Apple Unveils Apple Watch Series 9: Faster, Smoother, and More User-Friendly

Apple Series 9
Image Source: Apple

Apple enthusiasts around the world tuned in to the tech giant’s ‘Wanderlust’ event on Tuesday, where they were met with exciting news about the Apple Watch Series 9. This latest iteration of the beloved smartwatch promises a faster, more user-friendly experience with innovations like the Double Tap gesture and on-device Siri processing. With a starting price of $399 (£399, AU$649), the Series 9 is available for pre-order now and is set to officially launch on September 22.

The Apple Watch Series 9 introduces substantial changes that aim to make interactions with the device feel instantaneous and effortless, building on the theme of performance improvements that Apple initiated with its WatchOS 10 update earlier this year. At the heart of these changes is the Series 9’s new S9 chip, which plays a pivotal role in enabling features like Double Tap and on-device Siri processing.

Double Tap: A New Way to Interact

One of the standout features of the Series 9 is the introduction of the Double Tap gesture. This innovative method allows users to interact with the watch without physically touching the screen. By simply tapping their index finger and thumb together twice on their watch hand, users can perform various tasks, such as answering calls, all without needing to use their other hand. Double Tap is set to enhance convenience, especially when the user’s hands are busy. It’s reminiscent of the double pinch gesture available in the Apple Watch’s accessibility mode, AssistiveTouch.

The magic behind Double Tap lies in the faster Neural Engine within the Apple Watch Series 9. This Neural Engine processes data from the watch’s accelerometer, gyroscope, and optical heart sensor using a cutting-edge machine learning algorithm. This algorithm detects the unique patterns of wrist movements and changes in blood flow when the user performs a double tap. Although Apple has announced this feature, it will be available through a software update scheduled for October.

During a brief test of the Series 9, Double Tap was used to navigate through widgets, answer calls, start timers, and toggle the flashlight. While it worked accurately most of the time, there were instances where the gesture had to be repeated for the watch to respond. The watch provides haptic feedback and a small indicator on the screen to confirm when Double Tap is active.

Enhanced Siri Performance

The Apple Watch Series 9 also brings faster Siri performance thanks to on-device processing. With this improvement, Siri can respond more swiftly to user queries, as it no longer needs to rely on cloud-based processing. Additionally, users can now ask Siri health-related questions, such as inquiring about their sleep data—an essential feature given the Apple Watch’s popularity as a health and fitness tracker. Processing data on the device itself enhances security, particularly when dealing with sensitive health data.

New Integrations and Sustainability

Apple is introducing new integrations between the Apple Watch and HomePod, enabling users to view media playback from their wrist. Precision Finding, which enhances the accuracy of locating an iPhone using ultra-wideband technology, is also making its way to the Series 9.

In terms of design, the aluminum Series 9 models come in an array of attractive colors, including Pink, Starlight (White), Silver, Midnight (Black), and Product Red—the latter contributing to the Global Fund’s fight against AIDS and COVID-19. Meanwhile, the stainless steel edition offers a choice between Gold, Silver, and Graphite.

Apple is also emphasizing the Series 9’s commitment to sustainability by making it the company’s first carbon-neutral product and incorporating 100% recycled cobalt in the battery—a noteworthy step towards environmental responsibility.

The Future of Apple Watches

Apple continues to lead the global smartwatch market, with a 22% market share in the second quarter of 2023, according to Counterpoint, a market research firm. While the flagship Apple Watch has seen incremental improvements in recent years, including a temperature sensor in 2022 and a larger screen in 2021, rumors suggest a more significant overhaul may be on the horizon for 2024 in celebration of the device’s 10th anniversary, possibly named the Apple Watch X.

In the meantime, the Apple Watch Series 9 promises to deliver a snappier, smoother, and more user-friendly experience, reaffirming Apple’s commitment to usability and innovation in smartwatch technology.


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