The Apple Watch Series 8 is expected to be announced alongside the rumored iPhone 14 at the company's launch event today, and could mark a couple of milestones for Apple's popular smartwatch. It might be the first to come in a new "Pro" version for extreme sports and included a temperature sensor. That's if reports from Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal turn out to be true.
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The Series 7, which Apple unveiled alongside the iPhone 13 lineup last September, didn't receive many significant changes apart from its enlarged screen, faster charging and improved durability. Other than the expected temperature sensor, the standard Series 8 may follow the same route. Bloomberg reports the Series 8's hardware will be generally similar to that of the Series 7.
We'll know for sure once Apple announces its next smartwatch. The company is expected to introduce the Series 8, a Pro version of the Series 8 and a new Apple Watch SE soon. Until then, current Apple Watch owners will get new software features when WatchOS 9 debuts this fall.
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Health: Apple Watch Series 8 may debut a temperature sensor
Years before the pandemic, Apple already held long-term health ambitions for its popular wrist accessory, with CEO Tim Cook describing health as Apple's "greatest contribution to mankind." And according to reports by Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal, Apple may further those ambitions with the addition of a temperature sensor in the Apple Watch Series 8.
The temperature-sensing feature could bring new fertility planning tools to Apple's smartwatch, according to the reports. A more recent Bloomberg report suggests the Series 8 may be able to detect fevers. But that doesn't mean you should expect to get a specific temperature reading like you would when using a standard thermometer. Instead, Bloomberg says it will likely be able to tell whether you might have a fever and would recommend using a dedicated thermometer or consulting a doctor.
There are also a number of other health features in Apple's pipeline, according to the reports, though such tools are said to still be in development. They include glucose monitoring, a tool that alerts users if their blood oxygen level drops, sleep apnea detection and blood pressure monitoring, according to the Journal and Bloomberg. But these features are expected to be far off and likely won't appear in the Apple Watch for years. Bloomberg reported that the blood pressure tool wouldn't be ready until 2024 at the earliest.
The blood pressure tech would likely work by using sensors to measure the speed of the wave a heartbeat sends through a person's arteries, reports the Journal. Unlike traditional blood pressure monitoring cuffs, which are usually strapped around the upper arm, it wouldn't provide baseline systolic and diastolic blood pressure measurements. Instead, it would tell you how your blood pressure is trending, the report said. Samsung has previously incorporated a similar blood pressure feature in the Galaxy Watch 4, which is available in some countries and regions like South Korea and Europe, where it's received regulatory approval.
Read more: A New Apple Watch SE Sounds More Exciting Than the Series 8
A new model: The rugged Apple Watch Pro
According to Bloomberg, Apple will launch its largest smartwatch yet this fall. This new model, which has been referred to as the Apple Watch Pro or Apple Watch Explorer Edition, will reportedly have a larger nearly 2-inch screen, a bigger battery and a more durable exterior compared to the standard flagship model. This watch would be targeted toward those who participate in extreme sports and other adventurous outdoor activities.
The display increase means the Apple Watch Pro will have 7% more screen space than the current largest Apple Watch, which is the Series 7, according to the report. That could pair nicely with the new watch faces fitness statistics Apple just announced in WatchOS 9. Bloomberg has been reporting on this new rugged Apple Watch since last year but recently published newer details on the screen size and larger battery.
Design: Apple Watch Series 8 may get a new size
By and large, the overall aesthetic of the Apple Watch has remained virtually unchanged since the original one made waves back in 2015. But rumors suggest Apple may add another new Apple Watch size after enlarging the display of the Series 7. According to posts on Twitter by display analyst Ross Young, a third size of the Apple Watch may come to fruition this year. Bloomberg also says there's been some internal discussion about the Series 8 getting an updated display, but it's unclear if that means its size would change.
However, there's a chance this new display size may be exclusive to the so-called Apple Watch Pro. A July 6 report from Bloomberg says the new rugged Apple Watch will have a screen measuring almost two inches diagonally, while the regular Series 8's display will be the same size as the Series 7's.
Performance: Similar to the Series 7
Apple isn't planning on making major changes to the Series 8's performance, according to Bloomberg. The Series 8's processor reportedly has the same specifications as the Series 7's chip, which already shares many similarities with the Series 6's chip. Apple is saving a more significant processor update for next year's Apple Watch, Bloomberg reports.
The decision to essentially keep the same processor for three Apple Watch generations is significant. It suggests the Apple Watch has matured to the point where year-over-year performance changes aren't very dramatic. Instead, the biggest areas where the Apple Watch is showing signs of growth involve health tracking and new software features, as Apple has shown with WatchOS 9.
Battery life: A new low-power mode
Since the Series 8 is expected to have a processor that's similar to the Series 7's, I'd expect battery life to remain the same, too. But the Series 8 might get a different update aimed at extending battery life: a new low-power mode. Bloomberg previously reported that WatchOS 9 would include a new low-power mode that would allow the watch to run certain apps and features while conserving battery life. That feature didn't make it into Apple's latest software update, but a more recent Bloomberg report suggests that it could arrive as an exclusive for Apple's next-generation smartwatch. The rumored Apple Watch Pro is also said to have a larger battery, according to Bloomberg.
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