Skip to main content

Apple Watch Series 9: the 6 biggest things we want to see

The Apple Watch Series 8 was a bit of a boring release for Apple’s wearable, as it wasn’t a huge upgrade over the Apple Watch Series 7; Apple seemed to spend more energy focusing on the Apple Watch Ultra instead. The only real upgrades for the Series 8 were the newer-generation S8 chip and a new body temperature sensor, though the use cases for that are pretty limited. But if you didn’t have a Series 7, then the Apple Watch Series 8 was still a great upgrade for those coming from older models.

We’re still a few months away from Apple revealing the next generation of Apple Watch with a Series 9 model, which is most likely coming sometime in the fall, along with the iPhone 15. But until then, here’s what I’m hoping Apple will put in the Apple Watch Series 9 when it finally comes out.

Nonintrusive blood glucose monitoring

The Apple Watch Ultra's heart rate sensor active.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

I’m not sure if this would even be possible this year, but it’s something that will continue to remain at the top of my wish list until it comes to fruition. Plus, a recent report makes it look like Apple has reached a significant milestone that may make this a reality sooner rather than later.

According to a report from Bloomberg in February 2023, Apple engineers have a functioning proof of concept for a noninvasive blood glucose monitoring technology that uses “silicone photonics” combined with “optical absorption spectroscopy” measurements. This tech utilizes “lasers to emit specific wavelengths of light into an area below the skin where there is interstitial fluid — substances that leak out of capillaries — that can be absorbed by glucose.” Then this light gets reflected back to the sensor, which would be on a wearable like the Apple Watch, to indicate the concentration of glucose. Through an algorithm, the user’s blood glucose level can then be determined.

Apple is said to be working with TSMC (the company that also manufactures the A-series chips in recent iPhone models) to create its own silicon photonic chips.

Again, this is only a proof of concept, so it’s almost certainly not coming to the Apple Watch Series 9 this year. But there’s been definite progress in this area, and I’m being optimistic when I say I hope to see it in the Series 9.

After all, I’m still using an Apple Watch Series 5 right now because a better way to monitor my blood glucose levels (multiple finger pricks every day suck) is literally the one thing I’ve been holding out for.

Longer battery life

Apple Watch Series 8 showing how much battery is remaining.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

The main Apple Watch lineup has always been a one-day smartwatch, and that’s fine. But when you have the Apple Watch Ultra getting about double the battery life, don’t you think Apple could do a little better?

In our Apple Watch Series 8 review, Mobile Editor Joe Maring typically ended the day with about 30% to 40% battery remaining, and after tracking sleep, there would be about 23% battery left. Of course, the Series 8 has fast charging speeds that let you go from zero to 80% in about 45 minutes, so if you’re low on juice, it doesn’t take too long to get it back to full.

Still, I would love to see Apple make the battery life a little bit longer with the Series 9. I’m not talking about making it last an impressive 36-plus hours like the Apple Watch Ultra, but maybe somewhere in the 20-plus-hours range. At least make it so that you don’t need to worry about charging it by the end of the day.

A focus on scratch-resistant glass

Apple Watch Series 8 showing its App Library.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

Typically with Apple’s iPhone and Apple Watch devices, the brand focuses more on how crack-resistant the device are — such as with the iPhone’s Ceramic Shield and the Ion-X or sapphire crystal displays on the aluminum or stainless steel Apple Watches, respectively.

But what about scratch-resistance? While Apple claims that its Ceramic Shield is crack- and scratch-resistant, I actually seemed to have gotten more scratches on my iPhone 12 Pro back in the day, which eventually bugged the hell out of me and thus led me to actually use screen protectors. I still have a titanium Apple Watch Series 5, which has been surprisingly scratch-free after all this time, but I fear that recent aluminum Apple Watch models may not be so scratch-resistant.

I would love to see more scratch-resistance on the Apple Watch Series 9, as well as tougher durability against cracking. It just seems that the focus on durability definitely went more into the Apple Watch Ultra compared to the mainline Apple Watch model, so hopefully that changes with the Series 9.

Improved security with biometrics

The Digital Crown on an Apple Watch Series 8.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

Currently, the Apple Watch can only be secured by a passcode, whether it’s simple or a longer passcode. You can also unlock the Apple Watch with your iPhone if it’s nearby, and the Wrist Detection feature makes sure that it stays locked when you’re not wearing it if a passcode was enabled.

