New design. Flat design. But not round design. New display. Fuller display. But not rugged display. New finishes. Color finishes. But not Edition finishes. New S7 chipset. Maybe new radios. But maybe, maybe not new sensors. Not blood sugar, not blood pressure, not body temperature. It’s the Apple Watch Series 7 and it’s as close as a month away. So, should you get ready to upgrade?
Last year’s S6 system-in-package was based on the A13’s Thunder efficiency cores. Along with a W3 wireless chip, and a U1 ultra-wide-band chip. That was after the previous year’s S5 SiP was basically the same as the S4 before it, just with a digital compass and always-on display controllers. So will the S7 be more of a tweak, like the S5, or more of a leap, like the S6?
I’m hoping for the latter, because I’m… all about that silicon, but not just for performance, for efficiency as well. Get the A14 icestorm efficiency IP in there, shrink that process and boost that battery life.
I know I’ll still have to charge it every day, just like I have to charge my phone every day, because power draw is the price we pay for powerful features, I just want a wider window in which I can choose to charge it.
The current Watch is also still 802.11n, which is Wi-Fi…4 now? It’s gone 5Ghz, which is great, but could it go better? Wi-Fi 5 or Wi-Fi 6 better? Wi-Fi 6E as in 6Ghz better? It’s also still LTE. Could it go to 5G? Not frequency range 2 mmWave, because that’s all drain and pain, but frequency range 1 low and mid-band? And could it go completely self-contained so it wouldn’t need an iPhone any more, not for messaging, not for anything? And, I guess, yeah, Could U1 go… U2? Sorry, so sorry…
The health sensors are tougher. Not just to talk about but actually to ship. Apple keeps working on them. They keep buying companies that claim they’re thissssss close to getting them working. And they just keep being… not so close. Not at all close. Like years away so not close. At least not for practical solutions like ECG and blood oxygen that Apple can roll out to millions of consumers.
Body temperature? Maybe a next year thing. Blood pressure and blood sugar? More like a some year things. Even if all of us really, really want them to be a soon thing.
Does that mean Apple will be leaving upgrades on the table? Most people, even most iPhone people, don’t even have an Apple Watch yet. So it’s less about getting the smaller percentage of those that do to buy a new one, and more about getting the huge percentage of those that don’t to buy their first one. And that’s just removing road blocks and adding features, until it triggers that buy.
The big one for me is still complete and total independence from the iPhone, so if you want an Apple Watch, you can just get an Apple Watch. And the halo effect, the advantages and integrations that come from having an iPhone, or iPad, or, hell, Mac as well, that stays very real. And I’ll drop a link below the like button to the interview I did with Apple on all that.
Now, there were rumors of a more rugged version that would have a more extreme screen and more extreme casing, and be targeted at more extreme athletes. More Ray Zayhab adventurist types. But how rugged? And just how much bigger and thicker, because rugged? Most recent rumors say we’ll have to wait until next year to find out.
This year though… This year it sounds like what we’re getting is a new design. The second new design in the Watch’s history. The last one was all about Apple’s old futuristic full-screen look. This one is in keeping with Apple’s last retro future chic look, the one that started with the 2018 iPad Pro and came to the iPhone 12 last year. You know, all flat sides and extruded roundrects. But not round.
As cool as a round Apple Watch and circular watchOS interface would be, Apple still sees the Watch less like classic horological jewelry, and more like hyper-functional computer for your wrist. iPhone for you wrist, to be more specific about it. Where a square display just allows for way more text on the page and data in the corners. And Apple thinks being bound to a traditional round Watch shape is about as important as being bound to a traditional banana phone shape. But, who knows? Maybe one day!
The display might be getting better as well. Better laminated, maybe even better screen-to-bezel ratio. But does that mean more screen or less bezel? Like the iPad Pro going from 10.5 to 11-inches at the same chassis size, or like the bigger iPad Pro staying at 12.9-inches but at a smaller chassis size. I mean, do you want the smallest, lightest watch imaginable, or will you absolutely, positively not stop until you have a full on Swartzenager sized brick on your wrist?
There’s also talk of the Edition going away. You know the ones that kicked off back in ought 14 with 24K gold and have since iterated through ceramics and now, titanium. But would that mean aluminum and aluminum alone, or steel still on the higher end? Where Apple currently offers polished, black, and gold. And what about Hermes?
Also, maybe even more colors on the aluminum models. Even more than the red and blue models that debuted last year. Maybe as many as the base level iPhones have had for the last few years now. Maybe as many… and matching colors?
So, no new materials, no big new sensors, no game-changer features like always-on, aside from the new design and maybe increased independence, what could drive upgrades for those of us already in the Watch ecosystem? Aside from people who are just timing out on their old Watches. You know, had them for 3 or 4 years now, and the sum total of the new features are already compelling, including a bigger display, always-on display, fall detection, pulse-ox, the new design.
Well, weird as it may sound… colors. Apple’s been going all-in on all-the colors lately. The complete taste-the-rainbow of colors, at least on the consumer product side. iPhones been there for a while, but now iPad Air, presumably the new iPad mini, AirPods Max, 24-inch iMac, presumably the next MacBook Air, and the Apple Watch just feels like such a prime candidate for that. Even more than the red and blue models that debuted last year. Because while colors are fun, you know what’s even more fun? Matching colors!