(Cybertech) – Apple’s next smartwatch won’t appear until later in 2021, likely alongside the iPhone 13 range, but that doesn’t mean we can’t speculate about what we’d like to see appear.
Here’s everything we’ve heard so far about the Apple Watch Series 7, mixed with our wishlist.
What will the next Apple Watch be called?
- Probably Apple Watch Series 7
Unlike the iPhone, Apple didn’t mess around with the Watch naming structure. Since the original was followed by the Apple Watch Series 1, the company has used sequential numbers every year.
It is therefore highly likely we can expect 2021’s watch to be called the Apple Watch Series 7, succeeding 2020’s Apple Watch Series 6. We also saw the Watch SE launch in 2020, though it’s not yet clear if that will be succeeded every year.
The new watch, or watches, will no doubt be running Apple’s watchOS 8, which will likely be previewed during Apple’s developer conference that normally takes place sometime in June.
Apple Watch Series 7 release date
- September 2021
- Likely from $399/£379
Apple typically holds its iPhone launch event in September of every year and the next iteration of the Watch is normally announced at the same time.
Of course, things didn’t quite follow the ‘normal’ path in 2020. The Apple Watch Series 6 and Watch SE were revealed ahead of the iPhone 12 series on 15 September 2020.
At the moment, it is not yet known if Apple will return to tradition for 2021. If it does, we’d pencil in 7 September 2021, but we’d put that in very light pencil for now. We’d expect rumours to appear in the next few months of various leakers claiming to know, but the official information won’t appear until August 2021 at the earliest.
In terms of price, the Apple Watch Series 6 starts at $399/£379. We’d expect the same ballpark for the Series 7.
What we want and expect to see on the next Apple Watch
- Focus on fitness – more advanced features
- Better sleep tracking
- Improved battery life
- Smart straps
The Apple Watch Series 4 made some big design changes in terms of display and the Series 5, Series 6 and Watch SE adopt the same design. The general style and shape remain the same as the original Watch, but the newer watches offer a lot more screen in similar footprints.
It could be therefore, that the Series 7 offers some bigger design changes, given the Series 5 only added an always-on display and built-in compass, while the Series 6 added a blood oxygen sensor. The Apple Watch has had the same form factor since it was first introduced though, so we would be surprised to see this change dramatically but you never know.
We also expect more health and fitness features, perhaps taking on the likes of Garmin with more running functions like cadence tracking for example. Garmin also do a great job of enabling users to share their runs or activity so we wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple take a leaf out of this book.
We’d like to see battery improvements to match other smartwatches in the market, like the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 and we’d also like to see more advanced sleep tracking on the Series 7, as well as roaming capabilities. Apple revealed sleep tracking as part of watchOS 7, meaning it is available on older Apple Watches too, but it isn’t as detailed as some other devices on the market. Perhaps some extra hardware on the Series 7 could put it up there with the Fitbit’s and Garmin’s.
It would also be great to see the Apple Watch unlock more. Rather than just being able to unlock your Mac, perhaps it could act as your office key card too, for example.
Other possibilities could include things like smart straps, third party support for watch faces, a camera and Face ID or an under display fingerprint sensor, though we suspect the latter are wishful thinking rather than plausible additions, mainly due to lack of space for the sensors.
Apple Watch Series 7 rumours: What’s happened so far?
Here are all the rumours and news so far, surrounding future Apple Watches.
14 November 2020: New Apple Watch design could arrive 2021
9to5 reported that analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed a new Apple Watch design would arrive in 2021 at the earliest. The report said Kuo speculates that a “significant form factor design change would come with new Apple Watch models in 2H21 at the earliest.”
22 July 2020: Apple Watch With MicroLED Display Could Launch in 2020
MacRumours reported that Apple was in talks with Taiwanese display manufacturers to use microLED displays in its products in 2020. We didn’t see that in the Watch Series 6, but maybe this is something we will see on the Watch Series 7.
16 April 2020: Could a future Apple watch detect if you’ve fallen into a river?
As we’ve seen from the introduction of heart monitoring features, Apple is keen to make Apple Watch into a device that promotes life. According to an Apple patent, a future device could detect the type of water its in and therefore assess if you’ve fallen into a river or the sea and then assess your situation. For example, if your watch’s GPS assesses you’re in deep water it could be set to alert authorities.
6 February 2020: Digital Crown could get new features
One of the most distinctive things about the Apple Watch is the Digital Crown. Now it could be getting some new features to make it touch or light-sensitive. Certainly Apple would intend for the crown to become more sensitive through these methods, not less. Again, these have been spotted thanks to a patent release.
“The crown may include a light-directing feature configured to direct, onto the image-sensing element, an image of an object in contact with the imaging surface” says the filing. The crown could potentially detect the motion of your finger as you rotate or touch the crown.
Apple Insider suggests this could mean that the Digital Crown has less physical bulk, therefore, making room within the watch for other components.
30 January 2020: Digital Crown set to be replaced with an optical reader?
A patent spotted by Patently Apple shows the Apple Watch Digital Crown being replaced by an optical fingerprint reader instead which could then recognise gestures, such as if you were to rotate the virtual crown.
At present we think it’s unlikely that Apple would remove the Digital Crown because it’s one of the most distinctive features of the timepiece. But this could happen in a future version of the Apple Watch rather than being for this year, of course.
11 November 2019: Could Touch ID make its way to the Apple Watch?
Apple filed a patent that turns the Apple Watch screen into a Touch ID sensor. The patent notes that “the display may provide an image or video output for the watch body 100. The display may also provide an input surface for one or more input devices such as a touch sensing device, force-sensing device, temperature sensing device, and/or a fingerprint sensor.”
While we’re seeing a lot of phones with under-display fingerprint readers now, this move would require quite a step-up in technology because of the diminutive size of the watch.
5 August 2019: Apple Watch could use in-display fingerprint sensor
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed Apple will introduce an ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor into the 2021 iPhone, but he also said the technology could be used in a new Apple Watch too.
Currently, the Apple Watch has no biometric security but an in-display fingerprint sensor would allow it to offer some, without changing the design.
16 January 2019: Three big health features rumoured
The Fast Company reported that Apple has hired numerous clinicians and engineers to work on health features for the Apple Watch, which are said to include blood pressure, blood glucose or diabetes management and sleep tracking or science. Given these didn’t appear on the Series 6, perhaps they are destined for the Series 7?
8 May 2018: Patent for round Apple Watch approved
A patent for circular screen technology was approved, after being originally filed in January 2016. The filing mentioned wrist wear, leading some to assume a circular Apple Watch was coming.
Writing by Britta O’Boyle.