The invention of the smartphone has driven the evolution of the smartwatch – and Apple leads the way with its Apple Watch range, designed for convenience and style.
Apple’s smartwatches offer integration with iOS technology and excellent fitness tracking and wellbeing focused features.
The History of the Apple Watch
Since its launch in 2015 the Apple Watch has seen multiple iterations. Series 1 and Series 2 were made available in 2016. Series 3 arrived a year later. The Series 4 a year after that and in September 2019 the Apple 5 hit the market. Series 6 hit the market in September 2020. 7 was launched in 2021 and the 8/Ultra in September 2022.
What Watch to Choose
Apple no longer sells the original Apple Watch or the Series 1, 2 and Series 4, though you can find good secondhand buys. Alongside the new Series 8, and Series 7, Apple is also currently selling the Apple Watch Nike+ edition and Apple Watch Hermes.
Apple Watches are available either as GPS or GPS +Cellular versions; the main difference being that the Cellular type allows the user to operate the Apple Watch without the iPhone being anywhere near.
If you’re considering purchasing an Apple Watch but are not sure which model will suit your requirements, read on as we compare and discuss Series 2, Series 3, Series 4 and Series 5,6,7 through Series 8.
Apple Watch Design
Until Apple Watch 4, the look of each device was similar. Apple Watch has a larger screen – between 40mm and 44mm – and also includes haptic feedback on the digital crown. Series 5 is available in either 38mm or 42mm versions. Series 6 is 40mm and 44mm and 7 and 8 are 41mm and 45mm. The new Ultra is 49mm.
Series 2 and up are all waterproof with a 5ATM rating. This means that they are suitable to wear in water depths of up to 50 metres for 10 minutes – so you can shower and swim with confidence. On Series 3, Apple says that although water is able to penetrate the speaker, sound vibrations help to expel the moisture back out.
Each generation of watches has allowed for plenty of personalisation with colour and material options. More recent versions such as the Series 7 and 8 have a bigger library of options with case materials in aluminium, titanium, stainless steel and gold.
Apple Watch Display
Series 5 and 6 are the only ones to have the always-on display feature. Undoubtedly one of its stand-out characteristics. The always-on function allows the wearer to quickly and efficiently do the simplest of tasks such as checking the time. The watch face will highlight key information such as date, time and weather and are refreshed even when the wearer’s wrist is down. To assist with preserving battery life, the display can be dimmed by covering the watch face, or it will initiate the dim mode automatically when the wrist is down.
Apple Watch Performance
The Apple Watch has never been particularly power-hungry, but with each generation, performance has improved. Series 2 houses the S2 integrated computer/System on Chip (SoC). Whilst Series 3 hosts S3 and saw the introduction of the dual-core. Series 4 and Series 5 both operate on a 64-dual core processor. This affords activity that is up to 2x faster than the S3 processor.
Despite no notable difference in the performance between Apple’s latest models, they retain their own unique SoC, S4 and S5 respectively. Like the speed, each generation has had more RAM giving the user more multi-tasking for their money; Series 2 at 512MB of RAM, Apple Watch 3 with 768MB and levelling off at 1GB RAM for series 4 and 5.
Apple has doubled its storage capacity with each new generation of; Series 5 boasts 32GB.
Health and Wellbeing
There is no need for a separate fitness tracker. Each generation of the Watches has an inbuilt heart rate monitor, an accelerometer, a gyroscope and an ambient light sensor. However, it wasn’t until Series 3 that the device gained an altimeter and a magnetometer (enabling compass functionality) in Series 5.
Fitness enthusiasts can mould the Watch into their very own activity coordinator using a variety of health and exercise apps. Each series offers increasingly advanced options with added capability, for example, Series 3 has ‘Activity Rings’ which allows you to monitor your daily movements whilst the improved Workout App in Series 4 includes yoga and hiking and is able to identify what exercise is being undertaken automatically.
New and impressive for Series 5 is upgraded optical and electronic heart sensors allowing more accurate heart monitoring including ECGs which is being supported by the American Heart Association.
Series 4 and 5 offer the wearer added protection against falls. The device can detect a fall and will contact the emergency services if it does not detect any movement within a minute.
GPS is available on Series 2, Series 3, Series 4, Series 5 and Series 6 models, offering greater flexibility when out and about.
There is no notable difference in battery life between the range of the Watches. Each offering is in the region of 18-24hrs of battery use.
Bluetooth and Wi-fi are standard installations on each Apple Watch, but there is the added advantage of the cellular option from Series 3 upwards.
With each generation of the Apple Watch, the user is provided with additional apps and creative Watch faces.
Software / Operating System
Like Apple’s smartphones, the brand’s smartwatches have a unique operating system labelled watchOS. WatchOS allows touch functionality and a whole directory of smart and fun features. It is watchOS that enables the device to be used for calling, texting, receive social media notifications and make purchases via Apple Pay. Like the iPhone Siri is also available on the range of Apple Watches and with Series 4 and Series the assistant works on a ‘raise to speak’ saving you having to wake it up with with a ‘Hey Siri’.
The current operating system is watchOS 7, and this will work on all versions discussed here. Useful features in watchOS 7 include noise level notifications and you can now download apps directly, rather than having to use your iPhone.
Unlike its competitors, the Apple Watch range will only work with the iPhone; iPhone 5 running iOS 10 or later for Series 2 and for Series 3 either an iPhone on iOS11 or an iPhone 6.
The price you pay is dependent on the model, the casing, strap and the screen size. Apple Watches range in price from just under $200 for a Series 3 with an aluminium case and a sports band, all the way up to $1,500 for the special Hermes version of the Series 5. The new Apple Watch 6 costs around $500.
