Bluetooth 5.3 for Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch SE2
On the official Apple website in the US, Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch SE2 spec sheets now state that both models are Bluetooth 5.3 compatible. Previously, the data sheets of the new Apple Watch indicated that they were compatible with Bluetooth 5.0 (this is still the case on the French Apple site). The Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch SE2 therefore join the very exclusive club of Apple devices compatible with Bluetooth 5.3, which also includes the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, as well as the AirPods Pro Gen2 .
US Apple site at the top, FR at the bottom
This modification should open the doors of Bluetooth LE Audio to the new Apple Watch, featuring the Low Complexity Communication Codec (or LC3), delivering higher quality rendering (compared to the basic SBC Bluetooth audio codec) while reducing power consumption. Bluetooth LE Audio (of which the LC3 codec is a part) also offers optimizations for hearing aids and will as standard support sharing audio between multiple streaming systems from a single source (as Apple already offers by allowing stream to two pairs of AirPods/Beats from iPhone/iPad or Apple TV).
This also means that the Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch SE2 should allow their owners to take full advantage of the improvements made to the AirPods Pro Gen2. This remains to be verified, but it is quite possible that the maximum autonomy of the AirPods Pro Gen2 is only available for holders of devices compatible with Bluetooth LE Audio (you will also have to check for audio, AAC can offer better performance than the LC3).