Apple Watch Overview Updated March 23, 2021

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November 2013 - June 2021

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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 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 June 16

Apple appears to have had plans to release the Apple Watch Series 5 in a stunning black ceramic finish. New images shared on Twitter show the Apple Watch Series 5 in the glossy black ceramic, indicating that it could have been a design that Apple tested and prototyped.

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Following WWDC 2021 wrapping up last week, Apple executives are continuing to appear in podcasts and YouTube videos to discuss the company’s latest announcements. In a new video posted today, YouTuber Rene Ritchie sits down with Apple’s Kevin Lynch and Deidre Caldbeck to talk Apple Watch, Health, and more.

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Apple Watch Stories June 14

Much as I rely on my Apple Watch, I do need a good reason to upgrade models, and so far Apple has had a mixed track record in persuading me to do so.

I started with the original model, aka the Series 0. My next upgrade was to the Series 3, which sold itself to me primarily on the Siri improvements

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Apple Watch Stories June 9

Apple sets Apple Watch Activity Challenge for International Day of Yoga later this month

Apple has set its next Apple Watch Activity Challenge for International Day of Yoga, which takes place in two weeks on June 21. This challenge requires users to complete a yoga workout of at least 20 minutes to unlock stickers that can be used in the Messages app, FaceTime, and more.

A report earlier this year indicated that Facebook was developing an Apple Watch competitor that could be released as soon as 2022. A new report from the Verge today shines more light on the product, claiming that the first generation will feature two cameras and a heart rate monitor.

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Apple Watch Stories June 8

With watchOS 8, Apple has announced some new features for Apple Watch users, including a new Mindfulness app, photo sharing, and more. Usually, every new watchOS comes with new watch faces, but this year, Apple has only shown one new watch face — Portraits. However, one of the WWDC 2021 sessions revealed that there’s another new watch face that hasn’t been announced by Apple, this one called “World Timer.”

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