WRISTS ready: The Apple Watch Series 9 is here and makes the popular smartwatch even smarter.
I’ve been lucky enough to try out the new ticker for a week now and I won’t be taking it off any time soon.
The list of things an Apple Watch can do has gotten longer and longer over the years.
So much so that it seems unimaginable that all this power can be packed into something that lives on your wrist.
And with the new Series 9, Apple has managed to accommodate even more breathtaking technology.
The heart of the Series 9 is Apple’s new S9 SiP chip.
Computer chips have transistors, tiny electronic switches that allow calculations to be performed.
It’s not an exact science, but in general more transistors mean better performance.
And Apple managed to put a whopping 5.6 billion into its new Apple Watch chip – that’s 60% more than its predecessor.
The result is a snappy watch that never seems to struggle with anything.
It’s not just the inner workings of the Apple Watch that have been improved.
The display is now twice as bright as the Series 8, reaching a maximum brightness of 2,000 nits.
It’s perfect if you spend a lot of time outdoors – the dial is clearly visible even in direct sunlight.
Perhaps even more exciting is that the clock now dims to just one nit, which could come in handy at the cinema.
The most important upgrade for the Apple Watch Series 9 is the magical new Double Tap feature.
This allows you to control certain parts of your Apple Watch without actually touching it.
All you have to do is double-tap your index finger and thumb together with your Apple Watch hand.
Apple Watch uses clever analysis of your hand – including changes in your blood flow – to know when to make the movement.
I was able to try it out at the Apple event in California and then again on a separate review unit with an early version of the Double Tap software (since it’s not available until October).
I found it very easy to get used to and it didn’t seem like it was accidentally triggered.
Once the habit is formed, it’s a great addition – I think the best use is for answering calls and pausing music.
But you can also use it to start and stop timers, respond to messages, and access the Widgets panel on your Apple Watch.
Not having to reach for the watch may seem like a small upgrade, but it feels surprisingly powerful.
Siri has also been updated on the Series 9.
According to Apple, dictation with Siri is 25% better.
I’ve never had a problem with this, but it could be particularly useful if you have a very strong accent
Definitely I recommend everyone to try it.
Siri Dictation is a truly overlooked feature that’s easier and more convenient to use than you probably thought.
Another benefit of Siri (not yet available, but coming soon) is being able to ask Siri for your Apple Health data.
You can quickly check how much you’ve slept, find out your average heart rate while walking, and even log the medications you’ve just taken.
Many Apple Watch owners will also tell you that it is one of their bestis capable of making your iPhone “ping”.
It’s perfect for finding a handset that’s fallen behind a sofa cushion.
Now this feature has been updated to also show you distances and directions to iPhone.
This makes it even more difficult to misplace your iPhone.
I tried it from about 15 feet away and it worked without any issues and connected almost immediately
Apple’s website seems to indicate that it even works from 20 feet away, which should be enough to find your misplaced cell phone.
The new Series 9 runs on watchOS 10, which isn’t unique to the new model, but is still practical.
The apps have been redesigned to provide more information.
And you can now turn the digital crown to instantly access your Smart Stack of widgets.
Customization is one of the best things about an Apple Watch, and the Series 9 has a lot to offer.
You can choose between the basic aluminum design or pay an additional $300 for the stainless steel upgrade.
If you choose aluminum, you can go for the 9 seriesMidnight, Starlight, Silver or Red.
And stainless steel is available in gold, silver and graphite options.
There are countless new bracelets that you can combine with your high-tech watch.
But a personal favorite is the new Nike Sport Band.
It is made of a high-performance fluoroelastomer and is available in six colors.
But it is also speckled with colored spots that come from other recycled ribbons.
This means that no two Nike Sport watch bands are exactly the same.
The Series 9 itself is also generally eco-friendly and is Apple’s first carbon neutral device – thanks in part to its heavy use of recycled materials.
Of course, the Apple Watch Series 9 stands on the shoulders of giants.
In addition to the new features, it has a wholeof tricks that have accumulated over the years compared to its predecessors .
You can still track your health and exercise and take an EKG to detect heart arrhythmias.
There is a built-in sensor to measure your blood oxygen levels as well as track sleep and menstrual cycles.
Fall detection automatically alerts emergency services if you fail to respond after hitting the ground.
And you can use it to listen to podcasts and music, with local storage now expanding to 64GB for the first time.
Another little-known benefit is the ability to add Apple Pay to your watch, allowing you to pay in stores without having to reach for your wallet or iPhone.
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The Apple Watch is now so much more than a regular watch that it’s difficult to even compare.
At the most basic level, the Apple Watch means you can spend less time reaching into your pocket to pull out the iPhone.
The workout tracking is excellent and can really help you get fitter.
But the best value for money probably comes from the health features it offers.
There are now several tricks that can lead to saving your life, which is difficult to quantify.
Of course, it is also an attractive piece of equipment that can be highly customized.
And watchOS updates ensure that even your older watches get even more powerful every year.
The Series 9 doesn’t offer enough value to make it a must-have for Series 8 owners.
However, if you’re using an older Apple Watch – or none at all – this is a good time to upgrade thanks to the new Double Tap feature.
The only warning I would give is that industry experts are predicting a major upgradeYear for the gadget’s 10th anniversary.
But that may not happen, and the Series 9 could bring you joy and ward off health nightmares in the meantime.
My top two new features: the magical double-tap and the powerful “Ping” to find a lost iPhone.
The sun says: The Series 9 packs an incredible amount of functionality into a tiny pod that sits on your wrist. And for some buyers, it could end up being the best $399/£399 they’ve ever spent. 5/5
The Apple Watch Series 9 is available to pre-order for $399 / £399 and will be on sale from Friday September 22nd.
All prices in this article were correct at the time of writing but may have changed since then.
Always do your own research before making a purchase.