JUST in time for Christmas, Apple has unleashed a pair of new smartwatches – and The U.S. Sun has taken a look.

I had a chance to try out the new Apple Watch models at the iPhone maker’s Cupertino, California HQ.

The new Apple Watch models are finally here

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The new Apple Watch models are finally hereCredit: The U.S. Sun
The Apple Watch Ultra 2 is even more impressive than the first version

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The Apple Watch Ultra 2 is even more impressive than the first versionCredit: The U.S. Sun

The Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 were unveiled just hours ago at a special event – check out our Apple liveblog.

Both offer fairly minor upgrades that you probably won’t care for if you bought last year’s models.

But there’s a standout feature (Double Tap!) I got to try that I’m obsessed with, and the fact remains that Apple Watch is increasingly becoming an essential accessory for iPhone owners.

Here are the big changes for Apple’s new smartwatches.

Apple Watch Series 9

The Apple Watch Series 9 has the same familiar design, and looks great on the wrist.

It’s got a 2x brighter display this time around.

And Siri now works with your Health app so you can ask questions or relay useful info.

For instance, you can tell Siri when you last took your medication.

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Or you can ask about how long you slept, or what your average walking heart rate is.

Another clever feature lets you find your lost iPhone very easily.

It works just like modern iPhones use Find My to track down AirPods, giving you “hot-and-cold” style directions to the item.

Now with Apple Watch, you’ll see an arrow pointing to the iPhone that you can follow.

And as you get closer, the distance will count down in feet.

So you might never lose it again.

My favourite feature, however, is Double Tap.

This lets you control the Apple Watch Series 9 without even touching it.

Apple has built a clever sensor system into the Series 9 so that it can tell when you’re tapping your index finger and thumb together.

So you can double-tap this gesture to “click” on your Apple Watch.

For instance, you can answer and hang up on calls – or start and stop timers.

It’s like magic. I’m obsessed.

Apple Watch Ultra 2

Last year, Apple announced the Apple Watch Ultra.

It was a powerful and rugged watch aimed at explorers, fitness enthusiasts, and serious gadget geeks.

Now Apple has upgraded it with some handy improvements.

There’s a faster S9 chip on-board and a promised battery life of 36 hours – rising to 72 hours with battery-saving features activated.

It has the brightest display yet, with a promised 3,000 nits for excellent viewing even in the sunniest conditions.

The titanium case should mean you don’t scratch it while adventuring.

And you can enjoy the same slick Double Tap feature that is available on Series 9.

This is handy as you can keep both hands mostly occupied while still being able to use your Apple Watch Ultra 2.

I tried it out and it was extremely easy to get the hang of.

Once your master the technique after a couple of tries, it seems to work flawlessly.

It’s a simple but incredibly effective change.

Final thoughts

We won’t have a full verdict on either watch until we get review models.

But so far, I’m impressed.

Both Apple Watch series are about as good as smartwatches get, and Apple has improved them even more this time around.

The updates might be incremental, but Apple is slowly but surely cementing its smartwatches as must-have accessories.

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For fans of the Ultra 2, you’ll be forking out $799/£799 for the base model.

Of course, the Series 9 comes in cheaper at just $399/£399.

Kit your Apple Watch Series 9 out with a fun Snoopy watch face

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Kit your Apple Watch Series 9 out with a fun Snoopy watch faceCredit: The U.S. Sun
Both the Series 9 and Ultra 2 support 'Double Tap' – a finger-tapping gesture to control them without even touching the screen

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Both the Series 9 and Ultra 2 support ‘Double Tap’ – a finger-tapping gesture to control them without even touching the screenCredit: The U.S. Sun

This post first appeared on Thesun.co.uk

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