The Future Is Here
We may earn a commission from links on this page

What to Expect From the Apple Watch at Next Week's 'Wonderlust' Event

The second-gen Apple Watch Ultra might steal the scene from the expected Series 9 update.

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
A new Apple Watch Series 8 is displayed during an Apple special event on September 07, 2022 in Cupertino, California.
Don’t expect the Series 9 to thrill you this year.
Photo: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

Ready to meet all the new Apple products? Apple will announce its next generation of mobile products at next week’s Wonderlust event. We’ll know all about the new iPhone 15 on September 12th. We’ll also learn more about its companion accessory, the Apple Watch, which remains the best-selling smartwatch amongst the mobile-wielding masses.

What’s in store for the wearable this year? According to several reports from the most reliable Apple leaker, Mark Gurman at Bloomberg, we’ll meet the Apple Watch Series 9 and the second-gen Apple Watch Ultra at this year’s iPhone event. But the one model to pay particular attention to is the Ultra, expected to iterate significantly on the design from the first-gen. We might also be looking at sensor improvements across both watch models. If you were waiting to upgrade, this year may be it.


What to expect from the Apple Watch Series 9

Apple will likely introduce the 9th-generation Apple Watch at its Wonderlust event. The company has had an annual update schedule since debuting the Watch Series 3 in 2017. We expect the Series 9 will cost about the same as its predecessors, starting at $400.


The Apple Watch Series 9 hasn’t been circulating in the rumor mill as much as the iPhone 15, but there’s still some gossip. Namely, this year’s successor will be a tepid upgrade compared to the Series 8. No design changes are planned for the Apple Watch—why fix what isn’t broken? Expect more of a bump up for the insides, with the most significant upgrades coming in 2024.

The Series 9 could be the debut of Apple’s S9 chip, reported to be the first major chip enhancement since 2020's Series 6. There was a rumor that the Series 9 would be heavily inspired by its iPhone equivalent’s processor, the Bionic A15. But all it might mean is that this particular model of the S9 chip will be more efficient than its predecessors.

That new S9 processor may enable some of the Apple Watch Series 9's improved sensors. In particular, there may be a new optical heart rate sensor that more accurately tracks—what else?—how fast your heart beats during a workout or stressful situation. That processor may also be what helps get widgets off the ground when they arrive on WatchOS 10.

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 is more exciting

The Watch Ultra has been the buzzed-about, hyped-up wearable from Apple’s camp since its debut last year. The second-generation Ultra’s screen size could increase to 2.1 inches from 1.9 inches thanks to the slimming of the bezels—it’s what Samsung just did with its Galaxy Watch 6, and even that little bit of additional display improved the overall user experience.


Don’t expect a microLED display on the Apple Watch quite yet: according to South Korean manufacturing sources, that’s at least two generations away. Still, the next-gen Apple Watch Ultra will be lighter than its predecessor and include the side-facing Action Button.

We have yet to hear whether the Apple Watch will have 5G connectivity. Smartwatches across both Apple and Android’s ecosystems still rely on 4G/LTE connectivity since it’s less taxing on the battery, and wearables are typically a secondary accessory to the phone. But we know that Apple is adding ultrawideband connectivity across its entire mobile product lineup. In particular, Apple Watch Ultra’s U2 chip will likely facilitate more precise location data for the Find My app.


Any new sizes for the Apple Watch?

Likely not. Bloomberg tells us the Series 9 will continue to be 41mm and 45mm, with the Ultra remaining the biggest smartwatch with 49mm. To be more eco-friendly, we might also see Apple herald 3D-printed cases for the Series 9.


Will there be an Apple Watch SE?

Probably not. The Apple Watch SE does not get updated annually. Thus far, we’ve had a new update every other year. And since last year’s SE got a reprise, we shouldn’t expect anything new until at least 2024.