Apple introduces the Apple Watch Series 9, starting at $249

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Apple (AAPL) on Tuesday unveiled the latest version of its Apple Watch, the Apple Watch Series 9.

The new watch has "been redesigned on the inside," featuring the company's S9 chip, which purportedly speeds up processing times and upholds an 18-hour battery life, Apple said at the company's annual iPhone event. The watch's "powerful new neural engine" will also make voice assistant Siri faster and more accurate, powering the ability to access health data with Siri.

The new Siri health interactions — which will launch in Mandarin and English first later this year — allow users to log sleep, weight, and other health markers.

The Series 9 will also show off a new feature, called Double Tap, a physical hand movement that allows you to answer calls, scroll through widgets, start and stop music, or silence alarms. The gesture, in which you double tap your index finger and thumb together twice, will be available next month and is only available on Series 9 smartwatches. It's a feature Apple credits to its self-designed neural engines.

The Apple Watch SE is priced at $249, while the Apple Watch Series 9 is $399. Both are available to preorder starting today.

The new watch will also feature a new wide band that allows for better integration with Apple's Home Pod, and Apple introduced a new pink color.

The Series 9's 2,000 nits brightness is double that of the Series 8.

The presentation at Apple's Cupertino headquarters emphasized the safety and health benefits of the Apple Watch, as the company has previously done. The company also emphasized sustainability, spending a lot of time talking about how the company — and its products — will be entirely carbon neutral by 2030.

To that end, the Apple Watch Series 9 is the company's first-ever completely carbon-neutral product.

This year, all Apple Watch manufacturing will now be powered by 100% clean electricity, with redesigned Series 9 packaging that's smaller and fiber-based, enabling the company to ship more devices at once. The company also committed to shipping more products by water than by air and is scrapping the use of leather in its watch bands.

The most expensive Apple Watch gets an upgrade
Additionally, at the event, Apple unveiled the Apple Watch Ultra 2, featuring the company's brightest-ever display and a night mode that can automatically activate in the dark using ambient light sensors.

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 is priced at $799 and is also available to preorder starting today.

Apple's line of smartwatches has been expanding in recent years. In 2022, the company unveiled the much-anticipated Apple Watch Ultra, a more "rugged" but high-end version of the Apple Watch, priced accordingly at $799. The move was intended to take on Garmin's smartwatches, which are beloved by high-performance athletes.

Notably, for all the fanfare, smartwatches still represent a relatively small section of Apple's business, which in 2022 generated overall revenue of $394.3 billion. Comparatively, Apple's wearables, home, and accessories business generated $30.5 billion in revenue in the nine months leading up to July 1. It's a slight drop from a similar period in 2022, when the division generated $31.5 billion in revenue.

The Apple Watch's competitors include wearables produced by Google-owned (GOOG, GOOGL) Fitbit, Samsung, Garmin, and Huawei.

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