Apple's product release cycles are pretty much as regular as the seasons, so we fully expected the Silicon Valley tech titan to announce at least one new Apple Watch this fall. The company has introduced one (or more) new smartwatch each of the last six years — ever since 2015, when the first Apple Watch was announced — and we expect 2021 to be no different.
Here's what we expect to learn about the Apple Watch Series 7 at Apple's upcoming event.
We expect new Apple Watches to be announced on Tuesday.
Apple has officially announced its next big hardware event will take place on September 14 at 1pm EST (or 10am PDT). This is when we expect to get our first look at the Series 7, the iPhone 13 and maybe a new iPad. The devices will likely be available for preorder the day of (or day after) the event, and they should ship towards the end of September. There were some concerns that production issues who delay the shipping day, possibly pushing it well into October, but according to well-known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, those issues seem to be resolved.
How many new Apple Watches will there be?
Rumors point to "two." 2020 was the first year that Apple gave us two completely new smartwatches: the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE. The flagship Series 6 introduced a new blood oxygen sensor, a faster processor and some new colors, but was otherwise very similar to the previous Series 5. The Apple Watch SE was basically identical to the others, but lacked the always-on display as well as the blood oxygen sensor and the electrical heart sensor (so it's not capable of taking an ECG).
The next-generation of Apple Watches are expected to be announced this coming fall, and while that's still a long ways away, we're starting to rumors and rumblings of what they might be like. Here's what we know so far.
Will the Series 7 Apple Watch have a new design?
It seems likely. With its iPhone 12 line, Apple debuted a redesigned smartphone with flat edges, which the company claims makes them even more rugged and drop resistant. In my personal opinion, it also makes them easier to hold. Well, according to the famed Apple leaker Jon Prosser, Apple could be bringing this same flat-edge design to the Apple Watch. If so, it could be the biggest new design update for the Apple Watch in several years.
Will the Series 7 Apple Watch have a new display?
According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, the new display will have thinner bezels and "a new lamination technique that brings the display closer to the front cover." This should make the Series 7's display appear a little larger than on Apple's previous smartwatches. Despite these thinner bezels, the Series 7 is expected to be slightly thicker overall (thanks in large parts to its new flat edges).
There is a rumor floating around that the Series 7 could be the first Apple Watch with a 120Hz refresh rate. Apple is expected to bring this high refresh rate display to the upcoming iPhone 13, which has obvious advantages for a smartphone (smoother scrolling and less lag for gaming), but it's a little less clear how it would drastically improve the smartwatch experience. It could be better for showing fitness tracking and updates. Maybe Apple will make it an optional feature that you can toggle on/off, because the 120Hz refresh rate could take a big hit on the Series 7's battery life.
Will the Series 7 come multiple sizes?
Since the upcoming Apple Watch is due to get a pretty big redesign, it shouldn't come as too big of a surprise that it's expected to come in two different sizes. The latest leaks from Weibo, Chinese social media platform (which were picked up by MacRumors), suggest that the Series 7 will come in 41mm and 45mm models, which are slightly bigger than the 40mm and 40mm sizes that past the several Apple Watch models (including the Series 4, Series 5 and Series 6) have been available in.
The Series 7 will have a new sensor to tell you if you're drunk.
The next-generation Apple Watch is rumored, according to The Telegraph, to be able to track your blood glucose levels, your blood pressure and your blood alcohol levels. Its new sensor could shine infrared light through your skin to take these measurements, which is the same kind of sensor used by the Series 6 to take your blood oxygen levels and heart rate.
Like before, Apple will likely tell you that the new Apple can not — and should not — replace a doctor or medical professional, but it will be designed to give you a better idea on your current health. Having said all that, if you need an Apple Watch to tell you if you're drunk or not...you're probably drunk.
Apple could release a third Apple Watch with a more rugged design.
According to Bloomberg, Apple could release a special edition Apple Watch with a more rugged design, which would be aimed at athletes, outdoor enthusiasts and people who are more prone to dinging up their smartwatch. Apple gave the Series 6 and the SE the ability to track more activities (such as swimming, yoga and dancing) and sports (such as basketball, soccer and surfing), and this new more rugged Apple Watch could be aimed at those types of people.If not this coming fall, this more rugged Apple Watch could be on the roadmap for 2023.
Should you consider buying the Series 3?
No, it's almost certainly about to become unsupported. It came as a surprise last fall when Apple announced that it was going to keep selling the Series 3, its 3-year old Apple Watch. Typically, Apple stops selling its smartwatches after two years and in some cases, like the Series 4 and the Series 5, after just one year (most likely because they're just too similar to the next-generation models). However, after almost four years on the market, Apple has got to stop selling its Series 3.
The main reason is that, as pointed out by The Verge, it's so old that it's not able to easily install the latest software updates. This means that the Series 3 will likely be even worse at running the next big software update, watchOS 8, when it rolls out this fall. So don't buy it, even if you see that it's heavily discounted.