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Apple Watch Series 9 & Apple Watch Ultra 2: What’s new

It’s time for a new Apple Watch, and the new Apple Watch Series 9 brings a few refinements that should make it easier to use.

Apple Watch Series 9

The new smartwatch runs on Apple’s S9 chip, which it unsurprisingly claims is its “most powerful Watch chip yet.” It gets a faster CPU and GPU, which means loading times when opening apps or rebooting the Apple Watch 9 should be faster.

One of the new features it brings is on-board Siri processing. That should improve the speed with how Siri responds to your request. And it makes it more secure, too. With its addition, you can ask Siri about your health data.

Apple hasn’t focused on new health features for the Apple Watch Series 9. But it does get an improved heart rate sensor. It also gets a new gyroscope that allows for a double-tap gesture of your fingers when you have the smartwatch on.

This feature allows you to control different functions on the Apple Watch Series 9 without touching the screen or the digital crown. You can answer or reject calls, start timers, and even use it as a remote shutter for taking photos. That last one is the one I’m excited about.

The Watch Series 9 is also getting the NameDrop feature. And it also gets a new version of Apple’s ultra-wideband processor. This gives it “spatial awareness” so the watch can precisely detect the location of other devices and even people when using Find My.

The new watch will also be much readable in different situations. It can reach a peak brightness of 2,000 nits and go down to 1 nit when you don’t want to be blinded by it.

The Apple Watch Series 9 will be available in 41mm and 45mm sizes. It comes in aluminum in pink, starlight, silver, midnight, and Product Red, and the stainless steel versions will be available in gold, silver, and graphite. There will be new straps and designs from brands like Nike and Hermes that you can use with the new smartwatch.

The Apple Watch Series 9 will be available on September 22 starting at USD 399.

Apple Watch Ultra 2

Meanwhile, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 gets a few refinements that aren’t too big a jump from its predecessor. It also gets the new S9 processor, which means it gets a lot of similar functions.

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 also processes Siri on the device, with access to your health data available “later this year.” The new U2 chip also brings the option to find your iPhone and even offer media suggestions when you get close to a HomePod or access controls when the speaker is already playing something. (Same goes for the Series 9.) And yes, it gets the double-tap gesture, too.

Battery life on the Watch Ultra 2 is now up to 72 hours in low-power mode. Apple improved the brightness of the Ultra model, kicking it up to 3,000 nits. You can use it for recreational scuba diving for as low as 40 meters and free diving. A new Depth app can save logs for each of your sessions.

When watchOS 10 launches, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 gets a new Modular Ultra watch face that uses the outer edge of the display to “present real-time data, including seconds, altitude, or depth.”

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 retails for USD 799 and will ship starting September 22.

Nods to sustainability

Apple injected a quick skit on its sustainability efforts during the Wonderlust event. One of the features of the new watches it proudly proclaimed was that they are the first to be produced that are 100% carbon neutral. Any aluminum Apple Watch Series 9 with a new Sport Loop band is carbon neutral.

The company also introduced a new premium material for its bands and cases to replace its leather offerings. The change comes as leather “has a significant carbon footprint at Apple’s scale,” according to Lisa Jackson, Apple’s environmental policy VP.

The new FineWoven bands are made from a microtwill material. It is made from 68 percent post-consumer recycled material. It has a suede-like feel and complements the Magnetic Link and Modern Buckle closures.

Are you picking up the new Apple Watches? Share your thoughts with us!

Check out our stories on the Apple iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, Apple Watch Series 9, and Watch Ultra 2 here!