The Apple Watch Series 8 features no design updates compared to the prior-generation model, with all of the same features and functionality. There continue to be 41mm and 45mm size options, and the casings feature the same rounded edges, slim-bordered display, sapphire crystal backing, and Digital Crown with haptic feedback.
There is an Always-On display that lets users see their watch face and complications at all times, and the Series 8 features crack-resistant front glass, IP6X dust resistance, and a WR50 water resistance rating. Apple Pay purchases are available with credit and debit cards stored in the Wallet app, and it has the same faster charging speeds with updated charging puck as on the Series 7. There is an S8 chip inside, but it is essentially identical to the S6 chip from two years ago with no speed improvements.
Heart rate monitoring, blood oxygen detection, ECG readings, sleep tracking, fall detection, and loud noise monitoring continue to be available, plus Apple has added a few new features this year. There’s a built-in temperature sensor that’s used for giving women additional insights into their health.
The feature is based on a two-sensor design that captures temperature information from the back of the watch near the skin and under the display, reducing environmental bias. At night, the Apple Watch Series 8 takes a temperature reading every five seconds, and it can detect changes as small as one degree. Apple Watch Series 8 owners can see nightly shifts in their baseline temperature that can be the result of exercise, jet lag, or illness.
Apple Watch Series 8 uses the temperature sensor to provide women with retrospective ovulation estimates, which can be helpful for family planning purposes. The data also provides improved period predictions, and in watchOS 9, women can receive notifications if a logged cycle history shows a possible deviation like irregular, infrequent, or prolonged periods.
A new Crash Detection feature takes advantage of an updated gyroscope and accelerometer along with an advanced sensor-fusion algorithm to detect severe car crashes and alert emergency services. When a crash occurs, the Apple Watch checks in with the user and if no response is received within a 10-second countdown, emergency responders will be contacted.
Battery life remains the same at up to 18 hours, but it can be extended with a new Low Power Mode added in watchOS 9. With Low Power Mode, the Apple Watch can run for up to 36 hours, but it disables the Always-On display, turns off background heart rate measurements, limits WiFi and cellular connections, and more.
There are both GPS and cellular Apple Watch models, and later this fall, Apple plans to add support for international roaming, allowing Apple Watch owners to connect to a cellular plan when traveling abroad.
The Apple Watch Series 8 is available in aluminum and stainless steel. Aluminum colors include Starlight, Midnight, Silver, and (PRODUCT)RED, while the stainless steel models come in Silver, Graphite, and Gold. Apple has introduced new band colors to go along with the Series 8, and it can be purchased with any available band.
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