Apple Watch Series 9 could get long-awaited feature, new leak claims

Apple Watch Series 9 could get long-awaited feature, new leak claims

Apple is expected to release the Apple Watch Series 10 this fall. But there’s one feature that’s been missing from every single Apple Watch since the first ones launched in Spring 2015. A new report claims it’s on the way.

May 2nd update below. This post was first published on April 29, 2023.

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May 2 update. Not every update brings welcome news, and the same goes for the Apple Watch. An updated version of the Apple Watch Ultra has been rumored for some time, first released last fall. There’s nothing surprising about that. What’s less certain, however, is if or when the Ultra will change its display technology. Currently, all Apple Watch models use OLED for their screens, but reports are that these will be upgraded to microLED, a technology that could offer greater brightness and pixel density. Exciting.

But it seems timing is the most volatile. It really has been everywhere, with the earliest arrival reportedly being this year. I’ve always been skeptical: Apple has never introduced an Apple Watch design in one year in smartwatch history only to change it significantly the next.

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has previously said that microLED is coming and suggested that we should expect it in the second half of 2024. That seems much more likely, and doesn’t rule out an update to the Ultra this fall either, although that would likely focus on a processor update. While it’s possible the current model could last two years, it would be odd if the Series 10 had a new processor while the top-of-the-line Ultra has last year’s chip.

Anyway, the latest report changes things again. Ross Young, the display analyst, tweeted that the new display technology will come even later. Here is the link to the tweet, but you must subscribe to Young’s content to see it. The gist is that microLED will be coming to the Apple Watch Ultra in fall 2025. So there is still a long way to go in more than two years.

That sounds perfectly plausible: After all, Apple has not had to postpone the introduction of a new technology on one of its devices for the first time.

Another question needs to be answered: will Apple introduce microLED only for the Apple Watch Ultra or for all of its models at the same time? While it’s true that in the early days of the Apple Watch, the only difference between the cheapest and most expensive models was just the metal case, the Ultra broke with the introduction of a completely different design. Does this mean that new screen technologies will land on the Ultra first and later on other models? We don’t know yet, although that seems the most likely to me.

Of course, there is still enough time until the end of 2025 to reveal all the details.

April 30 update. Shortly after the latest rumor comes a report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. According to Gurman in his latest Power-On NewsletterThe way you use your Apple Watch will change significantly with the arrival of watchOS 10, likely the platform that will launch the sync feature below.

According to Gurman, Apple will “give its watch lineup one of the biggest software updates since the original release — with a new focus on widgets and fundamental changes to how the device works.” That’s fascinating, and Gurman says it’s designed to give you more information with the least amount of navigation. It is of course appropriate that saving time is a priority with a gadget like a watch.

The focus of the widgets harks back to the Glances interface, which was found on the first Apple Watch but has long since been discontinued. As Gurman points out, “Apps remained the core of the Apple Watch. The best way to get information about the device — aside from viewing complications on the watch face — is still by launching apps. To make this as easy as possible, the home screen is accessible with a single press of the Digital Crown, the watch’s most prominent button.”

But with watchOS 10, widgets appear to be making a comeback and central to the experience, perhaps even meaning a single press of the Digital Crown will take you to the widgets rather than the home screen. “The plan is to let users scroll through a variety of different widgets—for activity tracking, weather, stock tickers, calendar events, and more—rather than letting them launch apps,” explains Gurman.

If that sounds like a big change, that’s because it is. So big, in fact, that such a change as the Digital Crown change could be optional at first.

It’s believed that the major updates to the watch this year will be software-based, and that would certainly be a dramatic change.

According to the Twitter account of @Analyst941, who describes himself as an Apple software analyst, a future Apple Watch could sync with multiple Apple devices. Here’s why that’s important.

Although you can currently sync more than one Apple Watch to your iPhone, each watch can only be paired with one phone. That means if you don’t have an iPhone but have an iPad and/or a Mac, you can’t even set up an Apple Watch.

Of course, that’s because Apple loves to keep you safe in its walled garden ecosystem, and the company would say it’s to protect the user experience.

However, if you could sync your Apple Watch to an iPad or Mac, a whole new set of options become apparent.

If you have more than one phone, even if both are iPhones, you can only pair your Apple Watch with one of them. If one of these iPhones is for work and the other for personal stuff, you’ll need to carry the one the watch is paired with to make sure it stays up to date with notifications, for example.

Here’s what @analyst941 said in his tweet: “Apple Watch can finally sync across more than one Apple device. I don’t know how that is implemented. Again, all I know, **ALL** I know, is that the Apple Watch will sync across multiple iOS/iPadOS/Mac devices and will no longer be tied to a single iPhone.”

So no details on how it will be achieved or how it will work, but it’s a good move. Remember how much freer it felt to wear the Apple Watch after it received LTE connectivity in some models?

It is also unclear whether you need an iPhone for the initial setup. I would have thought a companion iPad might work, but maybe not a Mac. I am confident that the Apple Watch will not be paired with an Android phone.

As 9to5Mac points out, a recent report that the Health app on iPhone with iPadOS 17 will be coming to iPad could indicate that setup with an iPad is imminent.

Regardless of the setup method, the main benefit is additional synchronization with multiple Apple devices. In fact, the only downside I see is the one many new users encounter: information overload until you fine-tune which email accounts etc. are sending data to the watch. But that’s easy to fix.

We’ll almost certainly get a hint at WWDC in June, although full implementation may be delayed until the release of the Apple Watch Series 10 this fall. In any case, it’s likely a feature of watchOS 10 that works with more than one generation of Watches.

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