Apple Watch: Everything you need to know

Since launching its flagship Apple Watch wearable in 2015, Apple has regularly upgraded it. Due to naming conventions and other small changes, it can be difficult to keep up with the latest information on the Apple Watch. Here's some basic information about the Apple Watch and more details about Apple's popular wearable device.

Currently, Apple officially sells multiple versions of the following models:

  • Apple Watch Series 9
  • Apple Watch Ultra 2
  • Apple Watch SE (2nd generation)
  • Apple Watch Hermès

The following versions are no longer in production, but you may be able to find them from third-party retailers like Amazon and Adorama, often at significant discounts from the original price.

  • Apple Watch Series 8
  • Apple Watch Ultra
  • Apple Watch Series 7
  • Apple Watch Series 6
  • Apple Watch SE
  • Apple Watch Series 5
  • Apple Watch Series 4
  • Apple Watch Series 3
  • Apple Watch Series 2
  • Apple Watch Series 1
  • apple watch

Keep an eye out for Apple events, held several times a year, where Apple announces new products and services.

what we like
  • New S9 chip.

  • Double tap gesture.

  • Improved Siri.

  • Twice as bright as Series 8.

what we don't like
  • There's no major improvement in battery life.

  • Compared to the Series 8, this isn't a major feature upgrade.

  • It doesn't look much different from the Series 8.

Apple Watch Series 9 isn't a major upgrade from Series 8, but the introduction of watchOS 10 and the new S9 chip brings a variety of new conveniences to your wrist.

One of the most talked about features is the double-tap gesture, which allows you to interact with the watch using your thumb and index finger. This feature comes in handy when you need to answer a call or stop a timer without interacting with the display.

The Series 9 also has improved and more secure in-device Siri, easier location tracking if you misplace your watch, and a screen that's twice as bright as the Series 8. The base model starts at $399.

what we like
  • Longer battery life.

  • Powerful S9 chip.

  • The display is brighter.

  • More robust design.

what we don't like
  • One of the most expensive Apple watches.

  • Not much different from Series 9.

  • A small upgrade over its predecessor.

Like the Apple Watch Series 9, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 will debut in September 2023, powered by the new S9 chip and watchOS 10. Again, it offers most of the same features as the Series 9: double-tap gestures and a brighter display (1,000 nits brighter than the Ultra).

However, what makes the Ultra 2 unique compared to other Apple range models is longer battery life (36 hours in low-power mode versus the typical 18 hours and up to 72 hours), modular watch faces, and on-device Siri , no Wi-Fi or cellular network is required to help.

Ultra 2 is also more rugged than ever, dive-ready to depths up to 140 feet, and has an altitude detection range of approximately -1,600 to 29,500 feet. Apple Watch Ultra 2 continues the Ultra's starting price of $799.

what we like
  • S8 SiP with 64-bit dual-core processor.

  • Temperature sensor.

  • Low power mode.

  • Encrypted health data.

what we don't like
  • Starting price at launch is higher.

  • Not as durable as Apple Watch Ultra.

  • There are fewer sizes than Ultra and SE.

The Apple Watch Series 8 looks identical to the Series 7, but it includes a new temperature sensor that can provide more information about your health. Series 8 introduces end-to-end encrypted data protection so no one (including Apple) can see it.

In addition to the collision detection sensors, Low Power Mode also doubles the standard 18-hour battery life to 36 hours by disabling some features such as the always-on display.

Apple Watch Series 8 comes in three different designs and seven colors. Prices start at $399 for the standard model and $499 for the cellular model.

what we like
  • The 86 decibel siren sounds to attract attention.

  • Battery life is 36-60 hours.

  • Noise canceling microphone.

  • More accurate GPS.

what we don't like
  • Expensive model.

  • May have more features than you need.

  • Larger sizes may not provide 24/7 comfort.

Apple Watch Ultra is designed for intense workout conditions, especially outdoors. It was designed to be more durable and had longer battery life than any other Apple Watch at launch. The display is also the largest and brightest of any Apple Watch.

