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Apple made big moves with its smart watches this year, but not for the Series 8.

With the new Apple Watch Ultra – which boasts a larger, brighter screen, water-resistance to 100m, a siren, as well as a longer battery life – the 8 now stands in the middle, a tier above the second-gen SE.

Even if the latest iteration looks and feels identical to the 7 , there are some great updates that are worth noting and upgrading for, especially if you’re coming from the 6 and older.

What Apple kept

Apple Watch Series 8 retains the design of its predecessor, including a curved chassis, thin display bezels, a large Always-On retina display, and a tough crack-resistant front crystal. Battery life is 18 hours with regular use. It’s also IPX6-rated water resistant. On the side of the watch, the familiar digital crown and side button functions as a navigation tool together with the touchscreen.

New temperature sensors

The biggest upgrade in the new Series 8 (since the blood oxygen saturation measurements in 2020) is a pair of in-built temperature sensors: one under the display and another on the back, closer to the skin. But these are no thermometers, mind. The 8 doesn’t measure true body temperature; just the temperature on the wrist, which is lower than the former. Nonetheless, when worn to sleep for five consecutive nights, the watch can establish your baseline temperature and track changes — which help improve period predictions and provide retrospective ovulation estimates. The sensors sample the wrist temperature during sleep every five seconds and measure changes as small as 0.1 deg C. In the Health app, users can see nightly shifts in baseline temperature, which can be caused by exercise, jet lag, or even illness.

Crash Detection

Like the iPhone 14, the Apple Watch Series 8 can detect a crash and dial emergency services should the user be unresponsive for 10 seconds. This life-saving feature leverages an advanced sensor-fusion algorithm and a new, more powerful accelerometer and gyroscope to deliver accurate car crash alerts.

WatchOS 9 highlights

Apple Watch Series 8 is powered by the watchOS9, which sees some nifty upgrades we love.

To maximise the time the watch stays on your wrist, Apple introduces the new Low Power Mode in the 8, which can extend battery life to reach up to 36 hours with iPhone present. This new mode temporarily disables or limits select sensors and features, such as the Always-On Retina display, workout autostart, heart health notifications, and more so it stays on for longer.

The new Compass app on the watchOS 9

The overhauled Compass app now offers more in-depth information and three distinct views. The new hybrid view simultaneously shows both an analog compass dial and a digital interface. Turning the Digital Crown reveals the latitude, longitude, elevation, and incline, as well as an orienteering view showing Compass Waypoints and Backtrack. Backtrack uses GPS data to create a path showing where the user has been, which is useful if they need to retrace their steps. It can turn on automatically in the background when off the grid. Compass Waypoints are a quick and convenient way to mark a location or point of interest directly in the app.

Never forget your medications, supplements and vitamins again. The new Medications experience, allows users to create a medications list, set up schedules and reminders, and view information on their medications in the Health app.

Apple Watch Series 8 comes in aluminium and stainless steel cases in two sizes, 41mm and 45mm, and is compatible with all bands. Aluminium case colours for Apple Watch Series 8 include starlight, midnight, silver, and (PRODUCT)RED, while the stainless steel case offers silver, graphite, and gold.