Apple Watch Overview Updated March 23, 2021

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2,666 'Apple Watch' stories

November 2013 - October 2022

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History

The original Apple Watch (later called Series 0) was released on April 24, 2015, after years of rumors. While there was a lot of initial hype around it, the third-party watchOS apps were slow to launch due to API limitations. Native apps were available in watchOS 2. The original watch came in 38mm and 42mm sizes.

The Series 2 Watch was released on September 16th, 2016 along with a Series 1 Watch. The Series 2 included the S2 chip, built-in GPS, and water-proof construction. The Series 1 included the S2, but lacked GPS and waterproofing.

The Series 3 Watch was released on September 22, 2017, and it included an LTE option and the S3 chip. The Series 4 Watch was released on September 21, 2018. New hardware included the S4 Chip, Electrical heart sensor w/ ECG app, and larger display (40mm and 44mm sizes).

Apple Watch Series 5 was announced during Apple’s fall event on September 10, 2019. Customers were able to purchase the device later that day, and it was released on September 20. The headline feature for this model was the wearable’s always-on display. The new display always shows the time and complications and is also the first from the company to include a built-in compass.

Apple launched international emergency services to every cellular model. Series 5 also brought back ceramic white, and new natural brush and space black titanium models.

Apple Watch Series 6 was unveiled on September 15, 2020 at the “Time Flies” event alongside the more affordable SE and new iPad Air. New features of the Series 6 include blood oxygen monitoring, new watch colors, faster S6 chip, new watch faces, and more.

Apple Watch features

Apple Watch is designed to help you stay active, motivated, and connected. The newest versions are Series 6 and SE while Apple still sells Series 3 as the most affordable option.

Features include:

  • Heart rate monitoring (all models)
    • Including high, low, and irregular heart rate notifications
  • ECG readings (Series 4 and later)
  • Blood oxygen monitoring (Series 6)
  • Workout tracking, Activity Rings, competitions, and awards
  • Works with Apple Fitness+
  • Sleep tracking (with watchOS 7)
  • GPS and GPS + Cellular models
  • Always-on display (Series 5 & 6)
  • Water-resistant to 50 meters
  • Emergency SOS and fall detection
  • Phone calls and Messages
  • Music, Podcasts, and more
  • Third-party apps available through App Store built into watchOS

watchOS

watchOS is the dedicated software that runs on Apple Watch. The current version is watchOS 7 that was released in fall 2020 and is compatible with Series 3 and later.

watchOS 7 brought new features like native sleep tracking, Family Setup, watch face sharing, new workout tracking types, cycling directions in maps, and automatic handwashing reminders.

Apple Fitness+ support and new cardio fitness notifications came with watchOS 7.2 And watchOS 7.4 is coming with the exciting new Apple Watch unlock for iPhone feature.

Current Apple Watch lineup

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Apple Watch Stories October 5

We’ve seen some incredibly extreme Apple Watch Ultra tests, but nothing comes close to this one. Reddit user suburbandad1999 endured the workout that we all dread: mowing the lawn. The results are actually fascinating for seeing how the new GPS in Apple Watch Ultra performs.

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Apple Watch Stories October 3

Now that Apple has released its latest round of major software updates, including watchOS 9 and iOS 16, Apple fans are shifting their focus to what’s next. A new concept from Parker Ortolani imagines what Apple could have in store for watchOS 10, with a focus on new features for Apple Watch Ultra, Live Activities, and more.

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Want to take advantage of Apple’s brightest screen yet on the Ultra? Or get your Apple Watch Series 8, SE, or earlier Apple Watch up to the full 1,000 nits? Here’s how to turn up Apple Watch screen brightness plus a couple of details to keep in mind.

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Apple Watch Stories October 2

How to turn Apple Watch haptic feedback to the max

Whether you’re missing notifications on your Apple Watch or just prefer to get more noticeable haptic feedback, read along for how to turn up Apple Watch vibrations.

Apple Watch Stories September 30

A variety of handy new cycling features come with watchOS 9. From heart rate zones, splits, a pacer, custom workouts, and more, the Workout app offers a new experience when tracking rides. Here’s a hands-on look at the new Apple Watch cycling metrics in watchOS 9.

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Apple Watch for kids is something parents are embracing more and more. The New York Times ran a story a few weeks ago about Apple Watch adoption among children as young as five. Parents are finding the Apple Watch more appropriate for kids wanting smartphones. The Apple Watch gives kids a way to stay in touch with parents, share location, and build responsibility without the full cost and risk of a smartphone.

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A valuable new feature that’s arrived for Apple Watch Series 4 and later with watchOS 9 is Low Power Mode. When needed, that means up to 2x longer battery life for the wearables. Here’s how to turn on Apple Watch Lower Power mode plus extra details on how it works and everything you give up when using it.

