At its annual September event, Apple has taken the wraps off the latest iteration of its popular smartwatch – the Apple Watch Series 9. This new model brings some significant upgrades to the world’s best selling watch, including an all-new double tap gesture, brighter always-on display, faster performance and on-device Siri.

New Double Tap Gesture Enabled by Faster Chip

One major new feature is the addition of a double tap gesture, enabled by the faster new S9 system-in-package (SiP) chip. By double tapping two fingers on the watch face, users can quickly control apps and features without touching the display.

For example, you can now start a workout, stop a timer, dismiss an alarm or answer a call through this intuitive new gesture. Apple COO Jeff Williams called it “a magical new way to interact with Apple Watch.”

On-Device Siri With Health Data Access

Thanks to the speedy new SiP, Siri requests will now be processed directly on the Apple Watch for the first time. This allows for quicker and more reliable responses when offline.

Siri on the Watch can also now provide access to health data like sleep, activity progress, weight changes and more through voice requests. Users can even log health data points like weight or medications taken through Siri privately and securely.

Up to 2x Brighter Always-On Display

The Always-On display on the Series 9 can now reach up to 2000 nits brightness outdoors – twice as bright as the Apple Watch Series 8. This allows for much improved visibility and legibility in bright sunlight.

In dark conditions, the screen can dim down to just 1 nit to avoid disturbing others. Apple has managed to integrate this brighter panel without compromising the all-day 18 hour battery life.

Precision Finding and HomePod Integration

Thanks to the addition of a second-gen UWB chip, the Apple Watch 9 supports the new Precision Finding feature first introduced on the iPhone 15 lineup.

This uses spatial awareness and haptics to guide you to a lost iPhone, even if it’s in another room. UWB also enables deeper integration with HomePod smart speakers.

More Durable Design, Now Carbon Neutral

While retaining the same general design language, Apple says it has worked to make the Series 9 more durable. The front crystal is even crack resistant.

For the first time, customers can also choose a carbon neutral version made with recycled materials and 100% renewable energy. Apple said this represents a “significant milestone” in their environmental efforts.

watchOS 10 Software Updates

The Apple Watch Series 9 will ship with watchOS 10, which Apple SVP of marketing Kaiann Drance called a “milestone update”. It includes:

  • Redesigned apps with new Smart Stack of widgets
  • New watch faces like Snoopy, Solar Analog and Nike Globe
  • Enhanced fitness tracking for activities like cycling
  • Compass Waypoints and Maps upgrades
  • Support for tracking time in ambient daylight
  • Mental health tools like mood logging

More Affordable Apple Watch SE Too

Alongside the Series 9, Apple also announced a new Apple Watch SE model which brings core features like crash detection, fall monitoring and activity tracking at a lower $249 starting price.

With powerful hardware upgrades like the new S9 chip and on-device Siri, coupled with software additions through watchOS 10, the Apple Watch Series 9 promises to be the most advanced smartwatch yet from Apple.

It shows how Apple is continuously innovating on both the hardware and software front to make the watch experience more intuitive, while also keeping robust health/safety features at the forefront.

The Apple Watch Series 9 starts at $399 and will be available for pre-order on September 15, before hitting stores on September 22.