1-minute news: Apple Watch 9 is here with 'Double Tap' gesture controls, and double the brightness

The Apple Watch 9
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple has announced the Apple Watch Series 9 at today's Apple September event. The latest version of one of the best smartwatches comes with several interesting new features, including a clever gesture control and new tech to help you find your iPhone.

Below, we've got some more info about what's new to the range - and head over to our Apple event 2023 live blog for ongoing coverage from the show and to find out what else was revealed.

What do I need to know about it?

It features a screen that's twice as bright as what came before, while also darker – it can reach 2000 nits at maximum, and can go as dim as one nit. 

It will also have more advanced gesture controls, detecting how you've moved your hands. This feature is called 'Double Tap', and you can use it to control your Apple Watch without touching it, so you can answer a phone call or silence an alarm using just the hand your Watch is on – you just double pinch your fingers.

The Apple Watch Series 9 will feature a new S9 processor which promises a "big boost in performance", though with the same 18 hours of battery life. The new chip can process some Siri requests on the Watch, making it more responsive for voice control. You can also ask Siri about health data, or log health data through Siri – though this is coming "later this year".

You can also now use Ultra Wideband tech to be guided precisely to your phone if you've misplaced it – an arrow will point the way.

The new Watch 9 comes in a lovely soft pink color in the aluminum finish. It's also available in Starlight, Silver, Midnight and (Product) Red in aluminum. In steel, it's available in Gold, Silver and Graphite.

Apple will also no longer use leather, and has developed 'FineWoven' instead, which is made from 68% recycled material and promises a suede-like feel.

What do we think of it?

This is a bigger update than we expected! Doubling the brightness is a serious upgrade to the screen, and you'll be amazed at how vibrant that makes it on bright days. And Double Tap looks like a genuinely smart and useful addition – it just makes sense to offer a way to respond to your Watch when your other hand is full. (Certain TR team members are very good at using their nose for this currently…)

Speaking of TR team members, our own Lance Ulanoff has already tried out Double Tap at the Apple event. Here's his initial reaction:


♬ original sound - TechRadar

It's a bit of a shame that the S9 chip doesn't mean longer battery life, though Apple massively undersells what the Apple Watch Series 8 can do, so we're sure that will be the case again here.

The Apple Watch 9 starts from $399 / £399 / AU$649 and is available to order today, with release on September 22, 2023, please?

Further reading

Matt Bolton
Managing Editor, Entertainment

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Entertainment, meaning he's in charge of persuading our team of writers and reviewers to watch the latest TV shows and movies on gorgeous TVs and listen to fantastic speakers and headphones. It's a tough task, as you can imagine. Matt has over a decade of experience in tech publishing, and previously ran the TV & audio coverage for our colleagues at T3.com, and before that he edited T3 magazine. During his career, he's also contributed to places as varied as Creative Bloq, PC Gamer, PetsRadar, MacLife, and Edge. TV and movie nerdism is his speciality, and he goes to the cinema three times a week. He's always happy to explain the virtues of Dolby Vision over a drink, but he might need to use props, like he's explaining the offside rule.