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Apple Watch Stories September 29

A new Apple patent application for iPhone reverse charging has been published today, further boosting speculation about when the Cupertino company will finally offer the wireless power sharing capability.

The application describes another possible application for the technology: placing two iPhones back-to-back to enable one to charge the other …

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Apple Watch Stories September 28

Apple Watch was a point of concern over the weekend during the Ohio State Buckeyes college football game. The team’s wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. was spotted wearing one during the game until someone called timeout on it.

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Apple Watch Stories September 23

One of the most impressive features shown in the Apple keynote was the Apple Watch Ultra dive computer functionality. This effectively allows the new rugged watch to completely replace a dedicated dive computer.

However, anyone who’s just taken delivery of their Apple Watch Ultra, and is wanting to don their scuba gear and head down to the nearest coral, will need to wait a while …

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Apple Watch Stories September 22

Good news for Apple Watch Ultra buyers. If you’ve already invested in Apple Watch bands for bigger screen models in the past, those bands will continue to work with the extreme sports version of the new Series 8. Bands designed for the Apple Watch Ultra also work with larger versions of non-Ultra Apple Watches.

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Apple Watch Stories September 20

Within days of Apple Watch Series 8 reaching customers, 9to5Mac reader Jason Smith saw the value of its health features firsthand. Medical officials credit Jason’s Apple Watch Series 8 for detecting an invisible heart condition in his mother that could have been fatal if not discovered early.

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Apple Watch Stories September 19

Apple can never change anything without someone complaining, of course, but I think my complaint about “upgraded” watchOS 9 complications is fair. The Simple watch face used to offer a delightfully minimalist look, with only icons and minimal text, but has now turned into something way busier.

Indeed, I’d argue that Apple has completely ruined the Simple watch face in watchOS 9 …

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Apple Watch Stories September 17

You knew it was coming. We couldn’t just sit by when the hottest watch face of all the land came exclusively to Apple’s Hermès line of watches.

That’s why I braved the line, at a UPS customer center no less, to pick up my Apple Watch Series 8 Hermès and give you all a hands-on look at its Lucky Horse watch face.

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Apple Watch Stories September 16

Among the new health features in watchOS 9 and iOS 16 is something Apple calls Cardio Recovery. Follow along for a detailed look at what the feature is, how to track it with Apple Watch, why it’s valuable, what good Cardio Recovery numbers are, and tips on improving it.

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Ready to switch from your Apple Watch Series 7 to the new Series 8 or SE? Or maybe you just need to transfer your existing Apple Watch with your new iPhone? Follow along for how to seamlessly pair a new or existing Apple Watch with iPhone without losing data – including a new process in iOS 16.

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Apple Watch Stories September 15

A major update from MicroOLED, the company behind ActiveLook is bringing what looks like an impressive AR experience for Apple Watch owners. Offering what it says is the first real-time heads-up display for Apple Watch exercise data, ActiveLook’s new Light AR platform brings the live metrics into AR sports glasses like ENGO and Julbo.

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Apple Watch Stories September 12

A wide range of valuable new running features comes with watchOS 9. From heart rate zones and stride length, ground contact time to vertical oscillation, and new features like ghost racing your personal best and creating custom workouts, here’s a hands-on look at the new Apple Watch running metrics in watchOS 9.

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Apple Watch Stories September 8

Apple Watch Ultra preorders opened as soon as the store came back online yesterday, but if you didn’t place yours right away, you could be in for a bit of a wait.

Those who got in early will receive their Watches on September 23, just over two weeks away, but others could be waiting either three to four weeks or six to seven weeks …

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Apple Watch Stories September 7

Nike Apple Watch faces are no longer exclusive, available on all models running watchOS 9

You won’t have to buy an Apple Watch Nike edition any more to get access to the Nike faces. New in watchOS 9, Apple will make those faces available to all Apple Watch owners for free. The exclusivity is no more.

After officially announcing its iPhone 14 and fresh Apple Watch lineup plus the all-new AirPods Pro second gen, some orders are open immediately with others set for September 9. Read on for all the details and some tips on getting a faster shipping time.

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Apple has announced a new Apple Watch SE, with a display 30% larger than the previous model.

The new model is available in silver, midnight, and starlight – together with a color-matched nylon composite back which reduces the weight of the watch …

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Apple has officially announced the Apple Watch Ultra. This is the rumored ‘Apple Watch Pro’ version of the Series 8. It features a dedicated “action” button and larger digital crown. Pre-orders start today ahead of the September 23 release date. Read on for price and specs!

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Apple Watch Stories September 6

The Apple Watch lineup is getting a big expansion this fall with the addition of a new so-called Apple Watch Pro. This new Apple Watch Pro is said to feature a new design, longer battery life, and improved durability and will be announced tomorrow.

Head below for all of the latest details on what we know about the Apple Watch Pro so far.

Lead concept by Ian Zelbo and Parker Ortolani

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