All of these things work, but Apple could do something better. I’m always hoping to see more methods of security, so I think it would be great if Apple could strengthen Apple Watch security by adding biometrics. Perhaps a Touch ID sensor in the Digital Crown or side button? Passcodes aren’t the most secure method, and iPhones still have either Touch ID or Face ID as an extra layer of security. Of course, it would be optional to use, but I always think extra peace of mind is worth it.

Better body temperature sensors

The case back differences between the Apple Watch SE 2 and Apple Watch Series 8.
Apple Watch SE 2 (left) and Apple Watch Series 8 Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Apple added body temperature sensors in the Apple Watch Series 8, but they’re pretty limited in scope. While the temperature sensors can be used by anyone, the main purpose is to help people track ovulation, which is useful for family planning. However, this is only useful for about half of the population. Beyond cycle tracking, anyone can track their body temperature with the Series 8 by wearing it for at least five days to establish a baseline. You can then get a Wrist Temperature section in the Health app.

Still, as we stated in our review, the metrics for temperature are neat, but Apple doesn’t offer any guidance about what your temperature means. The numbers we get just tell us how many degrees higher or lower our temperature was compared to the established baseline. For the average person, it’s hard to determine what you should do with that information. I hope that Apple adds better temperature sensors in the Series 9, perhaps by giving us the actual temperature in numbers or even helping us determine if changes in temperature are because of illness.

A brighter display

The Apple Watch Ultra and Apple Watch SE 2.
Apple Watch Ultra (left) and Apple Watch SE 2 Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Apple Watch Series 8 can go up to 1000 nits brightness on the always-on Retina display. That’s pretty bright, but the Apple Watch Ultra has 2000 nits brightness. When you compare those two, it’s a pretty stark difference. Now, I don’t have the Series 8 right now, but my Series 5 also has 1000 nits brightness, and honestly, when I’m out in bright sunlight, it can be difficult to see what’s on the display.

It would be nice to see Apple increase the brightness even more on the Apple Watch Series 9. I don’t think it needs to be double like on the Apple Watch Ultra (they still need reasons to sell that thing), but even getting to 1500 nits would be an improvement.

Editors' Recommendations

Christine Romero-Chan
Christine Romero-Chan has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade. She graduated from California…
I replaced my Apple Watch with a Garmin — and I don’t want to go back
Apple Watch Series 7 next to the Garmin Forerunner 265.

The Apple Watch has been my go-to wearable for years. I began my journey with the Apple Watch Series 1 in 2017, upgraded to the Apple Watch Series 4 shortly after it launched, and then jumped to the Apple Watch Series 7 in 2021. It's long been my smartwatch platform of choice, and I've never had any desire to switch to something else.

At least, that's what I thought before I began using a Garmin smartwatch. I started testing the Garmin Forerunner 265 earlier this year, and I went into it with a pretty clear plan: I'd wear the watch for a couple of weeks, write my review, and move back to the Apple Watch. Fast forward to now, and my Garmin Forerunner 265 review has been published, no further testing is required, and nothing is stopping me from returning to my Apple Watch. But here's the thing — I don't want to. Garmin's watch is so good that I have no desire to put the Apple Watch back on my wrist, and there are a few big reasons why.
The surprising importance of buttons

Read more
5 things that could make watchOS 10 the perfect Apple Watch update
Apple Watch Series 8 showing its App Library.

With Apple’s 2023 Worldwide Developer Conference just weeks away, all signs point to it possibly being one of the biggest WWDCs yet. Though the main focus may be on Apple’s mixed reality headset, we’re still going to see software updates with iOS 17, iPadOS 17, watchOS 10, and macOS 14.

Over the weekend, Mark Gurman at Bloomberg stated that watchOS 10 may be a “fairly extensive upgrade,” with “notable changes” to the user interface. Although no details were provided, it teases an exciting future for the Apple Watch this year. And it also got me thinking about some changes that I would love to see in watchOS 10.
More watch faces with dark mode

Read more
Your Apple Watch may get a surprisingly big update this year
The World Time watch face showing on the Apple Watch SE 2.

WatchOS 10 is set to be announced during WWDC 2023, Apple's big summer showcase, and it looks like the Apple Watch update might be much bigger than expected.

For the past several years, watchOS updates have been relatively small in terms of new features and overhauls. However, a recent rumor suggests that Apple Watch owners should be in for something big when watchOS 10 goes live.

Read more