Apple Watch Series 9: Top 5 new features

Better workouts, smarter interactions

The new Apple Watch Series 9 doesn’t move mountains nor create tremors over what the Series 8 has already been doing. However, there are a few capabilities that go beyond the basics and improve user experience, aided by the latest Apple Silicon for watch and the latest WatchOS 10.

1. New S9 SiP

At the core of the Apple Watch Series 9 is the new custom S9 SiP. With a new quad-core Neural Engine, the new Apple Silicon is the most powerful watch chip ever and showers the device with some serious superpowers. The processor can undertake machine learning tasks up to twice as fast as the Series 8 and it is power efficient enough to provide an 18-hour battery life.

2. Double Tap Gesture

The Neural Engine in Apple Watch Series 9 takes inputs from the accelerometer, gyroscope, and optical heart sensor and together with a machine learning algorithm to recognise wrist and finger movements. User can perform many common actions by simply tapping the index finger and thumb of their watch hand. You can use such double tap gesture to stop a timer, play and pause music, or snooze an alarm without touching the display. Double tap can also open the Smart Stack from the watch face, and also help scroll through widgets in the stack.  

The double tap gesture will be available in a software update later.

3. Onboard Siri with access to Health Data

Siri now resides locally, and doesn’t require Wi-Fi or cellular network for requests that don’t need information from the Internet. This makes it faster and more efficient in setting alarms, starting workout timers etc. The extra power of the Neural Engine makes dictation up to 25 percent more accurate than the Series 8.

More importantly, Siri can now access data from the Health app and hence you can ask the assistant how many hours you slept the previous night or find out your progress in daily calories burnt. You can also use Siri to log health data on the watch.

4. Precision Finding and Proximity Trigger

Finding your hidden iPhone with Apple Watch is now easier with the S9 SiP. This processor includes a second-generation Ultra Wideband (UWB) chip to enable Precision Finding for the iPhone 15 family, which uses the same chip. This feature provides distance and direction along with visual, haptic, and audio signals to guide you to a misplaced iPhone, even if it’s in a different room.

The Ultra Wide Band response also integrates the watch deeper with HomePods. When an Apple Watch user gets within four meters of a HomePod playing audio, the watch will launch Now Playing to control the media or offer media suggestions at the top of the Smart Stack.

5. WatchOS 10

WatchOS has been optimised with more features. Apps have been redesigned with a new Smart Stack added to show relevant widgets. The OS now supports Bluetooth connectivity for power meters, speed sensors, and cadence sensors now to aid cyclists. Cycling workouts now automatically show up as Live Activities. New compass waypoints, maps, and tools have also been added.