Apple Watch Series 5: Always-On Display, Built-in Compass, More Finishes, Available for Preorder Now

Apple announced Apple Watch Series 5 during Tuesday’s “By Innovation Only” media event. The new device features an always-on Retina display, a built-in compass, and it’s available in new finishes and more materials options. Also, unlike most major product releases, it’s available for pre-order now, with a September 20th ship date.

The sleeper hit feature, however, may be the ability to match the strap you want to the case you want using Apple Watch Studio. That feature is available online and in Apple retail locations.

All models come in a 40mm or 44mm case, just like Apple Watch Series 4.

Apple Watch Series 5

Always-On Retina Display

Apple Watch Series 5 features an always-on Retina display. This feature means your Apple Watch Face will always be visible and won’t go to sleep. No more activating your watch by touching it to your nose while you’re cooking or working on your car.

To preserve power, however, the display will dim when your wrist is down, and then brighten when you lift your wrist. Essentially, Apple is trading “turns off” when your wrist is down to “dims” when your wrist is down. Either way, it will make Apple Watch Series 5 that much more usable, and Apple said it will sport 18-hour “all day” battery life.

Built-In Compass

Apple is adding a compass to Apple Watch Series 5. This will be available to the user via a Compass app and a Compass complication for immediate access. This will be useful to outdoorsy types, and it doesn’t depend on your iPhone. Developers will also be able to access the Compass sensor for third party apps.

More Finishes, More Colors, More Materials

For materials fiends, Apple Watch Series 5 will be available in Aluminum and Stainless Steel, but it also sees the return of Ceramic (white) and the addition of Titanium as “Apple Watch Edition” options. Apple is also adding a Black Stainless Steel finish, while Titanium will also be available in Space Black, in addition to a more natural gray/bronzy titanium color. Both Titanium cases are brushed.

According to Apple, the, “natural titanium has a custom-engineered surface which helps maintain its color and resist staining, while the space black titanium achieves its deep color from a diamond-like coating (DLC).”

Apple Watch Series 5 Titanium

The aluminum models will all be made from 1005 recycled aluminum.

Other Apple Watch Options

Apple Watch Nike will be an option for Apple Watch Series 5, though not through Apple Watch Studio. Apple Watch Hermès is also being updated, with  several new styles. Apple said the color block band will be available in a new Della Cavalleria print, while an all-black version with an exclusive Hermès gradient watch face will also be available.

Apple Watch Series 3 Remains

Apple Watch Series 4 is being retired, while Apple Watch Series 3 will be the low-priced entry-level device starting at US$199.

Apple Watch Series 5 Pricing and Availability

Here are the starting prices for the different Apple Watch Series 5 models:

  • Apple Watch Series 5 Aluminum: $399 for GPS and $499 for GPS + Cellular
  • Apple Watch Series 5 Stainless Steel: $699 (with GPS + Cellular)
  • Apple Watch Edition: $799 for Titanium and $1,399 for Ceramic
  • Apple Watch Nike Series 5: $399 for GPS and $499 for GPS + Cellular
  • Apple Watch Hermes: $1249

All models are available for pre-order now, with a ship date of September 20th.

[Correction: This story was corrected to note that Apple Watch Series 5 comes in 40mm and 44mm sizes]

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