Forget the Apple Watch Series 8. I’m more excited for a new Apple Watch SE

Apple Watch SE worn on the wrist

The Apple Watch SE’s lower price and wide selection of features make it a solid choice for most people.

Vanessa Hand Orellana/CNET

the Apple Watch Series 8 could be the company’s first watch to include a temperature sensor, according to Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal. This would turn the Apple Watch into an even more sophisticated wellness device, further signaling Apple’s ambitions to increase its presence in consumer health.

A temperature sensor, in addition to existing features such as the ability to measure blood oxygen levels, has the potential to promote healthier lifestyles. There are also many stories indicating the Apple Watch helped save lives. But the Apple Watch Series 6 and Series 7 already provide more information than I personally know what to do with. A Series 8 with even more health metrics may be too complex for some customers.

That’s why I’m more eager to see what Apple’s next, simpler and cheaper watch is: the Apple Watch SE. Bloomberg reported last June that a new Apple Watch SE could debut in 2022, which means we could see a successor to the 2020 model this fall. If you’re like me, your smartwatch is more useful for logging exercise, checking your heart rate during workouts, getting iPhone alerts on your wrist, and making occasional purchases with it. Pay Apple. The current Apple Watch SE can do all of that and more, and I can’t wait to see where it goes next.

The Apple Watch SE has most of the best features of the Series 7

The $399 Apple Watch Series 7compared to the $279 SE, is packed with additional health features and other improvements, such as blood oxygen readings, the ability to take an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) from your wrist, a screen larger and faster charging.

These qualities make the Series 7 a more comprehensive health tracker, a better communication tool, and a more useful sleep tracker. The Series 7’s roomier display means it can house a full QWERTY keyboard for responding to text messages, and the faster charging makes it easier to recharge your watch after a night of sleep tracking.

Series 8 is expected to follow a similar trajectory and could include a skin temperature sensor for fertility planning and potentially other applications, according to Bloomberg and Wall Street Journal.

These benefits may not be necessary for everyone, hence the more targeted appeal of SE. Those who just want to close their activity rings and make sure they don’t miss texts when they’re away from their phone can probably do without. blood oxygen readings, larger screen and faster charging. The Apple Watch Series 7 and its predecessor feel targeted towards those looking to monitor their wellbeing more closely, especially when it comes to heart health.

The Apple Watch SE has many of Apple’s most important health and safety features, though it’s not as advanced as its more expensive siblings. While you can’t take an ECG from your wrist using the SE, Apple’s cheaper Watch can still provide high and low heart rate notifications, notice irregular heartbeats, detect hard falls, and provide access to emergency services. If you are buying a watch for an elderly family member who is prone to falling, this might suffice.

Newer measurements such as blood oxygen readings are not always helpful. Although Apple indicates that the measurements of the Apple Watch blood oxygen app can provide you with “insights into your general well-being”, I don’t know what to make of these readings. Since the Apple Watch is not intended for medical use, it’s not clear if I should be alarmed if my readings are too low.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t potential. When the Series 6 was unveiled in 2020, Apple announced plans to work with researchers on three separate health studies to examine how blood oxygen readings and other metrics can help manage asthma and heart failure in addition to detecting respiratory conditions like COVID-19. But for now, the Series 6 and 7 blood oxygen meter doesn’t seem necessary. Likewise, other wearables such as those from Garmin, Fitbit and Samsung offer blood oxygen readings that rely on the wearer to interpret them.

While I appreciate the SE’s simpler approach to health tools, I’d like to see Apple add at least one feature that’s currently exclusive to more expensive models: an always-on display. New Apple Watches from Series 5 and later (except SE) can keep their screens on even when the watch is idle. This makes the Apple Watch better at its most basic job: telling the time.

That might not sound like a lot, but I appreciate being able to quickly check the time and my activity progress on a Series 7 without needing to move my wrist or touch the watch like on the SE. It’s not as exciting or significant as health-related updates like the introduction of ECG monitoring in terms of the direction of long-term wearables. But the always-on display comes in handy every day, and I hope to see it on the next Apple Watch SE.

The Apple Watch has matured like the iPhone

The Apple Watch has evolved to the point where annual upgrades aren’t always a big step forward, just like the Iphone. The Apple Watch Series 7, for example, looked like a more polished version of the Series 6. Blood oxygen measurements aside, the Series 6 also didn’t feel all that different from the Series 5. That makes the case for cheaper models like the Apple Watch SE all the more compelling, to especially as WatchOS updates bring new features to older models. the Apple Watch SE holds its own in terms of performance and feels just as responsive as the latest model when running the same software. You don’t need the most expensive or newest version to get the full experience, which is why Apple has kept the Series 3 in its lineup for so long.

But the The Apple Watch Series 3 has become difficult to update because it doesn’t have much internal storage, and the analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts that Apple could stop series 3 this year. This begs the question of how long Apple plans to support Series 3. It also makes the Apple Watch SE much more important as it will likely replace Series 3 as the most affordable Apple Watch option.

Overall, the current SE offers the happy medium between the Series 3 and the Series 7. While Apple’s high-end Watches have evolved into more sophisticated health tracking devices, the SE has become more plus felt like the best option for daily users with tighter budgets. Now that the Apple Watch SE is almost 2 years old, it’s time for an update.

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