What is the newest Apple Watch and is it worth buying in 2024?

We outline the newest Apple Watch to launch in the UK and what you need to know before buying or upgrading your device

The newest Apple Watch sitting side by side, featuring the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 for 2024
(Image credit: Apple)

Wondering if you should invest in the newest Apple Watch? With so many available to buy, it can be tricky to figure out which device works best for you and your lifestyle. 

For those interested in buying one of the best fitness trackers, the newest Apple Watch is a seriously good choice. Not only does it offer all the essentials in fitness tracking (with plenty of workout modes, statistics, and metric measurements on offer) and health monitoring (which includes sleep monitoring), but the latest models work to make general life easier too. With new processors speeding up the device, new features, and minimal changes to the much-loved design, there's no better time to take the plunge. 

However, there are not one but two new devices to consider buying in 2024. While they vary hugely in their purpose, one of the best Apple Watch tips around generally is to weigh up the pros and cons of them both, weigh up competitors like Fitbit vs Apple Watch, and consider the previous models, to work out which one will work best for you. As woman&home's digital health editor, I'm walking you through the latest from the range.

Quick Jump

The new 2023 releases:
- Apple Watch Series 9
- Apple Watch Ultra 2

What is the newest Apple Watch?

New releases include the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2, both released late last year as newer versions of previous models. They both feature several new features and improvements that make upgrading a tempting option for those looking for a new device in 2024.

Apple Watch Series 9

A selection of Apple Watch Series 9 in various casings and strap combinations as the newest Apple Watch

(Image credit: Apple)

The Apple Watch Series 9 was launched in September 2023. When it comes to using the watch for daily life and monitoring health and fitness, all the essentials are there:  heart rate tracking, including notifications for high and low heart rate; a wide variety of workout types, everything from yoga and strength training to dance and customised options; automatic workout detection, in case you forget to start your workout; mindfulness options like breathing exercises and mood logging; and advanced health tracking around sleep, ECG monitoring, irregular heart rate, and blood oxygen.

Those interested in potentially upgrading can expect the Series 9 to work faster than other models (up to 30%, the brand says), so swiping through the best workout apps, tapping out a text, and pressing to send the device to sleep will all elicit a quicker response on the screen. 

There are a couple of new features which set the Apple Watch Series 9 and previous versions apart, including better screen brightness, eco-friendly credentials (the case is produced from 100% post-consumer aluminium), double the storage (64GB compared to 32GB), and more accurate, sensitive tracking, along with another colourway (pink). 

However, perhaps the biggest change is the introduction of a new processor and something called a U2 ultrawide-band chip, which offers a pretty useful feature to users who often have their hands full. When wearing the watch, you can double tap your index and thumb (on the hand wearing the watch) together to access some features, including answering and ending phone calls, launching widgets in the new Smart Stack feature (you'll know it from changing the home screen on the iPhone), ending a timer, snoozing an alarm, or playing and pausing music. 

Apple Watch Series 9 - from £399

Apple Watch Series 9 - from £399

Available in a great variety of colours and complete with strap bands to complement your lifestyle and personality, the Series 9 is a go-to for those who want a wearable that offers a blend of day-to-day assistance and sophisticated health monitoring features. 

Apple Watch Ultra 2

Apple Watch Ultra 2

(Image credit: Apple)

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 is the brand's most advanced fitness tracker and their best smartwatch overall, offering more than ever before in terms of features, fitness tracking, health monitoring, battery life (up to 72 hours on low power mode), and navigation. 

Along with all the features Apple Watch lovers are used to seeing, such as quick and accurate GPS, health monitoring, and sleep tracking, the Ultra 2 comes with some updates. The main upgrades on this newer version of the Ultra include a brighter screen (double that of the previous model), a faster processor (as also featured on the Series 9), the same Double-Tap feature as the Apple Watch Series 9, and better altitude and depth sensors for hikers, climbers, and divers among us, and watersports tracking features for the scuba divers and freedivers. Many users also report that the GPS is quicker to sync, making heading off and recording a walk, run, or hike even quicker and easier. It also comes with the same carbon-neutral credentials as the Series 9. 

