Apple Watch Series 8, SE & Ultra: Price, Features, Release Date In Australia
— Updated on 29 January 2023

Apple Watch Series 8, SE & Ultra: Price, Features, Release Date In Australia

— Updated on 29 January 2023
Chris Singh
Chris Singh

Apple’s out to change the game with the new Apple Watch Series 8, announcing three models – as rumours suggested – at this morning’s Apple Far Out event, streamed live from the Steve Jobs Theatre in Cupertino, California. Arriving with WatchOS 9 in tow, it’s looking like the Apple Watch is in for its most substantial changes since the first Apple Watch arrived on September 9, 2014. Now, just days away from the original’s 7th anniversary, we can confirm everything about the Apple Watch Series 8 including when it will be available in Australia and how much all three models – including the new Apple Watch Ultra and Apple Watch SE – will cost.

First things first, you can be sure that there are three models that you can slap across your wrist before the end of the month. The Apple Watch Series 8 mirrors the typical Apple Watch design we’ve become accustomed to but it ups the stakes with a large, Always-On Retina display and a very sturdy crystal front that’s apparently crack resistant. Then there’s the more affordable Apple Watch SE, trimming some of the fat to achieve a balance of price and performance. Finally, we’ve got the highly-anticipated Apple Watch Ultra in a 49 mm titanium case and flat sapphire front crystal housing what Apple claims is the biggest and brightest Apple Watch display to date.

With both the iPhone 14 and AirPods Pro 2 also bring announced this morning, it’s clear ‘Far Out’ is possibly the biggst even Apple has hosted to date. And it represents some meaningful changes to how the company is doing things and where it sees these technologies heading in the future.

Apple Watch Series 8

Apple Watch Series 8 – Table Of Contents

Release Date In Australia

The Apple Watch SE, Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra will be available in Australia from Friday, September 16. Unlike the iPhone 14 models and the AirPods Pro 2, you can start ordering the Apple Watch Series 8 models from today.

WatchOS 9 will be available for Apple Watch Series 4 and later from Monday, September 12. Although you’d need an iPhone 8 or later running iOS 16 to be able to get full functionality from the latest Apple Watch models.

Price In Australia

As the headline model and Apple’s most premium wearable to date, the Apple Watch Ultra is understandably quite pricey. In fact, It’s just $100 less than the least expensive iPhone 14. The following is how much the Apple Watch 8 models will cost in Australia.

  • Apple Watch SE starts from $399
  • Apple Watch Series 8 starts from $629
  • Apple Watch Ultra is $1,299

Apple Watch Series 8 Summary – Everything You Need To Know

  • There will be three models as part of the new Apple Watch eighth generation – the Apple Watch Series 8, the Apple Watch SE and the Apple Watch Ultra
  • The Apple Watch Ultra is, according to Apple, designed for “athletes and adventurers” in mind with a large 49 mm titanium case, up to 60 hours of battery life, solid cellular functionality and precision dual-frequency GPS.
  • There will be three specialised brands available for the Apple Watch Ultra, each designed differently for a range of outdoor activities.
  • The Apple Watch Ultra’s Retina display is capable of brightness up to 2,000 nits – twice as bright as any previous Apple Watch screen. This should help with any glare, helping legibility outdoors.
  • Apple Watch Series 8 gets a new temperature sensor, which is especially useful for women who want more insight into their individual health and menstrual cycle. If worn overnight the watch will monitor the wearer’s wrist temperate every five seconds and can detect changes as small as point one degree Celsius. This can help predict ovulation and improve period predictions.
  • Health data is encrypted with advanced security features and cannot be accessed without a user’s passcode, Touch ID or Face ID.
  • The Apple Watch Series 8 models get a new feature called Crash Detection, which is also featured on each iPhone 14 model. This uses sensors to accurately detect when a user has been in a severe car accident, immediately alerting emergency services via satellite rather than cellular.
  • Apple Watch Ultra features larger buttons to make glove use much easier.
  • Apple Watch Ultra has a compass built into the dial with space for up to eight complications.

Design, Display, Case & Sizes

Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra annoucned alongside Apple Watch SE

Both the Apple Watch and Apple Watch SE look pretty much the same in terms of the overall design approach. The Apple Watch Series 8 comes in aluminium and stainless steel cases in either 41 mm or 45 mm. Users opting for the middle child of the Apple Watch eighth generation have a choice between various case colours. If aluminium, choices include Starlight, Midnight, Silver and “Product Red.” If stainless steel, choices are Silver, Graphite and Gold.

The Apple Watch SE has one smaller option at 40 mm and one larger at 44 mm, both are only offered in an aluminium case and colour choices include Midnight, Starlight and Silver.

It’s the Apple Watch Ultra that gets the most substantial design refresh of any Apple Watch, with that chunky aerospace-grade 49 mm titanium case and a flat sapphire front crystal that, as mentioned above, houses a Retina Display which maxes out at a very bright 2,000 nits. A customisable Action button on the side is included in international orange to contrast with the design and provide instant access to the primary feature apps including Workouts, Compass Waypoints and Backtrack.

Those going for the Apple Watch Ultra should consider which band would most suit their lifestyle as well. Apple has designed three – Trail Loop, Alpine Loop and Ocean Band. The names make it obvious which activities they are most optimised for, offering a high level of diversity for anyone donning Apple’s newest innovation.

Speaking of diversity, there’s also a compass built into the dial of the Apple Watch Ultra, with space for up to eight different complications. This ups utility considerably and it should be interesting seeing how different people customise the Apple Watch Ultra to better assist, track and enhance their lifestyle.

