Don't Get Caught Up in Apple Watch X Hype Before Series 9

Commentary: The Apple Watch Series 9 has the potential to be a noteworthy update with reports of better battery life, but rumors of the 2024 model are stealing the spotlight.

Bridget Carey Principal Video Producer
Bridget Carey is an award-winning reporter who helps you level-up your life -- while having a good time geeking out. Her exclusive CNET videos get you behind the scenes as she covers new trends, experiences and quirky gadgets. Her weekly video show, "One More Thing," explores what's new in the world of Apple and what's to come. She started as a reporter at The Miami Herald with syndicated newspaper columns for product reviews and social media advice. Now she's a mom who also stays on top of toy industry trends and robots. (Kids love robots.)
Expertise Consumer technology, Apple, Google, Samsung, Microsoft, Amazon, Meta, social media, mobile, robots, future tech, immersive technology, toys, culture Credentials
  • Bridget has spent over 18 years as a consumer tech reporter, hosting daily tech news shows and writing syndicated newspaper columns. She's often a guest on national radio and television stations, including ABC, CBS, CNBC and NBC.
Bridget Carey
3 min read
An Apple Watch SE on a wrist

Apple is expected to launch the Apple Watch Series 9 in September.

Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

It can be hard for Apple Watch Series owners to know when is the right time to invest in an upgraded model. Year after year, Apple makes small improvements to the Series lineup -- and older models hold up very well throughout the years. 

But as Apple is expected to reveal the Apple Watch Series 9 in just a few weeks, the second-guessing and concerns about buyer's remorse are amped up with lots of buzz around what Apple might be working on for 2024 and the 10th anniversary of its wrist wearable: the Apple Watch X.

The headliner feature of the X (pronounced "ten") could be a form of blood pressure monitoring, as reported by Bloomberg. But it may not release as a tool that could replace a traditional measurement from a cuff -- or could it?

In this week's episode of One More Thing, embedded above, I highlight the rumors and reported features coming to both the Series 9 and Series X watches -- and why you don't have to have stress if you want to upgrade now.

The Series 9 is reported by Bloomberg to have an improved processor that could help boost battery life, and there's buzz that a new pink color could be in the mix. (Apple is reportedly working on a blood glucose monitor for a future Apple Watch, but it's not expected to be ready yet.)

As for the buzz on Series X, the report mentions potential design tweaks: thinner casing, a new microLED display for the screen and bands that could attach differently, possibly with magnets. It also is expected to have a sensor for pressure monitoring. It's a feature Bloomberg reported Apple was working on for years now, and it's been challenging to test. To get a sense of the current development of wrist-worn blood pressure monitoring, we can look to how other companies are tackling the tech.

Samsung's Galaxy Watch 5 can track blood pressure outside the US, but you need to calibrate it with an actual blood pressure monitor cuff first.

The Omron HeartGuide, released in 2018, is a smartwatch that achieves a real measurement with an inflating cuff that pressurizes over the wrist. It received clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration, but costs a steep $500. CNET's Scott Stein reviewed the Omron HeartGuide and found it to give measurements that matched up with the readings from his doctor. He said blood pressure monitoring could be the next big frontier for wearable tech, "but in its current form, it won't be for everyone yet."

So can it be done without a cuff? Maybe. Valencell introduced a clip-on finger-based blood pressure measurement device at CES 2023. It looks a lot light a portable pulse oximetry device, and Stein demoed it at CES by using his middle figure for a blood pressure spot check on the show floor.

The tech is still pretty tricky to get right, so it's hard to say to what degree this tech could show up in a 2024 Apple Watch. I wouldn't hold your breath for something that can replace a doctor visit from an Apple Watch. But when you tell me the Series 9 could include a better processor to squeeze out more battery life? Now that's a feature people can get excited about now.

But since nothing is official, we'll have to wait to see what Apple actually unveils next month. Apple hasn't given any clues yet, but it's widely expected we'll see the Series 9 the same day Apple reveals the iPhone 15 -- and pundits are pointing to Sept. 12 as the day that could happen.

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