Nifty Apple Watch Series 9 double tap gesture is pretty damn cool

Apple Watch Series 9 double tap gesture
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High-end devices weren’t the only announcements made by Apple overnight: the Apple Watch Series 9 also saw the light of day, offering a more affordable alternative to the Ultra 2.

Announced alongside the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro models, in addition to the USB-C AirPods Pro 2nd Gen, the Series 9 wearable brings a raft of new features powered by its S9 SiP chip. Plus, it’ll benefit from many of the improvements coming with watchOS 10 later this week.

There are a lot of similarities between the Apple Watch Series 9 and its rugged Ultra 2 sibling. Both wearables enable a new double tap gesture, where pinching your finger and thumb together using the same hand your watch is on activates various functions, all without touching the screen. It’s extremely cool and seems practical for when your post-workout sweaty mitts can’t touch the screen properly. Each new watch also houses faster Siri activation due to the technology housed within the device, removing the reliance on Wi-Fi or cellular connectivity.

As for differences, the first is the brightness. The Apple Watch Series 9 has a display that peaks at 2000 nits, which is the same max brightness as the original Ultra Watch. Meanwhile, the Apple Watch Ultra 2 now hits a whopping 3000 nits. Which, in all honesty, makes sense, given that the Ultra is built to go deep underwater and withstand harsher conditions than the base model. That, and the fact that there’s up to a $750 difference between the watches.

Other than that, the other main difference is found in the watches’ sensors and durability. You can take the Ultra 2 diving as deep as 40m underwater, whereas the Series 9 can be used for shallow-water activities like swimming but not diving. The Ultra 2 also cements its status as an all-terrain watch with its more precise dual-frequency GPS technology and up to 36 hours of battery life of regular use. Meanwhile, the Series 9 lasts up to 18 hours of regular use, so it’s more useful to anyone within reach of a charger most days.

Apple Watch Series 9 price, release date, colours

Available alongside all of the other new devices on 22 September 2023, the Apple Watch Series 9 starts at $649 for the 41mm GPS model, with the 45mm size costing an extra $50. If you want cellular compatibility for making calls without your phone nearby, the new wearable starts at $809. Pre-orders are open now via the Apple website.

Apple also renewed its push for the 2nd gen Apple Watch SE, a cheaper $399 wearable that runs on the S8 chip. Although it’s not as bright and fully featured (no ECG or blood oxygen tracking, for example) as the more expensive watches, the SE still has its place, given that it’ll benefit from the watchOS 10 additions.

As for colours, the Apple Watch Series 9 comes in various cases, including starlight, midnight, silver, (PRODUCT)RED, and pink aluminium. Stainless steel versions are also available at an extra cost, with gold, silver, and graphite finishes.

There is no shortage of bands to choose from either. Apple’s new sustainable microtwill FineWoven offering uses 68% post-consumer recycled content, replacing any leather accessories in the company’s line-up. Sport Loop bands now use 82% recycled yarn and are carbon neutral, while Apple and Nike’s collaboration continued, with a wide range of environmentally friendly bands to choose from. If you’re in the mood for something a bit more luxurious, there’s also a new Hermès collection to kit out your watch.

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