In addition to temperature monitoring, the watch offers advanced tracking features for activities like hiking and swimming. Apple Watch Ultra is made from military-grade materials and can withstand extreme temperatures from -4 degrees Fahrenheit to 131 degrees Fahrenheit.

Priced at a whopping $799, this high-end smartwatch comes with three straps for different conditions (off-road, mountain, and ocean).

what we like
  • Cheaper than Apple Watch Series 7 or 8.

  • S8 SiP with 64-bit dual-core processor.

  • Impact checking.

  • Some features of Apple Watch Series 6.

what we don't like
  • No always-on display.

  • There is no EKG app.

  • There are few improvements over the original Apple Watch SE.

The Apple Watch SE 2 is nearly identical to its predecessor, but with one major innovation: a new set of sensors designed to detect when you're in a car accident. So, in the event of an accident, your watch automatically sends alerts to your emergency content and local emergency services.

In addition, Apple Watch SE 2 is lighter than the original model and has a 20% faster processor. With the new low-power mode, you can extend your battery life by several hours.

Starting at $249, the Apple Watch SE 2 is ideal if you don't need all the features of the other models.

what we like
  • QWERTY keyboard.

  • Brighter always-on display.

  • Charging speed is increased by 33%.

  • Dustproof and waterproof.

what we don't like
  • Some features found in newer models are missing.

  • Battery life has not improved.

  • Not a major upgrade over the Series 6.

Apple Watch Series 7 introduces a new and improved operating system, watchOS 8, which includes new workout features, guided meditation apps, and improved fall detection.

The display is 20% larger than the old model, leaving room for a QWERTY keyboard. The crystal cover is twice as thick as Apple Watch Series 6 and twice as durable.

The Apple Watch Series 7 launches at the same price as the previous model ($399).

what we like
  • Blood Oxygen Sensor and App.

  • S6 SiP with 64-bit dual-core processor.

  • Various colors and straps available.

  • Tons of fitness features.

what we don't like
  • Getting all the features you want comes at a considerable cost.

  • Some users say battery life could be better.

  • Watch face options are limited.

Apple Watch Series 6 launched in September 2020 with some noteworthy new features, including a blood oxygen sensor and apps for on-demand readings, a new watch look, and the arrival of watchOS 7.

The operating system adds a ton of features to wearables, including Family Setup (which allows people to use an iPhone to pair watches for children, seniors, and anyone who doesn't have an iPhone), sleep tracking, automatic handwashing detection, and more. more.

Apple Watch Series 6 starts at $399.

what we like
  • Cheaper than Apple Watch Series 6.

  • water proof.

  • Some features of Apple Watch Series 6.

  • Choose from a sport strap or buckle-free Solo Loop.

what we don't like
  • Missing 6' series always-on display.

  • There is no blood oxygen app.

  • There aren’t as many color options as other models.

The Apple Watch SE was also launched in September 2020 and is the cheapest model in the new series. It doesn't have a blood oxygen sensor, but it does provide high, low and irregular heart rate alerts. It also has an optical heart sensor for the first time, but not an electronic one.

Like the Series 67, the SE ships with watchOS 7, which adds a host of features from sleep tracking to automatic handwashing detection and family settings that allow family members who don't have an iPhone to use the Apple Watch.

Apple Watch SE with GPS starts at $279, while the cellular model starts at $329.

what we like
  • Comes preloaded with the Nike Run Club app.

  • Exclusive Nike watch face.

  • Reflective Nike Sport Loop; New Nike Sport Band.

  • Nike straps are included in the cost.

what we don't like
  • Aluminum is the only housing material option.

  • Silver and space gray are the only colors available.

  • Not too different from the Series 6 or SE.

Apple Watch Nike is a variant of the Apple Watch 6 and SE, with many of the same features and options. Its main selling point is that it comes pre-installed with the Nike+ Run Club app, making it ideal for serious runners.

