The evolution of the Apple Watch is characterized by relatively small, incremental updates each generation. Year after year, these small changes inevitably invite the question… “So what’s actually new this year?”. To answer this question, new hardware features between each generation of the Apple Watch are enumerated below.

Jump to Series X

Series 0

Released April 24, 2015 - The original Apple Watch had a large variety of sensors though ultimately suffered from poor performance.

  • AMOLED Retina display (450 nits brightness, Force Touch, sizes 38mm and 42 mm)
  • Apple S1 SiP
  • 8 GB onboard storage
  • 512MB RAM
  • NFC
  • WiFi 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz
  • Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • Accelerometer (16-g)
  • Gyroscope
  • Heart rate sensor
  • Ambient light sensor
  • Microphone
  • Speaker
  • Linear actuator Taptic Engine
  • IPX7 (splash) water resistance (1 meter)
  • Edition: 18 karat yellow or rose gold

Series 1

Released September 16, 2016 - The ‘Series 1’ was Apple’s attempt to correct the CPU issues that plagued the original Apple Watch (a.k.a. ‘Series 0’). [Performance Release]

  • Apple S1P dual-core processor
  • OLED Retina display (1st-generation)
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • Capacity 8GB

Series 2

Released September 16, 2016 - The ‘Series 2’ was released alongside the ‘Series 1’ and brought with it a 2x brighter screen, vastly improved water resistance and a GPS module. This ultimately improved it’s ability to perform fitness-related tasks. [Fitness Release]

  • OLED Retina display (2nd-generation, 1000 nits brightness)
  • Water resistance up to 50 meters (WR50)
  • Apple S2 SiP
  • Larger Taptic Engine
  • Speaker pump (to remove water from speakers)
  • Edition: Ceramic

Series 3

Released September 22, 2017 - The ‘Series 3’ introduced LTE cellular models as well as a barometric sensor and even more-improved processor. [Connectivity Release]

  • LTE and UMTS cellular
  • Barometric altimeter sensor
  • Improved processor (Siri can now audibly speak)
  • Apple S3 SiP
  • GPS (Galileo, QZSS)
  • Capacity 16GB
  • 768MB RAM
  • LTE models Digital Crown featured a big red dot
  • Ceramic sensor housing/back of device
  • Optical heart sensor
  • W2 wireless chip

Series 4

Released September 21, 2018 - The ‘Series 4’ introduced larger, rounded, edge-to-edge screens as well as the ability to perform electrocardiogram (ECG) measurements. An improved accelerometer and gyroscope brought “fall detection” to the device. [Health Release]

  • Display sizes 40mm and 44mm
  • ECG - Electrical heart sensor
  • Fall detection via improved accelerometer (32-g) and gyroscope
  • LTPO OLED Retina display
  • Apple 64-bit S4 SiP
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Microphone moved to support better call quality
  • 50% Louder speaker
  • Haptic feedback in Digital Crown
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 2nd-generation optical heart sensor
  • Cellular models now sport a more-subtle red ring on Digital Crown
  • W3 wireless chip
  • Edition: NONE Available

Series 5

Released September 20 2019 - The ‘Series 5’ brought a much requested feature in the “always-on display” as well as a Magnetometer/compass.

  • Always on display
  • Magnetometer w/ compass function
  • Apple S5 SiP
  • Improved ambient light sensor
  • Capacity 32GB
  • GPS (GNSS)
  • Edition: Titanium

Series 6

Released September 18, 2020 - The ‘Series 6’ primary focus was the blood oxygen sensor suite supporting Apple’s continued push into health.

  • Blood oxygen sensors (SpO2 / VO2max)
  • Real-time/always on altimeter
  • U1 ultra wideband locator chip
  • Force Touch has been removed from the display
  • Apple S6 SiP
  • Dual-band WiFi (2.4GHz and 5GHz)
  • Larger Taptic Engine
  • 3rd-generation optical heart sensor

Series 7

Announced September 14, 2021 - The ‘Series 7’ introduces new structural geometry which supports a larger overall display and a more durable design.

  • Larger display (40% smaller bezels, 20% larger screen) | 41mm and 45mm
  • Updated screen geometry (improved crack resistance, 50% thicker front crystal, rounder corners)
  • 70% brighter passive always-on display
  • Dust resistance w/ IP6X certification
  • Apple S7 SiP
  • 33% faster charging
  • GPS (BeiDou)
  • Edition: Titanium

Series 8

Announced September 7, 2022 - The ‘Series 8’ is a light update over the previous generation, introducing body temperature sensors and an improved gyroscope.

  • Temperature sensors (2)
  • High dynamic range 3-axis gyroscope (facilitates the Crash Detection feature)
  • Apple S8 SiP
  • High-g accelerometer (256-g)


Announced September 7, 2022 - The Apple Watch ‘Ultra’ is an entirely new line of Apple Watch, one that is meant for more extreme workouts and extreme environments. It improves on nearly every aspect of the watch and does so in a form factor that is far more rugged, and more sizable.

  • Titanium casing
  • New body design (Flat screen, display edge protection, larger digital crown, crown guard, larger side button, etc…)
  • Larger 49mm case
  • Dual-frequency GPS (L1 and L5)
  • Vastly improved battery life (~36 hours | ~60 hours on low power mode)
  • 100m Water resistance, MIL-STD 810H3, EN13319 certified
  • 2000 nits brightness
  • Action button (orange)
  • Dual speakers (40% louder)
  • Siren (audible up to 600 feet)
  • Three-Microphone array with beamforming
  • Depth gauge (40m/130ft)
  • Water temperature sensor
  • Bluetooth 5.3

* My current Apple Watch is the Apple Watch Ultra.