Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Apple Watch Series 9

Apple (ArsTechnica, MacRumors):

Apple Watch Series 9 is powered by custom Apple silicon in the all-new S9 SiP. Apple’s most powerful watch chip yet delivers systemwide improvements and brand-new features, including a new double tap gesture and on-device Siri with the ability to access and log health data privately and securely. Apple Watch Series 9 also has a new 4-core Neural Engine that can process machine learning tasks up to twice as fast, when compared with Apple Watch Series 8. The power efficiency of the S9 SiP allows Apple Watch Series 9 to maintain all-day 18-hour battery life.


Users can tap the index finger and thumb of their watch hand together twice to quickly and conveniently perform many of the most common actions on Apple Watch Series 9.

Double tap controls the primary button in an app so it can be used to stop a timer, play and pause music, or snooze an alarm. The gesture can be used to answer and end a phone call, and even to take a photo with the Camera Remote on Apple Watch.

It starts at the same $399. Unfortunately, I have not seen anything suggesting that on-device Siri can create reminders.


Each carbon neutral Apple Watch model meets the following strict criteria: 100 percent clean electricity for manufacturing and product use, 30 percent recycled or renewable material by weight, and 50 percent of shipping without the use of air transportation. These combined efforts result in at least a 75 percent reduction in product emissions for each model. The company will use high-quality carbon credits to address the small amount of remaining emissions, resulting in a carbon neutral product footprint.


Update (2023-09-13): Aaron Pearce:

Why does this double tap need a new processor? Didn’t it work on the older Watches as the accessibility feature already?

Alex Guyot:

Apple says the gesture is enabled by the S9 neural engine processing accelerometer, gyroscope, and optical heart sensor data through a new machine learning algorithm.

Stephen Hackett:

Tapping your index finger and thumb together will trigger whatever is the default button on the screen at any given time, assuming you are looking at a first-party watchOS app. I was told directly that there is not an API for third-party developers to integrate this into their app beyond use with notifications. Once you’re in a third-party app, there’s no double tap support, at least for now.

Update (2023-10-25): John Gruber:

The best new feature in Apple Watch this year has to be the new double tap gesture, enabling no-touch manipulation of the watch. We got to try this in the hands-on area, and it Just Worked™. Fast, accurate, and natural. In the keynote and their marketing materials, Apple says you need to tap your thumb and index finger, but I tried with my thumb and middle finger and it worked just fine. No more touching your nose to your watch when your hands are dirty from food preparation or carrying something you can’t set down. And the double tap gesture parallels the main gesture that will be used to navigate VisionOS. (One question that occurs to me now: What happens when you’re using a Vision Pro while wearing an Apple Watch, and you double tap with your watch hand? Does the gesture apply to both devices?

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The doubletap feature and the tie in to Apple Vision kind of change my perspective on how Apple has been approaching accessibility. Spending years developing technologies that remove the constraints of input devices is clearly part of an overall long term vision (apologies for that). I also reinforces the reason people should make things more accessible.

Surprised how much coverage of the Watch ignores that these double pinch gestures are already available in accessibility. I’ve messed around with it before on the Series 8 and it already works pretty well. Probably works better now but still worth the mention (especially since it isn’t as easy to find, in accessibility, as I assume it will be on the Series 9).

“Unfortunately, I have not seen anything suggesting that on-device Siri can create reminders.”

Does this mean I’m not the only one who finds Reminders pretty much unusable on Apple Watch? I thought I was alone. Creating new ones is bad, but calling up the app is even worse for me. It takes a good half a minute or more for my Ultra to show me the list of lists.

@Darren I create reminders all the time on my Apple Watch using Siri, but I never use the app. I just want to be able to create them when there’s no cell service.

I really appreciate that they are shipping carbon neutral products with long life spans and high second hand values. I hope more companies follow suit.

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