Should you buy a new Apple Watch? Ultra, Series 8 and SE can be pre-ordered now

Written by Emily Barry

Apple has added a new model to its lineup with incremental improvements to its existing watches

In a period of high inflation, is it worth spending on a new smartwatch?

Apple Inc. executives note. (AAPL) reported earlier this summer that economic pressures were having some effect on the company’s wearables business, and they seemed to signal those dynamics when they unveiled the company’s latest Apple Watch lineup on Wednesday.

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The company kept the prices of the new Apple Watch Series 8 lineup the same as the Series 7, and also lowered the price of the new Apple Watch SE model.

However, the prices are significant in view of the severe spending pressure on consumers which leaves them with less disposable income. The new Apple Watch SE starts at $249 with GPS and $299 with cellular, while the Apple Watch Series 8 starts at $399 with GPS and $499 with cellular.

Perhaps in acknowledgment that higher-income consumers have experienced lower inflation pressures than other categories, the company also introduced the Apple Watch Ultra, a newly designed watch priced at $799.

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As with Apple’s recent iPhone introductions, the changes in features seen in the latest Apple Watch models are largely incremental.

Last year’s Apple Watch Series 7 owners would see some improvements, such as car crash detection and temperature sensing, if they upgraded to the Series 8 line, but the overall differences would be slight. Owners of older Apple Watch models will see greater changes in performance and functionality, but depending on the needs, the features may not be worth upgrading from older devices that perform well.

Those who are considering buying an Apple Watch for the first time will at least know that they will get the latest and greatest in Apple products across a variety of price points.

New models feature additional sanitary ware, which can attract more consumers to the fray. In addition, the two higher-quality models offer more interesting battery options. The Ultra model is said to have up to 36 hours of battery life during “normal use,” and up to 60 hours in low power mode. The Series 8 can get up to 36 hours in Low Power Mode, which is a new setting.

Some people have been annoyed by the idea of ​​daily charging with other Apple Watch models, so longer battery life may be common.

However, while Apple continues to innovate with its watches, one analyst remains unsure that the latest moves have made the devices have mass appeal.

“We continue to believe that Apple should look to make the device more attractive to older, less tech-savvy consumers who may appreciate its health monitoring capabilities,” Bernstein analyst Tony Sakunagi wrote in a research note, noting that there is more Apple can Add health features, lower the hourly cost, increase battery life, and simplify functionality.

Those who see themselves in this camp may see value in holding out a little longer should Apple choose to change its tune down the road.

Pre-orders for all three models began this week, with the Apple Watch Series 8 and SE available starting September 16. Apple Watch Ultra will be available on September 23rd.

Below is a guide to the latest Apple Watch models and whether they are worth buying.

Apple Watch Series 8

New features

The Series 8 offers a wrist-based temperature tracking, which Apple says will help provide estimates of when you’re ovulating as well as better predictions of when your period will occur. Apple will notify users of deviations in their cycles.

Apple is also adding crash detection to the Apple Watch Series 8. It will look at the watch’s gyroscope and accelerometer to determine when the wearer has been in a serious car accident, and the device will automatically call 911 after 10 seconds unless the user responds to the prompt.

The iPhone has a Low Power setting that helps people maximize battery life, and the feature comes in the Apple Watch Series 8 line. Low Power Mode disables some sensors, always-on display, and heart health notifications, but it can extend battery life Up to 36 hours when the iPhone is nearby. Other than that, the company says the watch offers up to 18 hours of battery life.

Deserves all the effort?

Apple continues to make more efforts in health with its watches, and the Series 8 could offer value for people interested in tracking ovulation.

The troubleshooting feature is interesting, but it’s probably not a selling point yet.

“There are a lot of benefits and value that the Apple Watch can provide to consumers, including health, safety, and comprehensive benefits for managing everyday life, but if fault detection is the main reason someone is thinking, it’s too early to tell if that’s reason enough to buy the watch. new,” said Peter Levinson, vice president of project management at Arity, a company that grew out of Allstate that helps detect crashes and provides other navigation data.

“The functionality still has time to mature and get the volume of data to show to prove itself compared to other free collision detection solutions already on the market that are built using billions of miles of driving and trip data,” he continued, though he was optimistic about the detection technology. malfunctions in general.

In its presentation on Wednesday, Apple mentioned training its models on more than 1 million hours of real-world driving and accident data. The company also mentioned studying data for years, including through crash test labs.

Users don’t necessarily have to pay if they want the comfort of knowing that they have the option to troubleshoot, since this functionality is also available on the cheaper SE.

The need for daily charging has been a nuisance to some current Apple Watch users or those on the fence about getting a device. The 8 Series, with its low power mode, could be increasingly attractive to people who really hate the idea of ​​charging the watch once a day. If advanced health features and greater battery flexibility aren’t a primary concern, consumers may be better off saving on the SE.

Apple Watch SE

New features

Apple says the latest SE model will have the same processor as the other two newly announced watches. The processor makes the device 20% faster than its predecessor.

Apple Watch SE also gains crash detection, and will be eligible for international roaming.

Deserves all the effort?

The Apple Watch SE is a good starting device for someone interested in owning a smartwatch for functions like communications and more basic health tracking.

The SE does not have blood oxygen sensing, ECG capabilities, or ovulation estimates, but it will track heart fitness and notify users of high and low heart rates. It supports fall detection and emergency SOS communications, making it valuable for older users who want to do without more advanced health monitoring.

The relatively low price also makes it attractive to parents looking to give their kids an Apple Watch, even though the price is still seen as exorbitant in the current climate.

Apple Watch Ultra

New features

The Ultra is a completely new model in the Apple smartwatch lineup, featuring a different design as well as different functions for the adventure lover.

To start, the Ultra Watch is larger than any of the other Apple Watches, featuring a titanium case that measures 49mm in diameter. In contrast, the largest Series 8 model has a 45mm case, with stainless steel and aluminum options. The Ultra also has a brighter screen and a microphone system designed to make phone calls easier in windy or noisy conditions.

While the Apple Watch Series 8 has a battery life of 18 hours, or 36 hours in low power mode, Apple says the Ultra lasts 36 hours through “normal use.” In low battery mode, the battery life can be up to 60 hours.

Apple Watch Ultra also comes with a new sport watch face option as well as straps for a more adventurous look. The company’s chief operating officer, Jeff Williams, said in a statement that the Ultra is “the most powerful and capable Apple Watch to date” because it is “designed for new and tough environments.”

The phone has a new orange “action button” that Apple says will allow people to more easily access various functions or advanced exercises.

Apple Watch Ultra owners will get the company’s most accurate GPS technology and the ability to simultaneously display six advanced operating metrics. They will also have the ability to sound an 86 decibel siren in case of emergency.

The company says the Ultra can withstand temperatures as low as -4 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 131 degrees. It has also been tested to various standards around shock, vibration and more.

Apple designed the watch to perform well for diving enthusiasts, as it is compatible with diving up to 40 metres. There’s a new depth gauge on the Ultra that will show time, depth, and water temperature, among other gauges.

Deserves all the effort?

“The Apple Watch Ultra is likely to have a strong but specialized appeal,” Bernstein’s Sakunagi wrote in a research note to customers.

With its 49mm housing, “the device is likely too big for most women, and its additional functionality (and its 2x price) will likely be highly valued by hardcore sports enthusiasts.”

The ability to get up to 60 hours of battery life in low power mode would be great for those who hate daily charges, but it’s doubtful that this convenience alone is worth the extra money for those who don’t want to take advantage of the advanced adventure features.

– Emily Barry

 

(end) Dow Jones Newswires

09-09-22 1827ET

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