Needless to say, the extensive advanced features, rugged design, supreme outdoor focus, and premium pricing mean this isn't a standard Apple Watch. I'd advise opting for the Series 9 over the Ultra 2 unless you're someone who relishes the thought of a 36-hour battery life and spends more time outdoors on the move than inside. 

Apple Watch Ultra 2 - from £799

Apple Watch Ultra 2 - from £799

The most advanced Apple Watch to date, the Ultra 2 is also the most hardy and perfect for those who like to take on the outdoors. It's a big price jump up from the other new releases but you'll find there are features to match the difference. 

Is the newest Apple Watch worth buying?

Whether you're deciding between the Apple Watch Series 9 or the Ultra 2 compared to previous models, it may well be worth upgrading if you find the newer features contribute positively to your daily life. Much like how it's always worth buying the newest Fitbit, opting for the latest model of any fitness tracker is going to guarantee (99% of the time) a better working product with up-to-date features and software. Plus, the newer the model, the longer it should last. 

For those considering the Apple Watch Series 9, the improvements in screen brightness, speed, and hands-free features make it a winner in my eyes. It also offers better interconnectivity between other Apple devices (such as the iPhone 15 and HomePod) so if you're an Apple fanatic at home and on the move, it's worth opting for the newer model. 

As for the Apple Watch Ultra 2, this device is very similar in design to the first iteration, more intuitive to your needs, and works faster with more offerings for the outdoor enthusiast or Gorpcore devotee. It is more of a fine-tuning compared to the previous Ultra model than a total overhaul though. Yet, if you're looking to upgrade from a standard Apple Watch to an Ultra and are someone who spends their time in the great outdoors more often than not, and can afford the price difference, then this is also a truly great option. 

Price-wise, either way, you're looking at about a £100 difference between the Series 9 and Series 8 or the Ultra 2 and Ultra. And as always, consider what you need to know before buying a fitness tracker generally before making a decision. 

What are the other recent releases from Apple like?

Apple Watch Series 8

The Apple Watch Series 8 was released in September 2022 as an upgrade to the Series 7, which came out the year before. New to the model was a body temperature sensor (also included on the Series 9) that allows for cycle tracking and Crash Detection, a sought-after feature as it offers the user assistance when the watch detects there may have been an accident. When compared to the Series 9, the model released in 2023, the Series 8 isn't missing a whole lot. The newest version is an upgrade but in many ways, they are very similar. 

Both the Apple Watch Series 8 and 9 have all the health and fitness tracking features you could ever need - everything from heart rate tracking, workout modes, and activity goals (the iconic 'rings' on the homepage) to sensors monitoring ECG, blood oxygen levels, and sleep duration. 

Unless you're particular about your watch speed, in that you use Siri all the time and find clunkier app launches too irritating to overlook, you're unlikely to benefit too much from the faster processor. Equally, although the Double-Tap feature is a game-changer in my opinion when it comes to choosing between the Series 8 and 9, if you don't find your hands full too often or don't have any accessibility requirements, you may not find the Double-Tap feature too useful either. As with the HomePod and iPhone 15 integration - if you don't have or plan to buy either of these, it's not very useful. 

Apple Watch Series 8 - £288 from Amazon

Apple Watch Series 8 - £288 from Amazon

The best deal we've seen on the Apple Watch Series 8 by a long way is at Amazon. Here you'll pay under £300 for the GPS (no cellular) version of the watch with a 45mm strap, available in various case and band varieties. 

Apple Watch SE

The Apple Watch SE (Generation 2) was also released in September 2022. Much like the first generation of the SE, it's a version for those who want advanced health tracking metrics, day-to-day lifestyle assistance, and insights into their fitness, but without the same cost as the regular Series Apple Watch or the Ultra. Among regular health trackers, it's a winner in my eyes, easily competing with the best Fitbits and some Garmin devices in terms of features and function. 