It also comes with a variety of Nike watch faces optimized for always-on Retina displays. Apple Watch Nike starts at $399.

what we like
  • The Hermès brand logo is printed on the back of the watch.

  • The exclusive Hermès watch face is optimized for the always-on Retina display.

  • Unique leather single and double tour straps.

  • Hermès sports strap.

what we don't like
  • The premium price tag isn't for everyone.

  • Available in select stores.

  • There is a strong emphasis on brand recognition.

The Apple Watch Hermès is another version, the result of a collaboration with the famous French design house, and it's a gorgeous smartwatch. Apple Watch Hermès was launched for the first time as part of the Series 6 series. It's now available on Series 9, so you'll have the same features and options plus a variety of finishes and designer bands.

Starting at $1,249, it's not a cheap option, but it's certainly stylish.

what we like
  • Second generation optical heart sensor.

  • Waterproof depth up to 50 meters.

  • The microphone is 50% louder than Series 3.

  • Digital crown with tactile feedback.

what we don't like
  • Battery life could be better.

  • It's not a major upgrade over the Series 4.

  • It is difficult to find this discontinued model.

Apple Watch Series 5 was released in September 2019, introducing a series of new features and functionality continued on Apple Watch 6 and SE. It debuts an always-on Retina display; a new Noise app to help protect your hearing; and dozens of options to customize the new wearable in Apple Watch Studio.

Series 5 inherits many features from Series 4, such as fall detection, Siri, compass, and ground level sensors to provide enhanced data about your workouts. A second generation photoelectric heart sensor and EGC application were also launched.

Since the Series 5 Apple Watch is no longer in production, prices will vary depending on which third-party reseller you find.

what we like
  • Titanium body.

  • Apple's exclusive smudge and fingerprint resistant treatment.

  • Ceramic surfaces are four times harder than stainless steel.

what we don't like
  • Discontinued and hard to find.

  • Very expensive.

  • Mainly aimed at collectors.

The Apple Watch Edition is a special Apple Watch variant that appears in the Apple Watch Series 3 and 5 series. It has an elegant ceramic body as well as a titanium option. This variant is discontinued, but you may be able to find some on third-party sites.

The Apple Watch Edition is the original high-end version of the Apple Watch, aimed primarily at watch collectors. Depending on size and strap choice, original configurations can cost up to $17,000.

what we like
  • LTE antenna for using the watch without an iPhone.

  • Optical heart sensor.

  • Barometric altimeter for tracking altitude.

  • Health and fitness tracking features.

what we don't like
  • Users may prefer the design of the new model.

  • No longer supported by Apple.

Apple Watch Series 3 was released in September 2017, equipped with watchOS 4. Its flagship feature is cellular connectivity available for an additional fee. The Series 3 watch comes in 38mm and 42mm sizes and is 11.4mm thick. It has fitness features, heart rate monitoring, exercise tracking, and more.

Apple no longer sells the Series 3 Apple Watch, which starts at $199 and comes in silver aluminum, space gray, and a variety of straps.

Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2 were both launched in the fall of 2016. The Series 1 is the original Apple Watch, with a newer processor for improved speed. It can be exposed to rain or hand washing briefly, but is not intended to be submerged.

However, the Series 2 is the first Apple Watch to officially support water use, with 50-meter water resistance and swimming fitness tracking capabilities.

Series 1 and 2 are available in two sizes: 38 mm and 42 mm. Series 1 is 10.5 mm thick and Series 2 is 11.4 mm thick. These models are no longer in production.

The original Apple Watch had no series number, but came in three models: Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport, and Apple Watch Edition.

The Apple Watch Sport is the lowest-cost model and has an aluminum body. The Apple Watch is the premium version and is made of stainless steel. Apple Watch Edition is made of 18-karat gold. Apart from the body material, there are no other characteristics that differ.

Apple released the first Apple Watch in September 2014 and went on sale in the spring of 2015.