Apple has designed the case carefully for the Apple Watch Ultra so that it sort of rises up to surround all edges of the flat sapphire front crystal, offering better protection for the Retina display and the in-house mechanics, which includes three built-in microphones and for clearer voice calls that should theoretically reduce ambient background sounds in real-time using the same beamforming algorithm most Active Noise Cancelling headphones use.

In case the names of the three Apple Watch Ultra brands weren’t spelling it out for you, here’s a breakdown of what each will bring to the table (ahem, your wrist).

  • Trail Loop Band – This is the thinnest Apple Watch band designed to date, with a lightweight woven textile that is both soft and flexible. The purpose here is to allow the band to cinch immediately to the optimal fit and retain flexibility for easy adjustment on the go.
  • Alpine Loop Band – Explorers were in mind for this one, with two integrated layers made from one weaving process to do away with stitching while the top loops feature a high-strength yarn for secure attachment in case you want to use a titanium G-hook fastener.
  • Ocean Loop Band – Anyone engaging with extreme water sports or recreational diving will want to go for this band, which has a titanium buckle and a corresponding spring-loaded loop to complement the flexible fluoroelastomer that can stretch for a secure fit. There’s also an optional extra-long tail that can easily slip over a wetsuit.

Apple Watch Nike and Apple Watch Hermès will be debuting new bands later this year as well.

Features & Sensors

In addition to all the typical sensors and features that have made the Apple Watch what it is to date, the Apple Watch Series 8 introduces a new direction that appears to aim for more proactive health features like temperature tracking as well as privacy features that better lock away health data with end-to-end encryption so users don’t have to worry about Apple having access to anything.

All three models – even the Apple Watch SE – get the same processor – a S8 SiP advanced dual-core processor – which Apple promises is 20% faster than the previous generation and should make the entire experience much more fluid. This is especially important for the aforementioned Crash Detection seeing as speed and efficiency is key here.

Apple uses a two-sensor design in order to achieve temperature sensing. There’s one sensor on the back of the watch to measure the skin and another just under the display to help reduce any bias from the outside environment. Theoretically, this should result in more accurate temperature monitoring without any room for effort. And this is important, seeing as night-time wrist temperature can be a good indicator of overall body temperature, where nightly shifts are often caused by too much exercise, jet lag or even illness.

All three Apple Watch models have a new Low Power Mode which should help greatly in conserving battery life by limiting select sensors and features when they aren’t needed. This will mean the Always-On Retina display doesn’t drain the battery at all, which for the Apple Watch Series 8 reaches up to 36 hours while the Apple Watch Ultra is capable of up to 60 hours.

WatchOS 9

Watch OS 9 is coming soon

WatchOS 9 will be available well before the Apple Watch Series 8 starts retailing in Australia. And it’s bringing quite a few substantial software features that should change how people interact with their Apple Watch.

First, there’s now an FDA-approved AFib history tracker to better organise information on heart rhythm and show comprehensive data from those who are prone to AFib.

The Health App also now displays a new hybrid view, both showing off an analogue compass dial and a digital view that syncs with the Apple Watch’s Digital Crown to display things like latitude, longitude, elevation and incline. Another solid round of additions to the GPS capabilities of the Apple Watch is Backtrack and GPS Waypoints. The former helps people retrace their steps while the latter can mark a location or point of interest directly in the app – kind of like setting a waypoint in Grand Theft Auto.

Plenty of big changes will be coming to the Workout app like new in-session views including Segments, Splits and Elevation. More precise workout data is the goal here, opening users up to more advanced workouts including Heart Rate Zones, Custom Workout, Pacer and something called Race Route.

Once again, Apple is trying to improve upon sleep tracking as well, using signals from the accelerometer and heart rate sensor to more precisely track where users are in the sleep cycle. This should mean that sleep stage data will be more accurate in the Sleep app, giving doctors better insight into exactly what’s going on in your body when you shut your eyes.

Finally, there’s a new Medications app on both the Apple Watch and iPhone to better help users manage and track medications, vitamins and supplements. Think of it as a digital pill box that’ll set up schedules and reminders for you.

Our Thoughts

Apple has set out to make the Apple Watch more essential to more people and it seems to be working. Athletes should be satisfied with the Apple Watch Ultra, but it’s the changes in WatchOS 9 that really seem to try to appeal to a wider audience.

Whatever you’re feeling on the company, it’s tough to deny Apple some applause here. Crash Detection will save a lot of lives and if they work properly, the implications for AFib patients and anyone suffering from undiagnosed sleep disorders is profound. Health is a touchy subject and doctors don’t always do their due diligence; having technology help you out could go a long way in making sure you’ve got as many years on the clock as possible.

But as always, we won’t really know how accurate a lot of these claims are until we go wrist-on with the Apple Watch later this year. There’s no doubt it’ll be more impressive than the Apple Watch Series 7, which given the design alone is a given, but it’s safer to play the wait-and-see game with products like this. Especially when it comes to your health.

Other Apple Announcements

Apple also dropped two additional announcements at its ‘Far Out’ event this morning. Check them out.

Apple Watch Series 8 – Frequently Asked Questions

When will the Apple Watch Series 8 be available in Australia?

The Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE and Apple Watch Ultra are all available in Australia from Friday, September 16. You can place your order online from today.

How big is the Apple Watch Ultra?

The Apple Watch Ultra comes in only one size – a 49 mm titanium case with a flat sapphire front crystal that houses Apple’s brightest watch display to date, reaching up to 2,000 nits.

What new sensors are coming to the Apple Watch 8?

The newest sensor for the Apple Watch 8 is a two-part sensor that claims to be able to detect body temperature.

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Chris Singh
Chris is a freelance Travel, Food, and Technology writer. He has had work published by The AU Review, Junkee Media and Australian Traveller Media and holds tertiary qualifications in Psychology and Sociology.


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