Apple Watch Series 9 'Basically Unchanged' Other Than Performance Boost From S9 Chip
The Apple Watch Series 9 will be "basically unchanged" compared to the current model other than a performance improvement, according to Weibo leaker "Instant Digital."
In a post shared earlier today, the Weibo user corroborated other reports that the Apple Watch Series 9 will be a minor upgrade. The refresh will apparently focus on updating the cores within the device's S-series chip, delivering a notable performance improvement, but the rest of the device will be effectively the same as the Apple Watch Series 8.
The S6, S7, and S8 chips' CPU in the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple Watch Series 7, Apple Watch Series 8, second-generation Apple Watch SE, and Apple Watch Ultra, are virtually identical. The S6, S7, and S8 chips all feature 32GB of storage and dual-core CPUs with the identifier T8301. When Apple debuted the S6 in the Apple Watch Series 6, the last time it made performance claims about its latest smartwatch lineup, it said that the chip allowed apps to launch 20 percent faster.
The S6, S7, and S8 are based on Apple's A13 Bionic chip from the iPhone 11 lineup and are manufactured using TSMC's 7nm process. Apple transitioned to TSMC's 5nm process starting with the A14 Bionic chip in 2020.
According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, the S9 chip will be based on the A15 Bionic chip. The new chip could bring significantly improved performance and efficiency, boosting app launch speeds and potentially improving battery life. In addition to the Apple Watch Series 9, the S9 chip is expected to be a key upgrade of the second-generation Apple Watch Ultra later this year.
The rumor echoes the essence of last year's Apple Watch Series 8, which was a minor update over the Series 7. It only added a more powerful gyroscope and accelerometer, Crash Detection, and a body temperature sensor compared to its predecessor from 2021.
With performance as the main focus of the Apple Watch Series 9 and second-generation Apple Watch Ultra, it seems that 2023's new Apple Watch models could be similarly small refreshes. Apple reportedly plans to introduce a couple of new color options for the product lineup this year, including pink for the Apple Watch Series 9 and black for the second-generation Apple Watch Ultra.