When can we expect from the Apple Watch in 2022?

We're still many months away from the launch of the Apple Watch Series 8, but we're already hearing details about Apple's next-generation wrist-worn device. This guide aggregates everything we know about the Apple Watch Series 8 so far based on rumours. Note that it's still early in the product cycle, so these features have yet to be confirmed.

Design and Size Options

Little is known about the design of the Apple Watch Series 8 at this point, but it could look similar to the Apple Watch Series 7 as Apple just increased the display size with the Series 7 models and Apple usually sticks with a display size for a couple of years.

Display analyst Ross Young has suggested the Apple Watch Series 8 could come in three sizes instead of two, with Apple adding a larger size that would join the 41 and 45mm size options. Prior to the release of the ‌Apple Watch Series 7‌, multiple rumours suggested Apple was working on a refreshed design with flat edges similar to the flat edges of the iPhone 13 and iPad Pro, but that didn't end up happening. Given the number of rumours that confirmed Apple was planning such a design, it could still be happening, but for the Series 8 rather than the Series 7.

Rugged Apple Watch

According to Bloomberg, Apple is working on a version of the Apple Watch "with a rugged casing" that's aimed at athletes, hikers, and others who use the watch in more extreme conditions than day to day wear. It will feature the same functionality as a standard Apple Watch, but with improved impact resistance and protection. Apple is expected to launch the rugged Apple Watch in 2022.

Possible Health Features

According to The Wall Street Journal and other sources, Apple is developing several new health features for future Apple Watch models. These include blood-pressure monitoring, a thermometer for fertility and sleep tracking, sleep apnea detection, and diabetes detection.

Some of these features could be introduced in the Apple Watch Series 8, but it is not clear if all of these sensors are ready so Apple could also hold the functionality until a later date.

Temperature Sensor

There were rumours that Apple would add a temperature sensor to the Apple Watch in 2022, but according to Bloomberg, chatter about the feature has died down and it is not clear if such a feature will end up making it into the Apple Watch Series 8. A temperature measuring function would be useful for fertility tracking and keeping track of sleep, and in the future, it could also detect when a user has a fever.

Sleep Apnea Detection

Apple is aiming to use the existing blood oxygen sensor to detect sleep apnea, but there are issues with taking frequent readings without significantly impacting battery life.

Car Crash Detection

Apple is working on a crash detection feature for the iPhone and the Apple Watch, which could come out in 2022. It will use sensors like the accelerometer to detect car accidents when they occur by measuring a spike in gravitational force. When a car crash is detected, the ‌iPhone‌ or the Apple Watch would automatically dial emergency services to get help. Since it’s planned for 2022, this could be a feature designed for the iPhone 14 models and the Apple Watch Series 8, though it's not likely to be limited to those devices. It will be an expansion of the Fall Detection feature that's in existing Apple Watch and ‌iPhone‌ models.

Activity Tracking Update

According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, the Apple Watch Series 8 will include "major updates" to activity tracking. There is no word on what specifically might change. Faster Chips. The Apple Watch Series 8 is expected to adopt a faster system-on-a-chip that will bring performance improvements. Apple did not make changes with the S7 chip, but the S8 chip will be improved.

Apple Watch Patents

Apple has patented several interesting technologies that could potentially be used in future Apple Watch devices, such as a biometric authentication feature that authenticates identity based on the wearer's skin pattern. Such a feature would eliminate the need for a pass code when wearing the Apple Watch. Another patent describes a self-tightening Apple Watch band that would adjust during intensive activities like running or working out for accurate heart rate readings, and loosen up afterward. The tightening could also be used for directions, workout reps, and more. A third patent describes an Apple Watch band with an LED indicator that would visualize the progress of an activity or task, providing a visual indicator when completing a workout or an Activity ring, for example.

Apple in December 2019 published a patent describing how the Apple Watch could help doctors monitor the symptoms of Parkinson's patients using sensors to keep track of tremors. Apple believes this method of data tracking will allow users to better track their symptoms so they can plan activities around symptom patterns. A 2020 pair of patents suggest Apple is researching Touch ID and an under-display camera for the Apple Watch.

