Apple is expected to introduce the Apple Watch Series 7 at an event in September, and the Series 7 is an exciting update because it features the first significant redesign to the Apple Watch that we’ve seen in years.
This guide covers everything we know about the Apple Watch Series 7, ranging from design changes to launch date to production issues.
Design and Display
The Apple Watch has looked largely the same since it was released in 2015, though it did get a display overhaul with the launch of the Apple Watch Series 4. The Apple Watch Series 7 will feature a much more dramatic design change that will make it clearly distinguishable from prior Apple Watch models.
First of all, it will come in new 41mm and 45mm size options, up from 40 and 44mm. The larger sized display will feature thinner bezels and a new lamination technique that brings the display closer to the front cover, with updated screen technology.
The 45mm Apple Watch Series 7 model, which will be the largest to date, will have a body size that measures in at 1.9 inches diagonally, up from 1.78 inches, and it will have a resolution of 396 x 484, up from 368 x 448, which equates to 16 percent more pixels. We don’t know the exact dimensions of the 41mm model, but it too will see a comparable increase in body size.
The casing will have a flat-edged design that’s similar to the iPhone 12 or the iPad Pro, which is a departure from the curved edges of the current Apple Watch models. Apple is also rumored to be considering new color options, including a green color that would join the blue shade introduced in 2019.
Because of this new design, the Apple Watch may be slightly thicker, but Bloomberg says the thickness increase won’t be noticeable to users. Other rumors have suggested the Apple Watch Series 7 will be thinner than prior models, so we’ll need to wait to see which take is correct.
We haven’t seen Apple Watch Series 7 component leaks this year, but a few sites have created renders that are based on information allegedly sourced from the Apple’s Asian supply chain.
These renders from 91mobiles feature an Apple Watch with a flat-edged design, a flatter digital crown, and two longer speakers at the left side of the device.
According to the information the renders are based on, the 44mm Apple Watch Series 7 will have a 1.8-inch display, up from the 1.73-inch display in the Series 6. It may also be 1.7mm thinner than the current version.
Processor and Connectivity
Apple updates the processor in the Apple Watch each year and the Series 7 will be no exception. The Apple Watch Series 7 is rumored to include a smaller “S7” chip that uses double-sided technology for module miniaturization.
A smaller S7 chip will allow more room for other components, and one source suggests Apple will use this extra space for a bigger battery or new health sensors. Apple is also expected to introduce improved wireless connectivity and an improved U1 Ultra Wideband chip.
There have been no rumors of new health sensors coming in the Apple Watch Series 7, but Nikkei recently claimed that the device would have blood pressure measuring capabilities
Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman quickly refuted this claim and said there is “no chance” that blood pressure monitoring will be included in the 2021 Apple Watch.
There has been discussion of blood pressure monitoring due to Apple’s partnership with Rockley Photonics, a company that makes advanced digital health sensors, but this technology is not ready for use.
New Watch Faces and Software
- A Modular Max watch face will offer the digital time alongside a small complication like temperature, while additional larger complications will be stacked on top of each other below. It’s similar to Infograph Modular, but can show more than one large complication.
- A Continuum face will shift based on “the flow of time and the current hour.”
- A new world time watch face will allow users to see all 24 time zones simultaneously. An external dial will display the time zones, while an inner dial will display the time in each location. Bloomberg says it’s similar to watch faces popularized by luxury watch makers Patek Philippe, Breitling, and others.
- There’s a new Hermes watch face that features numbers that change hour by hour and new Nike watch face with numbers that change based on a person’s motion.
With the launch of the Apple Watch Series 7, Apple also plans to introduce new “Time to Run” and “Audio Meditations” features that will accompany the “Time to Walk” option that was introduced earlier this year.
Apple Watch Series 7 Release Date
We’re expecting Apple to introduce the Apple Watch Series 7 in September alongside new iPhone 13 models. Based on past event dates, the most likely date for the Apple Watch Series 7 event is Tuesday, September 14.
Normally new Apple Watch models come out shortly after Apple holds a launch event, but unfortunately, late August reports from Nikkei and Bloomberg have pointed toward production issues.
Apple has run into challenges due to the complexity of the Series 7 design, so its release could be delayed or it could be available in limited quantities at launch. Apple has reportedly halted production, but we’ll need to wait until the September debut to see whether launch is delayed or supplies are limited. DigiTimes has suggested that production is set to ramp up at the end of September.
Future Apple Watch Rumors
According to The Wall Street Journal and other sources, Apple is developing several new health features for future Apple Watch models. These include blood-pressure monitoring, a thermometer for fertility and sleep tracking, sleep apnea detection, and diabetes detection.
None of these features are expected to arrive in Apple Watch models before 2022.
