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Apple Watch Series 8 rumors: Everything you need to know

Apple Watch Series 8 header
(Image credit: iMore)

With rumors of a fall launch on the horizon, the new Apple Watch Series 8 should be just around the corner. Is this the year we finally get the promised redesign? We've heard lots of leaks and rumors about Apple's upcoming new wearables. 

Notably, there are likely to be multiple Apple Watch models this year, with rumors of a new Series 8, Apple Watch SE, and Apple Watch Rugged/Explorer/Pro edition swirling. Here's what we know so far.

Apple Watch Series 8: Name

It's a pretty safe bet that we should expect Apple to announce a new watch that carries the same naming convention we're familiar with — Apple Watch Series 8. There may be additional Apple Watches announced at the same time, but an Apple Watch Series 8 is almost guaranteed to hit the market alongside whatever else Apple has cooking.

The company is also expected to release an update to the Apple Watch SE, but it's unlikely that it will get a name change. More likely is that the new generation will simply be called the Apple Watch SE (2nd generation).

One particular model of the Apple Watch could get a new name since it might be an entirely new model. There are rumors that the company will release a rugged edition of the watch this year. The two names being floated so far are the "Explorer Edition" and "Extreme Sports Edition." Mark Gurman is going a different direction, saying that the company is likely to use its "Pro" branding used for many of its other products and simply call it the "Apple Watch Pro."

"Given that the rugged Apple Watch, codenamed N199 inside the company, will apply to extreme sports enthusiasts and consumers who typically spring for Apple's pro offerings, I think the company will probably go with the Apple Watch Pro name and marketing. Apple has already been touting the durability of the current watches, so it's clearly a selling point that it believes clicks with consumers."

Apple Watch Series 8: Design changes

The Apple Watch Series 8 design is a tricky one because it could go one of two ways. While there's a very good chance that the new wearable won't look all that dissimilar to Apple Watch Series 7, last year's offering was rumored to get a new design with flat sides but that didn't come to fruition.

However, the rumors of a redesign are back! A recent report from Apple leaker ShrimpApplePro said that they had "heard from (a) source today that there is a flat front glass display for apple watch display." The leaker did not specify if the flat display glass would mean a different housing for the entire Apple Watch or which models would get the new design.

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Apple specifically called out the new glass design on the Apple Watch Series 7 as a way to make the watch more durable, so it wouldn't be surprising to see the company go completely flat in order to improve durability even more. Such a design would also work well for a rugged edition of the Apple Watch if that model comes to light, but that seems unlikely for the new model.

In addition to a new display size for the rugged model, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman says that the new edition will also ditch aluminum in favor of more durable metal. In a later edition of his newsletter, the journalist believes that material to be titanium.

"Apple Inc. plans its largest smartwatch display to date, a bigger battery, and a rugged metal casing as part of the upcoming Apple Watch geared toward extreme sports athletes, according to people with knowledge of the plans."

The Apple Watch Pro model, according to Mark Gurman, might be the first model to get a major redesign since 2018. While some may be hoping for a circular or flat design like we have seen in renders, the journalist says that the design, while new, will still be based on the rectangular one we have known.

Gurman went on to predict that the rugged edition of the Apple Watch, because of the redesign, could feature multiday battery life with a new low-power mode.

Apple Watch Series 8: Models

Spigen Apple Watch Rugged Case Hero

Spigen Apple Watch Rugged Case Hero (Image credit: Spigen)

In addition to the standard Apple Watch Series 8, Apple may be looking to upgrade one model and add an entirely new one to the lineup.

According to a report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, the company is planning to release an update to the Apple Watch SE this year. The reporter says that the new Apple Watch SE is not expected to be upgraded to the larger displays featured first in the Apple Watch Series 7.

In addition to the Apple Watch SE getting an upgrade, Gurman also says that the company plans to release a completely new rugged edition of the Apple Watch that would be designed for use in extreme conditions.

"The other major announcement this year at WWDC was watchOS 9. That update certainly heralds what we can expect from the Apple Watch Series 8 this fall. As I've reported, Apple is preparing three new variations: a new low-end SE, a standard Series 8, and a rugged edition aimed at extreme sports."

The reports on the rugged Apple Watch so far point to a possible "Explorer Edition" name and indicate the new watch could feature a more durable design as well as longer battery life. It would make sense for those wanting to use an Apple Watch in extreme scenarios like triathlons, rock climbing, mountain biking, and others that require equipment that can take a beating.

Gurman's reporting matches that of Ming-Chi Kuo and his own reporting back in 2021. Kuo also agreed that the company is set to release an Apple Watch SE, Apple Watch Series 8, and Apple Watch "Extreme Sports" edition of the Apple Watch this fall.

Apple Watch Series 8: Color and materials

apple watch 7 silicon and fabric straps

(Image credit: Apple)

According to Apple leaker ShrimpApplePro, the Apple Watch Series 8 is set to get quite a shakeup when it comes to the colors and materials the standard watch will come in.

The aluminum Apple Watch Series 8 is reportedly set to drop both the Green and Blue colorways and, instead, add a Silver color to the mix. The rest of the existing colors, including Midnight, Starlight, and (PRODUCT)RED, will stick around.

The Stainless Steel version will also be losing the Gold finish but keep the Graphite and Silver options.