Apple describes a side button with an integrated ‌Touch ID‌ fingerprint sensor that could be used for user identification and device unlocking. Currently, the Apple Watch unlocks with a pass code and also when the paired ‌iPhone‌ is unlocked. As for an under-display camera, the patent describes a two-stage display technology that includes a camera that is externally visible only when engaged.

In 2021, Apple outlined a radical redesign of the Apple Watch in a patent filing, featuring a rounded watch face, wrap-around flexible display, and digitally-customizable watch bands. Apple has filed several other patents covering the possibility of moving hardware into the Apple Watch's band, including batteries, speakers, kinetic power generators, hap tic feedback devices, and even cameras. There's no word on whether these patented features will make it into an actual Apple Watch in the future, but it's interesting to see what Apple is working on and considering behind the scenes.

Apple Watch SE

The Apple Watch Series 8 will launch alongside a new rugged model and also a new version of the low-cost Apple Watch SE. We don't yet know what will be added to the ‌Apple Watch SE‌, but it is likely to have a faster processor.

Future Apple Watch Features

Blood Glucose Monitoring

Apple is rumoured to have a team of biomedical engineers working on a method for non-invasively monitoring blood glucose levels using optical sensors, technology that could potentially make its way into the Apple Watch at some point in the future. Such a feature would make diabetes management much easier because it would not require puncturing the skin. Blood glucose monitoring has been a feature that Apple has been working on for years, based on rumours, but it is a serious health feature that would likely require regulation. DigiTimes claims that Apple is working on short wavelength infrared sensors, which could allow the Apple Watch Series 8 to monitor blood glucose by measuring the amount of sugar in the blood. DigiTimes isn't always the most reliable source and Bloomberg says that blood glucose monitoring is still many years away.

Blood Pressure Measurements

Apple supplier Rockley Photonics is working on an advanced digital sensor system that allows wearable devices to monitor biomarkers like core body temperature, blood pressure, body hydration, alcohol, lactate, glucose trends, and more, using optical sensors. This technology could eventually make its way to the Apple Watch given the Partnership between Apple and Rockley, and rumours suggest we will see blood pressure monitoring capabilities introduced at some point. A wrist-worn blood pressure monitor could be used to detect when blood pressure is rising and the function would be able to detect hypertension. Blood pressure monitoring would work by measuring the speed of the wave of a heartbeat through a user's arteries using sensors. It would tell a user how their blood pressure is trending, but it won't be able to provide baseline systolic and diastolic blood pressure measurements. Some rumours have pointed towards blood pressure measurements in the Apple Watch Series 8, but the technology is not ready and the feature is now said to be two to three years away.

What will the new Apple Watch be called?

An easy one to start with - the main release this year will almost certainly be called the Apple Watch Series 8. Of the nine models released so far, only two (the original Apple Watch, and the cheaper Apple Watch SE) have had names that aren't based on the word Series and a number. Talking of the SE, however, it's possible we'll see a second (or even third) model with a different name released alongside the Series 8. Other than a second-gen SE, possibilities include an "Apple Watch Pro", a brand Apple reportedly considered back in 2015, or an Apple Watch Sport. We've covered multiple rumours about the Apple Watch Pro and Sport in recent months. They're not as far-fetched as you might think.

When will the Apple Watch Series 8 be released?

We expect the Apple Watch Series 8 to come out in September 2022. Apple's smart watches didn't used to be as predictable as its iPhones, but the company now seems to be settling on September as the launch window for its Watches. You can see this from the last few iterations:

  • Apple Watch Series 7: 15 October 2021
  • Apple Watch SE: 18 September 2020
  • Apple Watch Series 6: 18 September 2020
  • Apple Watch Series 5: 20 September 2019
  • Apple Watch Series 4: 21 September 2018

With an October announcement, the Apple Watch Series 7 is the only device to buck this particular trend of recent years. But 2021 was an unusual year in a number of ways; we suspect that semi-conductor shortages and COVID-related distribution disruptions played a part in the delay, and both should (hopefully) be less of a factor in 2022.