Blood Glucose Monitoring
Apple is rumored to have a team of biomedical engineers working on a method for non-invasively monitoring blood glucose levels using optical sensors, technology that could potentially make its way into the Apple Watch at some point in the future. Such a feature would make diabetes management much easier because it would not require puncturing the skin.
There have been rumors that Apple will add blood glucose monitoring capabilities to the Apple Watch Series 7 using a non-invasive optical sensor, but Bloomberg says that a blood sugar sensor will not be ready for commercial launch for several more years.
Blood glucose monitoring has been a feature that Apple has been working on for years, based on rumors, but it is a serious health feature that would likely require regulation.
Blood Pressure measurements
Apple supplier Rockley Photonics is working on an advanced digital sensor system that allows wearable devices to monitor biomarkers like core body temperature, blood pressure, body hydration, alcohol, lactate, glucose trends, and more, using optical sensors.
This technology could eventually make its way to the Apple Watch given the partnership between Apple and Rockley, and rumors suggest we will see blood pressure monitoring capabilities introduced at some point.
A wrist-worn blood pressure monitor could be used to detect when blood pressure is rising and the function would be able to detect hypertension. Apple was aiming to release this feature in 2022, but it could be pushed as the technology still needs to be perfected.
Blood pressure monitoring would work by measuring the speed of the wave of a heartbeat through a user’s arteries using sensors. It would tell a user how their blood pressure is trending, but it won’t be able to provide baseline systolic and diastolic blood pressure measurements.
Apple was considering adding a body temperature sensor in the 2021 Apple Watch, but Bloomberg says it is instead likely to be introduced in the 2022 update.
A temperature measuring function would be useful for fertility tracking and keeping track of sleep, and in the future, it could also detect when a user has a fever.
Sleep Apnea Detection
Apple is aiming to use the existing blood oxygen sensor to detect sleep apnea, but there are issues with taking frequent readings without significantly impacting battery life.
Rugged Apple Watch
According to Bloomberg, Apple is working on a version of the Apple Watch “with a rugged casing” that’s aimed at athletes, hikers, and others who use the watch in more extreme conditions than day to day wear. It will feature the same functionality as a standard Apple Watch, but with improved impact resistance and protection. Apple is expected to launch the rugged Apple Watch in 2022.
Rumors indicate a future version of the Apple Watch will adopt solid state buttons that don’t physically click but instead provide haptic feedback to users when the buttons are touched, but it’s not clear when this is coming. Apple introduced haptic feedback for the Digital Crown in the Series 4, and haptic feedback could potentially extend to the side button in a later Apple Watch model.
Further in the future, the Apple Watch may do away with buttons altogether, with the sides of the device adopting support for touch and swipe-based gestures.
Apple reportedly has a secret manufacturing facility in Santa Clara, California where it is designing and producing test samples of displays that use microLED, a technology that will follow OLED. microLED screens can result in devices that are slimmer, brighter, and use less power. Rumors suggest an Apple Watch with a microLED display could launch in three or four years.
Apple Watch Patents
Apple has patented several interesting technologies that could potentially be used in future Apple Watch devices, such as a biometric authentication feature that authenticates identity based on the wearer’s skin pattern. Such a feature would eliminate the need for a passcode when wearing the Apple Watch.
Another patent describes a self-tightening Apple Watch band that would adjust during intensive activities like running or working out for accurate heart rate readings, and loosen up afterward. The tightening could also be used for directions, workout reps, and more.
A third patent describes an Apple Watch band with an LED indicator that would visualize the progress of an activity or task, providing a visual indicator when completing a workout or an Activity ring, for example.
Apple in December 2019 published a patent describing how the Apple Watch could help doctors monitor the symptoms of Parkinson’s patients using sensors to keep track of tremors. Apple believes this method of data tracking will allow users to better track their symptoms so they can plan activities around symptom patterns.
A 2020 pair of patents suggest Apple is researching Touch ID and an under-display camera for the Apple Watch. Apple describes a side button with an integrated Touch ID fingerprint sensor that could be used for user identification and device unlocking. Currently, the Apple Watch unlocks with a passcode and also when the paired iPhone is unlocked.
As for an under-display camera, the patent describes a two-stage display technology that includes a camera that are externally visible only when engaged.
In 2021, Apple outlined a radical redesign of the Apple Watch in a patent filing, featuring a rounded watch face, wrap-around flexible display, and digitally-customizable watch bands.
Apple has filed several other patents covering the possibility of moving hardware into the Apple Watch’s band, including batteries, speakers, kinetic power generators, haptic feedback devices, and even cameras.
There’s no word on whether these patented features will make it into an actual Apple Watch in the future, but it’s interesting to see what Apple is working on and considering behind the scenes.