Apple insider Mark Gurman of Bloomberg reports that Apple’s next line of watches will receive a minor update. However, the company is already working on the Watch X version for the 10th anniversary of the Apple Watch.
According to Gourmet, the manufacturer is planning a major update for its smartwatches, but not this year. The models that will appear next month will be a minor update – one that has characterized the product in recent years.
Inside Apple, executives have toyed with the idea of abandoning this slow but steady annual refresh cycle. The discussions haven’t gotten very far (Apple has faithfully released a new watch every year since the category launched in 2015), but recent updates to the device underscore why it’s even being discussed.
Unlike the iPhone, changes to the major Apple Watch models are fairly minor and occur every year. Last year, the main addition to the Series 8 model was a body temperature sensor. The year before, it was a larger display. In addition, the last time Apple improved the performance of the device was when it released the Series 6 with a faster chip and a blood oxygen level reader.
These days, Apple doesn’t give consumers many reasons to buy a new watch with each new generation. Last year, the company released a new Apple Watch Ultra model, which prompted some users to upgrade, but 2023 will (again) be without significant innovations.
Apple plans to unveil the Apple Watch Series 9 line along with the new iPhone at an event currently scheduled for September 12. The new watches will be the same size as the current models – 41 and 45 millimeters, and 49 millimeters for the Ultra model. The most noticeable differences will be faster processors and fresh colors.
In terms of new features, this is probably the most minor update in the product’s history. If you spent $799 on the Apple Watch Ultra last year, you probably won’t want to splurge on the updated version.
Of course, Apple doesn’t release new watches just to force people to upgrade every year. The company adds new features to attract first-time smartwatch buyers or people who own much older models. It also hopes to attract users of Samsung and Fitbit devices.
For this reason, Apple is likely to stick to a once-a-year update cycle, but the company has made changes to the release schedule for other products. At the beginning of its history, the iPad was updated every year (in 2012, the flagship model was even updated twice). Today, the main iPad models are updated no more than once every 18 months.
Due to the slow evolution of the Apple Watch over the years, the design of the watch has remained virtually unchanged since the Series 4 was released in 2018 – with the exception of the Ultra model.
But that could change. Apple is planning to release the Watch X model to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the device, and it promises to be the biggest update yet. Given that Apple announced its smartwatch line in 2014 and released it the following year, the company is planning to release the Watch X in either 2024 or 2025.
With the Model X, Apple designers plan to create a thinner watch case and are exploring a change in the way the bands attach to the device.
Starting with the original Apple Watch, the bands were attached with a locking mechanism. Keeping this design allows the bands to remain compatible with old and new models, but it has its drawbacks. People involved in the development of the new Apple Watch say the system takes up a significant amount of space that could be better filled with a larger battery or other components.
To that end, the company is researching a new magnetic band attachment system, although it is not yet clear if it will be ready and if it will be used in the updated Watch X. Even bigger changes are also expected: a micro-LED display that surpasses modern OLED screens in color and image clarity, as well as blood pressure monitoring technology.