Regardless of the precise month - and we'd still bet heavily on September - you should certainly expect the Series 8 to make its debut in the autumn of 2022.

How much will the Apple Watch Series 8 cost?

Again, Apple has been quite consistent with the pricing on the Watch range, so with that in mind we'd expect the Apple Watch Series 8 to cost £369/US$399/AU$599 for the 41mm version and £399/US$429/AU$649 for the larger 45mm model. Those are the prices of the Apple Watch Series 7 (2021), and very similar to what they were with the previous two generations too, so it looks reasonably sure that Apple will stick at those sweet spots for its new models. There are also rumours of a new, larger model (which we discuss below), so that would add another price tag into the equation, although we have no details yet about what that might be. The only new version to come in cheaper is the Apple Watch SE (2020) which currently costs £249/US$249/AU$429 for the 40mm and £279/US$279/AU$479 if you prefer a 44mm display. You can still buy the Apple Watch Series 3, which is a very reasonable £179/US$199/AU$299 for the 38mm and £209/US$229/AU$349 for the 42mm, although it is getting a little long in the tooth now. If you want to get a bargain, then you'd do well to bookmark our best Apple Watch deals guide, as it's updated regularly with all the latest discounts on the whole range.

Design changes

Early rumours from analyst Ross Young suggest that Apple could be about to introduce an additional size option with the Series 8. He tweeted that, alongside the traditional 41mm and 45mm models, we shouldn't be surprised if there's a third size in 2022.

Maybe this could be achieved by leaving behind the classic frame of the Watch that has been around pretty much since the beginning and moving to a flatter, squarer design, as suggested by tech leaker Jon Prosser and concept artist Ian Zelbo. Prosser claims that the origin of this new look was from when "sources sent me a mixture of images as well as CAD files for this new design". He then handed these over to Ian Zelbo to work his magic, resulting in a rather fetching potential facelift for the Watch line. This fits in with previous rumours from noted industry analyst Ming Chi-Kuo and Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman who both stated that new Apple Watch designs were on their way. Most predicted the update in the Series 7 release, but it could be that they were all seeing details pertaining to the Series 8 instead.

New colour options

This is a perennial design rumour, because it's easy for pundits to imagine their favourite device in a different colour. The issue for Apple is deciding which colour finishes will actually sell. So remain sceptical when we show you some concept illustrations posted on Instagram by the account Appledsign. These show that the Apple Watch Series 7 'as it could have been' - with a different and bolder set of colours - and look pretty great. Whether Apple will take heed in time for the launch of the Series 8 is a different matter.

New features

Obviously, with the Apple Watch Series 8 still some way off, there's little in the way of confirmed new features that we know will appear in the next generation. But with so many previous rumoured upgrades ones not making it into the Series 7, there are some that could finally appear when Apple revamps the catalogue.

Improved battery life

Compared to some other smart watches, the Apple Watch can be a little wanting in the battery-life stakes. There were rumours that this would be addressed in the Series 7, but there wasn't really much to get excited about. Of course, if Apple is redesigning the chassis (as mentioned above) then there could be room for a more capacious battery.

Move to a Mini-LED display?

Moving forward, it's possible that the smallest displays in the Apple line-up could be one of the first to adopt the new Mini-LED panels or even be the beneficiaries of Micro-LED displays when the technology can be perfected. It could be too soon in terms of cost and production, but this would be a significant new feature if it did come to fruition.

New blood sugar sensor

It wouldn't be an Apple Watch rumour roundup without some kind of health-related new feature. Apple has decidedly placed the Watch at the centre of its healthy-lifestyle world and if current rumours are to be believed then we may finally see the arrival of a blood sugar sensor. Apple has already submitted patents for measuring blood glucose including ones with non-invasive terahertz (THz) electromagnetic radiation, which would no doubt be a real blessing for diabetics who currently need to use needles multiple times a day.

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