Much like many other Apple Watch devices, the SE (Generation 2) offers heart rate tracking, including high and low notifications, basic cycle tracking, crash detection, and basic sleep tracking. There are a variety of workout modes to choose from and the watch is swimproof up to 50 meters, rivalling the Fitbit Versa 4 and Sense 2

However, given the £219 price point, some sacrifices need to be made. These are the ECG monitoring and blood oxygen sensors. While many people who exercise casually and want to keep an overall eye on their health and fitness won't notice these missing, some people will. Blood oxygen tracking features can interpret how well you have responded to an increase or change in exercise activity. If you're training for a specific event that requires you to know when to rest and recover, this is a good one to have. Having an ECG feature is a great idea for anyone who has a prior history of heart problems as the sensor can help with screening and monitoring atrial fibrillation (AFib) and while it's not a diagnostic tool, it can flag any abnormalities which you can then bring to your doctor.

Yet, if you're looking for a way into the world of Apple Watch at a more reasonable price point for both style and substance reasons, you can't get much better than the SE (Generation 2). It's so easy to use, with the Workout app highlighting exercises you use often so there's no need to scroll, metrics like heart rate, calorie burn, and time elapsed are all visible on the move, plus effortless GPS in the background and music controls just a swipe away. 

Apple Watch SE - from £219 at Apple

Apple Watch SE - from £219 at Apple

As there has not been a new release of the SE since this Generation 2 model, it's still for sale via the Apple website - as well as third-party retailers like Amazon and Argos. For the most choice of casing and band colour, plus the chance to reap Apple's extended cover, go direct. 

Apple Watch Ultra

Another September 2022 release, the Apple Watch Ultra was the first of its kind and, before being usurped by the newer model, it had the brightest display of any Apple Watch device. It has 36 hours of battery life with a low-power setting for even more time and advanced GPS software for creating and tracking your distance, pace, and route. It's also resistant up to 100m, making it a great option for swimmers, and overtaking other fitness trackers like the Fitbit Charge 5 and Inspire 3 by miles. 

What's more, these features are also included on the Apple Watch Ultra 2, released a year later. The titanium case is also the same size on both models - 49mm - so it stretches the length of the average wrist, offering plenty of space to see to view your statistics and metrics while on the move. 

What makes the Ultra different to the new model is that it lacks the same level of screen brightness, it has a 30% slower processor, and Siri is processed via the cloud rather than on-watch, meaning it's also slower. It's also missing the Double-Tap feature, which is undoubtedly useful for those with only one hand spare during a run, ride, or swim, and integration with other Apple devices like the iPhone 15. Yet, it's still a fantastic option for those looking to upgrade from a standard Apple Watch like the Series 8 or 9 to an Ultra, without quite the same price hike as the Ultra 2.

Apple Watch Ultra - from £699 on Amazon

Apple Watch Ultra - from £699 on Amazon

The first edition of the Ultra is only available to buy on Amazon and via other third-party retailers. Comparatively, it's £100 cheaper or more (depending on whether the retailer is hosting a seasonal sale) and multiple colour options are available. 

Will there be a new Apple Watch released in 2024?

Typically, the newest Apple Watch is refreshed every year. Following the releases last year, many people are expecting to see a new Apple Watch Series 10, an Apple Watch Ultra 3, and the Apple Watch SE in its third generation. 

Are fitness trackers worth it if you buy them now? Yes - with the new releases only coming to market in September last year, it may be a few more months before we see any new devices. 

Grace Walsh
Health Channel Editor

Grace Walsh is woman&home's Health Channel Editor, working across the areas of fitness, nutrition, sleep, mental health, relationships, and sex. In 2024, she will be taking on her second marathon in Rome, cycling from Manchester to London (350km) for charity, and qualifying as a certified personal trainer.

A digital journalist with over six years experience as a writer and editor for UK publications, Grace has covered (almost) everything in the world of health and wellbeing with bylines in Cosmopolitan, Red, The i Paper, GoodtoKnow, and more.