The Apple Watch 7 is coming…
The Apple Watch 7 was introduced on September 14 with the iPhone 13, signalling a significant overhaul for the brand’s watch line. We now have a better idea of what to anticipate from the wearable, which is set to be released later this year (Q3 2021). It appears to be a succession of small changes.
Series 7 has greater screen real estate, rounded edges, and reduced bezels. It also comes in two new sizes, 41mm and 45mm. This is the first big upgrade since the 40mm and 44mm sizes series 2 were expanded. The improvements, however, were not as significant as we had imagined.
Despite rumours of a more drastic makeover to a flat-edged look, such as the iPhone 13, we’re still in round-edge land.
Apple has also ruled out the addition of additional health-tracking functions, such as blood pressure and glucometer sensors, which are slated to debut in Apple Watch 8 next year. Series 7 looks to provide no substantial upgrades over its predecessor.
On the interior, Series 7 has a 70% brighter Always-On display, IP6X dust protection, and water resistance comparable to prior versions, as well as increased durability. There is no difference in battery life (18 hours), however the battery recharges 33% faster.
The Apple Watch 7 is the company’s newest watch, after Series 6. While the Apple Watch SE 2 is still in development, the Apple Watch SE remains the most inexpensive wearable in Apple’s range.
The new watchOS 8 will work with Series 7, as well as series 3 and subsequent wearables, although it is ideally suited for the Apple Watch 7.
Even if the Apple Watch 7 isn’t a game-changer, it’s still the greatest Apple Watch money can buy (or will be once it’s launched later this month).
When will the Apple Watch 7 be available for purchase, and how much will it cost?
The Apple Watch 7 was introduced on September 14 alongside other high-profile Apple goods. It starts at a reasonable price of a little under $400. We don’t yet have any official pricing or a release date for the Apple Watch 7, only that it will be available ‘later this autumn’ (Q3 2021).
In addition to the standard small and large sizes, the Apple Watch 7 now comes in 41mm and 45mm GPS-only and 4G LTE models, with pricing starting at $399 for the 41mm GPS-only model.
When purchasing the Apple Watch 7, you may select from a variety of colours. There are five new aluminium finishes to pick from: midnight (black), starlight (grey), green, blue, and (PRODUCT)RED. There are also three new Nike Sport Loop colours, as well as new Hermès bands for the Apple Watch.
Design and display
Despite rumours of a flat-edged design akin to the iPhone 13, the Apple Watch 7 will remain a round-edged piece of wearable technology. Despite the new wristwatch’s smaller 1.7mm bezels, it has 20% more screen space than the Apple Watch 6.
This year’s Apple Watches will feature a larger screen and a smaller bezel than last year’s models, growing to 41mm and 45mm, respectively, although the overall size will not be significantly larger. Other enhancements include the display, which has been brightened by 70% in an Always-On mode inside compared to its predecessor.
In QuickPath, you may also build words by touching and dragging on the keyboard. Apple has never previously allowed keyboard typing, although third-party programmes have.
The new Apple Watch is more durable than its predecessor, thanks to an optical display with “robust geometry” and “over 50 percent thicker” front glass. In addition to its WR50 water-resistant rating, the Apple Watch has IP6X dust resistance certification. That is, it can be submerged to a depth of 50 metres.
A bigger screen means that the watch will be heavier. At the time of writing, Apple has not confirmed that each model weighs somewhat less than the nearest Apple Watch 6 model, according to a leaked support document.
Battery life and specifications
Apple did not provide any specifications for the Apple Watch 7, but based on its predecessor, it would most likely have 1GB of RAM and 32GB of storage.
Despite this, we’ve just seen a leaked support document pointing to a new S7 chipset. In practice, it doesn’t appear to be significantly quicker than the S6, although it is more energy-efficient. Both leaks confirmed our concerns regarding the 32GB storage capacity.
The Apple Watch 6 boasts the same 18-hour battery life as the previous model. Implying the 304mAh battery would likewise last that long.
Despite the 45-minute charge time, the watch comes with a more advanced charger that charges it 33% quicker. According to current claims, an 8-minute charge will monitor sleep for 8 hours. In addition, the watch will come with a new 1m USB-C magnetic quick charging cable.
The Apple Watch 7 utilises the same sensor suite as the Apple Watch 6, thus claims that the Apple Watch will add glucometers and blood pressure sensors were false.
However, the wristwatch still has an outstanding range of health monitoring capabilities, such as ECG, blood oxygen levels, heart rate, and many more.
The Apple Watch 7 also has WatchOS 8, which includes the new Mindfulness app, which is a standalone software that provides audio-only meditation sessions from Fitness Plus.
The Apple Watch 7 will arrive with watchOS 8, which should be available in the coming weeks for other Apple smartwatches.
Among the highlights are a new Mindfulness app (which will incorporate the Breathe app), Tai Chi and Pilates added to the Workout app, the ability to track respiratory rate while sleeping, and a redesigned Photos app.
Which will it be?
Whichever Apple Watch you opt for it is clear they certainly offer a suite of standard features to suit a variety of needs, and you can keep up to date with the latest releases of the operating system, keeping your device functional.
If you’re not sure which Apple Watch is best for you then we have created an easy comparison of all Apple offerings from the first generation to the Series 6 and SE. Check it out here.
- Apple Watch 6 – Everything you need to know
- Apple Watches for Kids
- The new Apple Watch SE – Review
- Apple Family Sharing Functions and Benefits
- The Control and Safety Benefits of Apple Family Set Up
- Apple Watch Comparison
Last Updated on December 11, 2022
Emma brings over a decade of freelance copy and content writing experience and is our Editor, Social Media Manager, and regular contributor. Specializing in long-form content such as blogs, articles, lead magnets, and white papers, Emma also provides businesses with email marketing, website copy, and landing pages.