fertility tracking.
Apparently the temperature sensor was originally planned for the Series 7 watch, but according to Ming-Chi Kyo it failed Apple’s tests. Bloomberg reported in June 2021 that Apple had pushed the feature back until at least 2022.
In January, Apple stopped selling the Beddit sleep tracker, a device that measures sleep time, heart rate, breathing, snoring, bedroom temperature, and humidity. Apple acquired Beddit in 2017, and it’s been rumored that it will be bringing much of its advanced sleep-tracking features to the Apple Watch Series 8.
Apple has decidedly placed the Watch at the centre of its healthy-lifestyle world and if rumors are to be believed then we may finally see the arrival of a blood sugar sensor in the Apple Watch Series 8. Apple has already submitted patents for measuring blood glucose including ones with non-invasive tetrahertz (THz) electromagnetic radiation, which would no doubt be a real blessing for diabetics who currently need to use needles multiple times a day.
The Apple Watch Series 7 tech specs list an S7 system-in-package, but numerous reports suggest that this processor was new in name only. For all intents and purposes the S7 chip is the same as the S6 chip. This is despite rumours that Apple was working on a brand new processor for the Apple Watch Series 7. Back in June, a DigiTimes report claimed that Apple was going to use a new double-sided chip packaging process to further shrink the size of the S7 chip, which could allow room for more battery or other components, or to shrink the overall thickness of the watch. A follow-up report from the Economic Daily news out of China suggested that Apple was freeing up space to make room for a larger capacity battery.
These rumored features never came to fruition. What of the S8 chip? Unfortunately it sounds like the A8 will be no better than the A7. Mark Gurman wrote in July that: “All of the new Apple Watches will use an S8 processor with similar performance to the S7 chip in the Apple Watch Series 7, which was on par with the S6 in the Apple Watch Series 6 from two years ago.”
Improved battery life
Compared to some other smartwatches, the Apple Watch can be a little wanting in the battery-life stakes. If Apple introduces a larger screened Apple Watch then it is likely to be able to take advantage of a more capacious battery in that model. Whether this will be a feature reserved for the rumored sports edition of the Apple Watch remains to be seen. See ‘Extreme’ Apple Watch to bring a bigger screen, longer battery life, metal case.
Even without a bigger Apple Watch we could see better battery life. Gurman has reported that a new low-power mode is due to arrive in watchOS 9. This new power saving mode will work like on iOS and iPadOS, where you can still use basic functions and apps, but with lower speed and some background functions turned off. The feature wasn’t announced at WWDC though.
Bloomberg previously reported that the Series 7 watch could bring updated ultra-wideband functionality that didn’t arrive. Apple first introduced the ultra-wideband U1 chip with the Apple Watch Series 6 and since has expanded the tech’s usefulness with AirTag trackers and digital keys in Wallet. It’s not clear how Apple would upgrade the tech in the Apple Watch Series 7, but it will likely mean a U2 chip.
While rumors that the iPhone 13 could receive satellite communications for emergency purposes never proved true, something similar may be going on for the Apple Watch, according to information from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman (via an April Power On newsletter).
Gurman revealed that satellite company Globalstar had bought 17 new satellites to implement a “satellite service” for a potential customer. This customer may be Apple, says Gurman, and the satellite function might arrive this fall (although it may also be delayed until 2023).
If you can’t wait for the arrival of the Apple Watch Series 8 (2022) then be sure to take a look at our Apple Watch buying guide to ensure you pick up the model that’s best for you.
And don’t pay over the odds! To find the lowest possible prices, check our in-depth guide to the best Apple Watch deals.