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Apple Watch Series 9 Detects Finger Gestures, Brings Siri On-Device

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Sep 12, 2023, 3:17 PM   by Rich Brome

Apple has announced Apple Watch Series 9, a major upgrade of the internal components to enable new features. The new S9 chip includes a quad-core neural engine with twice the machine learning performance. This enables the Siri voice assistant to run locally on the device instead of relying on the cloud. This, in turn, allows Siri to query and update personal health data. Another major new feature is the finger double-tap gesture. Using the new neural engine and nearly all of the Watch's sensors, the Series 9 can detect when you touch your thumb to your index finger. Doing this twice quickly can trigger certain actions, such an answering a call, pausing music, snoozing an alarm, or taking a photo with the Camera Remote app. The new neural engine also enables a new dictation engine that's 25% more accurate. A new UWB chip (the same second-gen chip as in the new iPhone 15 series) enables precision finding for locating a lost iPhone. The UWB also allows the Watch to automatically pop up media controls when you approach a HomePod. The display has been improved to reach 2000 nits of brightness, twice as bright as before. It can also get as dim as 1 nit, for dark environments like a theater. The Apple Watch also now supports NameDrop (which lets you share contact info by bringing two Apple devices close together.) The new Apple Watch Ultra 2 brings all of these improvements and features to the Ultra, and further boosts display brightness to 3000 nits, making it the brightest display Apple has ever put in any product. Apple says the new watches are its first products that are 100% carbon neutral (depending on band choice). Apple is eliminating leather from its lineup, including watch bands. Instead it has come up with FineWoven, a "luxurious and durable microtwill" that has "a suedelike feel". All new Apple products are being designed to incorporate more recycled material than ever, including watch bands, and Apple has partnered with Nike and Herm├Ęs on several new non-leather bands that are more environmentally friendly. As usual, the standard Apple Watch comes in two sizes. The Series 9 starts at $399, while the Apple Watch Ultra 2 starts at $799. All of the new watches are available for order today, with full availability next Friday, Sept. 22nd.

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