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Apple Watch upgrade time? How to choose between Series 8, Ultra, or waiting for Series 9 – ZDNet

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The Apple Watch Ultra (top) and Apple Watch Series 8 (bottom) are both big upgrades if you have an Apple Watch that’s at least 2-3 years old.
Whether you’re traveling across the planet or having adventures closer to home this summer, one of the ways to make your travels safer, healthier, and more fun is to take advantage of the latest features in the Apple Watch. 
Also: The best Apple Watches right now
Each year, the Apple Watch adds new capabilities, so if you dig your Apple Watch and your model is at least two or three years old then you may be ready for an upgrade. If you’re ready for a summer adventure and want to take the latest tech with you, then the big question is whether to upgrade to the Apple Watch Series 8 or to the Apple Watch Ultra. Both models come with a lot of the same features, including:
Both Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra have health metrics such as blood oxygen (left) for your lungs and ECG (right) for your heart.
Also: The best smartwatches: Find out which models fitness experts recommend
There are also some well-defined differences between the Series 8 and the Ultra, and good reasons why you might want to opt for one or the other.
To be clear, you don’t have to be an extreme athlete to appreciate the Apple Watch Ultra. The extra battery life, bigger display for better viewing of images and text, more durable design, and upgraded GPS will appeal to many of you who rely on your Apple Watch for valuable functions every day. And for the summer, the ability to leave your phone and only have a larger Apple Watch that can go into the pool or the ocean, answer quick texts and phone calls, and pay for lunch and snacks with Apple Pay directly from the watch will be a welcome upgrade.
Also: Apple Watch Ultra review: Tougher than a Tough Mudder
If it follows its typical schedule, Apple will release the next version of the Apple Watch, the Series 9, in September. There are reports that the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is also on the way. That said, there are not many reports about big upgrades coming to the next generation of Apple Watch hardware. The most anticipated feature we’re still waiting for is blood glucose monitoring — for diabetics and those who want to closely track their nutrition. However, that feature is likely at least a year or two away. 
Also: The Apple products you shouldn’t buy this month: July 2023 edition
The Series 8 and especially the Ultra were big leaps ahead; the next upgrades should be pretty incremental. So unless you’re a serious techie who always wants to live on the cutting edge, you’re pretty safe jumping to the Series 8 or the Ultra and enjoying their best new features this summer. Plus, both will get a big software upgrade this fall with the arrival of the new WatchOS 10.