New Apple Watches get one step closer to hands-free

Apple Watch S9
Pictured: Apple Watch Series 9
// Look Ma', no hands!
Anula Wiwatowska
Sep 12, 2023
bullet2 min read

Published on September 12, 2023

Today Apple announced that its new generation of Apple Watches will ship with more touch-free functionality than any previous model. The key upgrade to both the Apple Watch S9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 is the new S9 SiP processor which supports more gestures, and on-device Siri processing.

Previously Siri has run through the cloud, but the S9 SiP enables Siri to function entirely through the latest Apple Watches without needing to contact an additional device or use an internet connection. Apple claims this will improve the speed and reliability of Siri requests through Watches, and make dictation up to 25% more accurate than on the Apple Watch S8.

On-wrist Siri will also be able to access Health Data, and allow users to verbally log their data. Rather than navigating the immenseness that is the Health app, users will be able to ask Siri to dictate their Activity Ring progress, ask about their sleep, and log period, medication, or weight.

Along with better Siri functionality, Apple introduced the Double Tap Gesture which lets users control the primary app button by tapping their thumb and forefinger together twice. No matter which app is running, the Double Tap Gesture will perform the function of the main button on screen, such as snoozing an alarm, snapping a picture, pausing music, or answering phone calls.

S9 SiP also includes second-gen Ultra Wideband which enables Precision Finding for the iPhone 15 family. This UI is the same as we’ve seen on AirTags, allowing users to locate their phone with distance, direction, visual, and audio guidance on the watch itself. Ultra Wideband also integrates with HomePod, letting users control audio from the Now Playing control on-wrist when within 4 meters of the device.

The latest Watch family are the first carbon neutral products to ship from Apple. Select case and band combinations of the Apple Watch S9, Apple Watch Ultra 2, and the Apple Watch SE are 100% offset by Apple, including the anticipated usage at-home chargers. All packaging has been redesigned to be 100% fibre-based, and the manufacturer has severed its ties with any leather manufacturing to further reduce the carbon footprint.

Pricing for the new models is as follows;

  • Apple Watch S9: From $649
  • Apple Watch SE: From $399
  • Apple Watch Ultra 2: $1,399

Customers can order any of the new watches now, with in-store availability starting September 22, 2023. 

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Anula Wiwatowska
Written by
Anula Wiwatowska
Anula is the Content and Social Media Editor within the extended universe, writing across and WhistleOut. Working in the tech space since 2020, she covers phone and internet plans, gadgets, smart devices, and the intersection of technology and lifestyle. After a year in the sector, Anula was shortlisted for Best New Journalist at the IT Journalism Awards in 2021. Apart from putting serious words on the internet, Anula strategises and creates social-first content, and researches by getting lost in TikTok for hours on end. If she isn’t in front of her computer, you’ll find Anula drawing somewhere cozy, pretending that she knows how to use power tools in the yard, or playing with her dog with a strong martini in one hand.

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