Expect Apple Watch Series 9 to be a minor upgrade this year - here's why

Apple Watch doing an ECG reading on a mans wrist.
(Image credit: Apple)

If you're expecting a brand new redesign for Apple Watch Series 9 and a refined one for an Apple Watch Ultra 2, start your disappointment now.

According to the March 5 issue of Mark Gurman's 'Power On' newsletter, when asked about whether this year's upcoming Apple Watch will have a significant upgrade, he states that it's going to be a minor one this year with a new processor.

It's not a surprise, especially after 2022 brought one of the biggest shake-ups to the Apple Watch line in years, from the second-generation Apple Watch SE to the Apple Watch Ultra.

However, that may not stop Apple from at least bringing out new colors and materials that may set a Series 9 and an Ultra 2 apart as we approach upgrade season in the fall.

The Ultra and new design from 2022 needs time to shine

Apple Watch Ultra and Seiko diver watch

(Image credit: Oliver Haslam / Future)

We've been here before with Apple Watch upgrades that have only brought minor features. Series 6 introduced a blood oxygen sensor, for example. Even the Series 8 wasn't a huge step up from the Series 7, which came with the new temperature sensor.

2022 for Apple Watch felt like it was the year of the Ultra and the SE 2 – a time for the line to diversify and satisfy different needs, and Apple achieved that.

So for 2023, there's always a chance that past materials could come back for the Series 9, such as Titanium and Ceramic, both great looks for the line in the past. For the Ultra, something as simple as a color change for the Action button would be welcome – perhaps a lime green color instead of orange. Even better might be a slick all-black design for the Ultra 2.

Make no mistake - Apple's iPhone line is its market leader, with more eyes on the iPhone 15 and what it will feature. The new iPhone looks like it is going to be the best iPhone for many, thanks to a switch to USB-C and a new periscope camera for the iPhone 15 Pro Max

Regardless, it all depends on how badly you want to buy an Apple Watch - if you don't care about the latest and greatest, look into one now and take advantage of what the line has to offer.

But if you want to be up to date, Series 9 may be one to go for anyway.

Daryl Baxter
Features Editor

Daryl is iMore's Features Editor, overseeing long-form and in-depth articles and op-eds. Daryl loves using his experience as both a journalist and Apple fan to tell stories about Apple's products and its community, from the apps we use every day to the products that have been long forgotten in the Cupertino archives.

Previously Software & Downloads Writer at TechRadar, and Deputy Editor at StealthOptional, he's also written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider', which tells the story of the beginnings of Lara Croft and the series' early development. His second book, '50 Years of Boss Fights', came out in June 2024, and has a monthly newsletter called 'Springboard'. He's also written for many other publications including WIRED, MacFormat, Bloody Disgusting, VGC, GamesRadar, Nintendo Life, VRV Blog, The Loop Magazine, SUPER JUMP, Gizmodo, Film Stories, TopTenReviews, Miketendo64, and Daily Star.