Titanium, which has recently been considered the "Edition" version of the Apple Watch, will reportedly be dropped from the standard Series 8 model altogether. Instead, it is rumored that Apple will use the material for the rumored Apple Watch Pro.

Apple Watch Series 8: Size

Apple Watch Series 7

Apple Watch Series 7 (Image credit: Stephen Warwick / iMore)

Based on Apple's last couple of releases it seems likely that 41mm and 45mm are likely, although display analyst Ross Young has posited things could ratchet up a notch — the 41mm and 45mm options could be joined by an unknown third size.

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Young's report is backed up by Haitong International Securities' Jeff Pu. The analyst wrote a note to investors that claimed the company would be adding a new 1.99-inch model to the Apple Watch lineup:

"According to a note to investors from Haitong International Securities Jeff Pu, seen by MacRumors, the new addition will be a 2-inch part built exclusively by Luxshare. Young has also backed that up with a new post to Twitter, suggesting that 1.99 inches could be the size — something that seems to simply be a case of rounding rather than competing viewpoints."

Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has also said that the display for the rugged version of the Apple Watch will be the largest the company has brought to the device. According to a report from Bloomberg, the display for the "Extreme Sports" edition of the watch will come in at almost two inches diagonally and a resolution of 410 by 502 pixels.

"The rugged version of the Apple Watch will get a screen that measures almost 2 inches diagonally."

Even more recently, Gurman said that the Apple Watch Pro will feature a seven percent larger display than the currently largest Apple Watch model.

Apple Watch Series 8: Processor

Apple Watch Series 7 Green

Apple Watch Series 7 Green (Image credit: Apple)

While some were hoping for a brand-new processor with the Apple Watch Series 8, it seems like we're in for another year of an incremental upgrade.

According to Mark Gurman, Apple will release a "new" S8 chip to power the Apple Watch Series 8, but that processor will be heavily based on the S7 chip from the previous year. The reporter does, however, go on to hint that we can expect an "all-new processor" next year.

"For those hoping for a faster chip in this year's Apple Watch, I'm told the S8 chip will have the same specifications as the S7, which was also the same as the S6. Next year's models, however, are slated to get an all-new processor."

Apple Watch Series 8: Connectivity and satellite communication

Apple Watch Series 7 Lifestyle Press Photo

Apple Watch Series 7 Lifestyle Press Photo (Image credit: Apple)

Apple is again said to be working on a satellite communication feature fur future products, potentially Apple Watch Series 8. Such a feature would allow wearers to send short emergency texts when out of cell tower reach.

According to Mark Gurman, the satellite communication could come to the iPhone first but eventually make its way to the Apple Watch as well. Gurman says that we may, however, have to wait until 2023 to see the watch get the feature:

"Since reporting that the iPhone is gaining the feature, I've heard that the Apple Watch is also destined to get that functionality—either this year or in 2023. Whether it's on the iPhone or Apple Watch, the technology would provide an alternative to the Garmin inReach Explorer and SPOT, handheld satellite communicators with similar features."

Apple Watch Series 8: Health features

ECG app for Apple Watch

ECG app for Apple Watch (Image credit: Apple)

Apple is again expected to focus on health this time around., Reports have suggested that car crash detection could come to a future Apple Watch and iPhone — potentially Apple Watch Series 8 and iPhone 14.

We heard almost a year ago that Apple wanted to add sleep apnea tracking and detection to a future Apple Watch, although rumors of such an addition to the Apple Watch Series 8 have been lacking.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has pointed to a new temperature sensor being added, something that Bloomberg's Mark Gurman recently all but confirmed the feature was coming to this year's models. Gurman, however, says that the technology will provide a general reading rather than an exact temperature, allowing for a feature that will inform the user if they are running a fever.

"The body-temperature feature won't give you a specific reading—like with a forehead or wrist thermometer—but it should be able to tell if it believes you have a fever. It could then recommend talking to your doctor or using a dedicated thermometer."

Apple Watch Series 8: Price and availability

Apple Watch Series 7 Stainless Steel

Apple Watch Series 7 Stainless Steel (Image credit: Apple)

Pricing is a tricky one for various reasons, especially with the current economic situation the United States — and the world — finds itself in. Prices are volatile, and we might get an indication of what to expect when Apple announces its iPhone 14 pricing ahead of Apple Watch Series 8.

If the company sticks with Apple Watch Series 7 pricing, expect the 41mm Apple Watch Series 8 to start at $399 for the 41mm and $429 for the 45mm and increase from there, depending on bands and case options.

It's also unclear what the rugged "Explorer Edition" of the Apple Watch would start at if it is announced. That version is certainly expected to come in at a higher starting price than the standard and SE editions of the watch. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman says the rugged Apple Watch could even come in at a price as high as an iPhone 13 Pro at $999.

"Given that the new high-end Apple Watch will pack in a slightly larger display, new sensors and higher-end materials, I wouldn't be surprised if it starts closer to $900 to $999, the starting price of an iPhone 13 Pro. We're only a couple months away from finding out exactly where Apple lands."

Apple Watch Series 8: Release date

We don't know for sure, but we can make an educated guess based on past years. Last year saw Apple announce Apple Watch Series 7 on September 14 before making it available to buy on October 15. The Apple Watch is usually announced at the same event as the iPhone, so we can reasonably expect it to be unveiled in September along with the iPhone 14.

Whenever it lands, this will be the best Apple Watch ever made, that's for sure.

Oliver Haslam
Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.