Apple Watch Series 8: Should You Upgrade?
It is that time (pun intended) of the year again. The slew of new products recently released by Apple include the new iPhone 14 series as well as the long-awaited Apple Watch Series 8, making it an exciting time for tech enthusiasts.
The Apple Watch Series 7 was considered by many tech enthusiasts to be an underwhelming product considering the high standards that Apple has set in its decades-old reign as the supreme tech company. This means that there is a lot of pressure on the Apple Watch Series 8 to get the ever-popular smartwatch product back on track. The Apple Watch Series 8 hit stores and virtual shelves on September 16th, to typical fanfare and excitement.
While Apple has been the undisputed king of the smartwatch industry from the very beginning, offerings by Google and Samsung have been able to slowly chip away at the distance. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is already released while the Google Pixel Watch is on the horizon, both looking to finally overtake Apple. Considering that Apple charges a higher price than both makers for the standard models, the Apple magic really needs to work in order to justify that higher price point.
For people who are in the market for a new smartwatch right now, the biggest competition for the Apple Watch Series 8 is going to come from its predecessor, the Apple Watch Series 7 (which is expected to get a considerable price cut in typical Apple fashion).
In this article, I'm going to dissect this newest member of the Apple family to see, is it really is worth your money to upgrade or should you just wait for the next big update?
New Design? Or Not?
Take a look at the Apple Watch Series 8 rumors from a few months ago. The consensus was that the new Apple Watch 2022 was going to get a major update instead of the usual "lifecycle impulse" upgrades that are characterized by incremental improvements.
The first impression when holding the watch is one of familiarity, to the point that you may have a hard time distinguishing the series 8 from the series 7. Apple is one of the most famous practitioners of the old adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. This is exactly what they have done with the design here as well.
Considering that the classic Apple Watch design has always been relatively well-received, Apple’s decision to retain the same design is a safe choice. The watch latches onto your wrist with distinct familiarity, with the same characteristics that fans have loved for years.
The bonus is the fact that all previous Apple Watch Bands will be compatible with the Series 8 due to the band structure staying exactly the same. That means all our bestselling ranges including Vulcan Series will fit just as well as before.
The range of Apple official watch bands continues to expand nicely with each iteration but there is still a puzzling lack of high-quality and affordably priced leather straps. Sure, the Hermes collaboration contains some gorgeous options but with eye-watering price tags running into the thousands, they simply aren’t an option for many.
Fortunately, we are still on hand with some of the best-priced, premium leather bands on the market. If that’s you’re style, I personally recommend both the Caiman Series and the Classic Series for a timeless take on the latest gadgetry.
Health and Fitness: Incremental Changes
While Apple has kept most of the exterior similar, the real differences start to emerge in the functionality of the Apple Watch Series 8. The newly introduced skin temperature sensor allows you to see if you’re running a fever or not, making it a game-changer for people who might be facing a bout of illness.
Rather impressively, the skin temperature sensor can also be used to track ovulation for female wearers. If you and your partner are actively trying to conceive then simply for this reason the upgrade is almost certainly worth it.
What may prove to be Apple’s most crucial new feature is the crash detection function. Apple claims that this feature can be used to detect a car crash which might create a situation where the user is unable to reach their phone. In that situation, the feature will automatically dial the number of emergency services. It can work in tandem with the iPhone 14, which also boasts the same sensor. It’s the best feature you hope you will never need to use.
On the fitness side of things, the only thing of note that has been upgraded over the Series 7 is the improved gyroscope, which in practical use makes little notable difference.
Usability: Same Old, Same Old
The Apple Watch Series 8’s usability has not been much upgraded over the previous model. You can expect to get a battery life of around 17-18 hours, which is coincidentally the exact same number that the Series 7 is able to get.
The new low-power mode disables a bunch of automatic features such as the workout tracking system which allows it to effectively double its battery life. However, this is an upgrade that is going to be rolled out for all Apple Watches which support watchOS 9 (all models going back to the series 4).
Verdict: Worth the Upgrade?
The Apple Watch Series 8 is emblematic of Apple’s philosophy of providing incremental changes after every hardware refresh. This is a pattern that they have followed with the iPhone for years and have been very successful. At this point, Apple’s fanbase is one of the biggest in the tech world, meaning that any model they roll out is always going to sell in spades.
For some people, the upgrade might not be worth it, but the value of the added features can definitely make a difference for others. If you are a proud owner of a Series 7, there really is not much reason to go through the hassle of upgrading. However, for people who find a lot of value in the skin temperature sensor and the crash detection, it might be worthwhile to upgrade to the Series 8.
Owners of watches older than the Series 7 might finally be persuaded to upgrade. However, you should hold your breath before you click on that order button, as the Apple Watch Series 7 will most certainly get a hefty price cut in the coming months.
Overall, the vast majority of people can keep their Series 7 comfy on their wrists for the next year, hoping for a major redesign.
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