Apple Watch Series 5: Likely Release Date, Price for the Next-Gen Wearable

ECG was only the beginning.

The Apple Watch Series 4 was a watershed release, marking a successful shift from the Apple Watch’s perception as being a flashy piece of designer tech — embodied in the now-discontinued $10,000 Apple Watch Edition — to a consumer health hit, thanks to its built-in electrocardiogram (ECG) heart monitor. The latest rumors and leaks suggest that the Series 5 will likely lean into these past successes while still exploring new territory.

Patents and supply chain rumors have already painted a picture of what Apple fans could expect next: All new sensors, interactivity features, and, potentially, a re-imagined screen are all on the table.

Apple has little incentive to reinvent the wheel: Its wearables business is booming thanks largely to the Series 5. During the company’s most recent earnings call, SPV Luca Maestri reported its wearables business was “approaching the size of a Fortune 200 company.” Apple no longer reveals how many individual products are selling, but the company’s only two major wearable products are the Apple Watch and AirPods.

Apple Watch on display.
The Apple Watch Series 5 could further cement itself as a health-centric powerhouse.

Their success has made the Series 4 the face of Apple’s health tech and services business. Particularly amidst its growing services push, the next Apple Watch could very well be the most anticipated piece of new hardware Apple drops all year.


Apple Watch Series 5: Launch Date

Apple has yet to announce a release date for its upcoming smartwatch, but the company’s pattern of predictable hardware cycles makes guessing pretty easy.

There has been a new Apple Watch release every year since 2015 and all of them, besides the first model, debuted in September during the iPhone keynote and were released a few weeks later. The Series 5, then, will probably be available for purchase in mid-to-late September along with the 2019 iPhones.

The one caveat? Apple started the year with a re-emphasis on services, announcing a credit card, a news service, a premium gaming store, and a TV streaming platform in a March press event usually reserved for showcasing new hardware. The playbook, then, is obviously a bit different in 2019 than it has been in the past. That said, it’s also borderline unthinkable that Apple would release its next iPhone line via press release, as it did with the March hardware drops.

The Apple Watch home screen.
Apple completely overhauled its smartwatch in 2018 and it'll likely lean into these chances this year.

Apple Watch Series 5: Price and Variants

Apple Watch users will have to wait until the company actually announces the Series 5 before they get a concrete price. But sizing up each past Apple Watch release can provide insights.

Past Apple Watch Series came in 38mm and 42mm faces, while the Series 4 upped that to 40mm and 44mm. The company also introduced GPS in 2016, which led to a price hike, while adding a cellular connection will also add another $100 to the final price:

  • Series 0 (2014-2015) - $349 and $399
  • Series 1 (2015) - $269 and $299
  • Series 2 (2016) - $369 and $399
  • Series 3 (2017) - $329 and $359
  • Series 4 (2018) - $399 and $429

Unlike the iPhone, the Apple Watches price has fluctuated throughout the gadget’s life span. The substantial increase with the Series 4 was due to the larger size variants and premium features like ECG.

Activate the ECG feature and place your index finger on the Series 4's crown to being taking your pulse.

The Series 5 is expected to keep all of those features and specs and potentially add more, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Apple slightly raised each watches’ price by $20 or $30.

Apple Watch Series 5: Features

The Series 5 might gain a sense of smell. An Apple patent application published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on March 4 revealed future Apple Watches could come with an “artificial intelligence engine configured to enhance smell recognition capabilities.”

The tech company would pull this off by embedding a small sensor capable of detecting air pollution and other airborne chemicals. This addition could be used to detect body odor, spoiled food, hazardous gases, and even users’ sugar levels through their sweat. A feature like this would fit perfectly into the App Watches’ focus on health and fitness.

Additionally, the Series 5 may also introduce a handful of gesture-control features that let wearable owners navigate without any tapping or scrolling involved.

The Apple Watch Series 5 could detect the changes in blood flow when users close their wrist and use those nuances as gesture controls..

A patent application published by the USPTO in January showed how Apple was working on embedding advanced motion-sensors into its smartwatches. By using the Series 4’s ECG and built-in tilt sensor, users could flick their wrist to scroll through quick iMessage replies.

The patent goes a step further and states the watch could detect blood flow patterns in users’ wrists to let them answer a call by closing their fist for a couple of seconds.

Apple Watch Series 5: Specs

Under the hood, the Series 5 will likely receive the expected yearly update in computing and graphical power. Every Apple Watch release has included an upgrade to its chipset, last year introduced the S4, which was found to be especially powerful. The Series 5 is expected to be powered by the upcoming S5 chipset.

As far as sizing goes, Apple will probably stick to the same 40mm and 44mm variants or risk confusing customers ever more. The watches just received a size change last year, adding two other variants would overcrowd their roster with unnecessarily detailed sizing options.

Apple Watch Series 4 and Series 3 go head-to-head. Via MacRumors.

But while the Series 5’s face size might stay the same, its OLED screen could be slightly different. Reuters reported that Apple will begin using Japan Display Inc to supply its watch screens. Quanta Computer and Compal Electronics supplied the Series 4’s screens, so it is unclear if Japan Display will take their place or all three companies will be supplying OLED displays to Apple in the future.

The Series 5 could refine a lot of what the Series 4 started. This year could be when the Apple Watch cements itself as the health-conscious tech consumer’s smartwatch of choice.