Apple Watch Series 8 hands-on: Temperature sensing and Low Power Mode

This story is part of Hotspot iPhone 2022CNET’s collection of news, tips, and advice on Apple’s most popular products.

Apple announced Apple Watch Series 8 during the company’s business Annual Autumn Product Event Wednesday. The GPS The version starts at $399 (£419, AU$629), while the cellular version starts at $499. It will be available on September 16th with Pre-orders start immediately. Apple also announced the rugged Apple Watch UltraWhich Starting at $799The new version of the most affordable Apple Watch SEStarts from $249 and pre-order now. (over here Everything Apple announced at the September 7 event.)

The most significant change is the addition of a temperature sensor, which is the first time that Apple has added a new health sensor to its smartwatch since the arrival of the Series 6 with blood oxygen saturation measurements in 2020. The new batch of Apple Watches, which includes the Series 8 in addition to the SE and SE models The two new Ultra models are also the first to include vehicle accident detection, further underlining Apple’s focus on health and safety. The Apple Watch Ultra is a new external version of the Apple Watch aimed at athletes, while the SE is an updated version of the cheaper Apple smartwatch.

Temperature sensor and car accident detection

The Apple Watch Series 8 temperature sensor is the biggest upgrade on this year’s watch. There are actually two sensors, one below the screen and one at the back, closer to the skin. This should improve accuracy by helping the watch distinguish the temperature of your wrist from other factors that affect the temperature in your environment. The watch measures your wrist’s temperature overnight every five seconds and tracks it in the Apple Health app.

Since this is a negative reading that happens overnight, I wasn’t able to try it out in the Apple demo room. But I found out how to present this information in the Health app. The app will display changes in baseline temperature in an in-app chart, along with context about the meaning of the data. The company says shifts in your core temperature can be an indicator of exercise, jet lag or illness. There is also a new wrist temperature box in the Health app summary section where you can tap on this data.

The Apple Health app will display data from the Series 8 temperature readings.

Lisa Eadicicco / CNET

Apple positions the temperature sensor as the most useful for tracking a woman’s health. Temperature sensors allow the Series 8 to provide retrospective ovulation estimates and improved menstrual cycle predictions.

The Apple Watch is also getting a new security feature this year: car accident detection. If the watch detects a malfunction, it will notify the emergency services and emergency contacts of the wearer if the wearer is unresponsive for 10 seconds. This is only available on the new Series 8 and SE models and the Apple Watch Ultra because it uses an updated gyroscope and accelerometer.

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Go straight to your Apple Watch Series 8 pre-order source and get three months of Apple Fitness Plus.

Low Power Mode

A description of Low Power Mode displays on Apple Watch Series 8.

A description of Low Power Mode displays on Apple Watch Series 8.

Lisa Eadicicco / CNET

Another noteworthy addition is the Apple Watch’s Low Power Mode, which Apple says should extend battery life by up to 36 hours for the Series 8. The new Low Power Mode turns off features like the always-on display and automatic exercise detection to preserve functionality while extending life. the battery. Although Apple just announced the feature on Wednesday, it will also be available for Series 4 and later. Otherwise, the Apple Watch battery life is generally the same at 18 hours.

The overall design of the Apple Watch appears unchanged this year. The Series 8’s size and overall shape remain the same, and it will be available in Midnight, Starlight, Silver and Red produced with an aluminum case. The stainless steel version, which I tried during my time with it, will come in silver, graphite, and gold.

Apple Watch Series 8 in gold-tone stainless steel is worn on the wrist

Apple Watch Series 8 in gold-tone stainless steel.

Lisa Eadicicco / CNET

Most of the most significant changes in the Apple Watch Series 8, such as temperature sensing and Low Power Mode, are under-the-hood changes rather than cosmetic upgrades. We’ll have to spend more time with the Series 8 to see how these additions really affect the overall experience. But based on what we know so far, the Series 8 looks like another step towards the Apple Watch becoming a more comprehensive health device.

Apple leads the world smart watch The market accounted for 29.3% of shipments in the second quarter of 2022, according to Counterpoint Research. Samsung follows in second place with 9.2% of smartwatch shipments worldwide during the same period. Apple still faces increasing competition. Although Samsung lags far behind Apple in terms of shipments, Samsung saw 40% year-over-year growth, compared to Apple’s 8% growth, according to Counterpoint data.

In August, Samsung launched a version of Galaxy Watch 5 And the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. Meanwhile, Google is expected to launch its first smartwatch, which is pixel clock, this fall. Google hasn’t revealed many details yet, but it appears to be positioning the Pixel Watch as a premium smartwatch similar to the Apple Watch.

although Iphone It is Apple’s largest money maker, and products like the Apple Watch are an important part of the company’s business. The wearables, home and accessories division, which includes products like the Apple Watch and AirPods, is the company’s third-largest business after iPhone and digital services. Apple said in Quarterly earnings call In April, its wearables business was the size of a Fortune 100 company.

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