Apple Watch Series 8 Release: What's the Next New Apple Watch for 2022

Rumors are flying about what's coming next for the Apple Watch, from major updates to Health features, to a body redesign, and more.

We probably won’t see Apple’s next smartwatch appearing on the market until later in 2022, and we suspect we’ll receive it alongside the iPhone 14. But as we wait, rumors abound about what the next Apple Watch will look like and what features it will and won’t have. Here’s all the rumors we’ve heard thus far. 

Related: iPadOS 16 Rumors: Everything We’re Expecting for the iPad's New Operating System

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New Body Redesign

The Apple Watch Series 4 made some big design changes that have stayed consistent through the Series 5, Series 6, and SE models. While the overall design of the watch has remained basically unchanged, it has continued to increase in screen size and decrease the size of its footprint. Until the addition of the 41mm and 45mm option of the Series 7, the Apple Watch has remained quite loyal to its original iteration.

However, this could potentially change with the release of the Series 8. Multiple rumors have suggested that Apple is working on a redesign of the watch to feature flat edges similar to the newly released iPad Air and iPad Pro, as well as the newer iPhones. While these rumors are not new—they’ve been floating around the internet since before the release of the Series 7—they remain popular. There’s a chance we’ll see this redesign in the fall, although the Twitter account LeaksApplePro says that the only expected design change for Apple Watch Series 8 will be a redesigned speaker.

Additionally, display analyst Ross Young has proposed that the Apple Watch Series 8 could come in three sizes as opposed to two, offering another larger size in addition to the 41mm and 45mm.

Three New Apple Watches in 2022?!

Some of the most exciting rumors about this upcoming Apple Watch drop surround the fact that Apple may bring us three new models in 2022. These models would include the Apple Watch Series 8, an updated Apple Watch SE, and a new entry in its smartwatch lineup in the form of a rugged Apple Watch geared towards extreme sports. Apple Journalist Mark Gurman claims that the three new models could make this year "the biggest in the history of the Apple Watch since the original model."

Rugged Apple Watch

According to Bloomberg, Apple has apparently been working on a version of the Apple Watch with a “rugged” casing. This watch design is aimed at athletes and hikers who may be using their Apple Watches in more extreme conditions. It will supposedly feature most of the same functionality as the original but will receive improved impact resistance and protection. There is definitely a market for an improved watch designed specifically for the outdoors, as hikers and climbers find the Apple Watch lacking in comparison with Garmin watches. But it still remains unclear if these changes will be enough to reel that market back in.

Apple Watch SE

Some expect Apple to release a long-awaited second-generation model of the SE. After not announcing a new SE model in the fall of 2021, rumors suggest that the next generation will adopt the larger display and more-curved design we saw with the Series 7. It’s likely however that Apple will omit some of the fancier upgrades that came to the 7 like the always-on display and certain sensors.

Updates to Health Features

The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple has a few new developments in works for Health including a potential blood-pressure monitor, a thermometer for fertility and sleep tracking, sleep apnea detection, and a non-invasive glucose monitor. With updates to the Apple Watch software, Apple plans to improve its existing atrial fibrillation detection feature with a new capability to measure how long a person is in a state of atrial fibrillation across a certain period in watchOS 9. There may also be more workout types and additional metrics for running workouts in the Apple Watch's Workout app.

Blood-Pressure Monitor

According to the report, the blood-pressure monitor could highlight the presence of hypertension. Apple intended to release the feature within the year but has experienced rumored delays in perfecting the technology. This blood-pressure monitor would work slightly differently than the classic inflatable cuff that is wrapped around the upper arm. The Apple Watch system measures the speed of the wave of a heartbeat through a user's arteries using sensors. The Apple Watch would then show a user how their blood pressure is trending but would not be able to provide a baseline systolic and diastolic blood pressure measurement. This does raise a few questions about the feature’s usefulness.

Blood-Oxygen Sleep Apnea Detection

Further down the line, it has been rumored that the company is preparing to implement a sleep apnea detection feature using the watch’s existing blood-oxygen sensor. However, it has apparently been difficult to achieve this without draining the Apple Watch’s already-short battery life.

Non-Invasive Blood Glucose Monitor

Apple has been rumored to be working on a non-invasive blood glucose monitor, and while this feature would be truly revolutionary for medical professionals and Apple lovers alike, this feature is most likely a few years away. In the meantime, Apple has discussed improving support for third-party glucose meters on the Apple Watch and on the ‌iPhone‌'s Health app to help users with diabetes.

Car Crash Detection

According to Rolfe Winkler at The Wall Street Journal, Apple is planning to catch up to Google with its proposed car crash detection feature. This feature would enable the devices to detect if you are involved in a car crash and automatically dial 911 for emergency services, using the iPhone and Apple Watch sensors (like the accelerometer) in tandem to "detect car accidents as they occur" by measuring a sudden spike in gravitational force on impact. Apple has apparently already been testing this feature and has reportedly detected more than 10 million supposed crash crashes.

Ultimately, some of these features could be introduced in the Apple Watch Series 8 along with things like new women's health features, sleep updates, new fitness options, and medication management. But features like the blood-pressure and glucose monitoring are not expected until 2025 or later. Either way, it’s exciting to see what Apple may do with the Apple Watch in the future. The Apple Watch is arguably the company’s most science-fiction-esque technology, and it seems the plans for the watch continue to feed the imaginations of consumers and Apple engineers alike. Stay tuned and we’ll keep you updated about what’s to come.

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Rachel Needell's picture

Author Details

Rachel Needell

Rachel Needell is a Feature Web Writer at iPhone Life, a published poet, and a longtime Apple fan. In the spring of 2021, she graduated with her Master’s degree in English, specializing in early 20th-century literature. She is interested in all things tech and currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her cat Blue.