So we’ve only recently witnessed the launch of the Series 6 and already we’re talking about the Apple Watch 7. But with Apple likely working on projects way in advance, it’s hardly surprising that the internet is already swarming with rumours, hints and leaks by way of the firm’s upcoming timepiece. That, and because people are genuinely curious to know what to expect from the company when it unveils its next wrist-worn wearable.
When the first Apple Watch was unveiled back in 2015, it revolutionised the smartwatch market. However, at the time, many believed that Apple was late to the party. When the iPhone hit the phone market, there wasn't much in the way of competition. It was a different story with the Apple Watch, though. At that time, there were already plenty of highly functional, attractive wrist-worn gadgets to choose from. Samsung was well on its way with some great Galaxy wearables, and Google had made leaps and bounds in creating a viable alternative to Apple's iOS in its mobile Android OS, which powered a host of smartwatches already available.
Apple’s popularity in the tech space saw it through, though. The tech behemoth shipped more than 12 million of its smartwatches worldwide in its first year alone, capturing a 7% share of the total smartwatch market, according to Statistica.
Fast forward to today and Apple holds the largest share of the global smartwatch shipment market in the world at a whopping 48%. To put this in perspective, Samsung holds second place, which takes up a measly 13% share, despite boosting its global share since the introduction of its Galaxy Watch series in 2018.
So now we’ve established how important Apple’s annual smartwatch release is to markets across the world, let’s delve into what we can expect to see from the next iteration of the world’s most popular wearable when it launches later this year.
Apple Watch Series 7: release date and price
As it’s such early days, any solid information about when we can expect Apple to launch its Series 7 smartwatch is extremely thin on the ground.
However, we have spotted some release date rumours from the one and only Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst who has an impeccably good track record when it comes to insider knowledge concerning Apple. According to 9to5Mac, Kuo suggested that we’ll see a new Apple Watch model in the second half of 2021.
This isn’t exactly a groundbreaking assumption, as Apple has released the latest iteration of its famed wearable every September for the past five years (even during the pandemic in 2020) so we would put money on seeing the Apple Watch 7 around the same time in 2021. If past launches are anything to go by, we’d estimate the launch date to be around the middle of the month and if forced to choose a specific date, we’d take a punt at the 17th (a Friday), as for the last few years Apple has chosen this very day to take the wraps off its new smartwatch. Take a look at the release dates for the past three iterations, if you don’t believe us:
- Apple Watch Series 4: Friday 21 September 2018
- Apple Watch Series 5: Friday 20 September 2019
- Apple Watch Series 6: Friday 18 September 2020
As for what the Apple Watch 7 will cost, there’s no leaks or rumours flying around at the moment that hint at the price, but one thing we do know is that Apple has been pretty consistent with pricing up to now.
For example, the Apple Watch 6 started at £379 in the UK at launch and $399 in the US, and while there has been some fluctuation in pricing across the last few models, we’d still expect the Apple Watch 7 starting price to be around the same at launch.
Apple Watch Series 7: design upgrades?
The Apple Watch hasn’t really changed all that much since its first-ever release more than five years ago. But could 2021 be the year that Apple finally roll out some completely fresh smartwatch designs for us all to drool over? Our trusty old friend Ming-Chi Kuo seems to think so.
Along with his release date predictions back in September last year, he wrote about how a “significant form factor design change will come with new Apple Watch models in 2H21 at the earliest”.
While there are no other rumours backing up Kuo’s assumptions, there are none on the contrary, either, so we’ll have to take his word for it until something more reliable comes our way.
Apple Watch Series 7: new display and better battery life?
Another design change we could see is an upgrade to the screen tech, something that could potentially help differentiate the Watch 7 over its predecessors. If the internet rumour mill is anything to go by, Apple might be replacing the OLED displays on the Apple Watch with either Mini-LED or Micro-LED panels.
The benefit here is that they’d be slimmer than those Apple currently uses in its smartwatch, which could lead to better energy-efficiency and thus improved battery life. Something even the biggest Apple Watch fans have been crying out for.
Those display rumours come via MacRumors, who recently reported that 2021 could finally see Apple working with Taiwanese display manufacturers to deliver the new panels on the Watch.
If the rumours are true, they would back up Kuo’s mention of a “significant form factor design change” detailed above, and potentially bring about the biggest design upgrade the Apple Watch has ever seen.
Apple Watch Series 7: new battery-boosting straps?
It’s not just the Apple Watch 7’s display that might be getting an overhaul. A patent belonging to Apple has been spotted by PatentlyApple detailing a watch strap design featuring a battery embedded within it.
We assume this set up would help boost battery life for users by adding extra capacity. However, ideas in patents often don’t get used, so we wouldn't take this as gospel, by any means.
Apple Watch Series 7: Touch ID?
Another patent unearthed by PatentlyApple suggests the possibility of a Touch ID fingerprint scanner being added to the Series 7 Apple Watch. There have actually been multiple patents that have talked about this, with one describing a Touch ID scanner built into the home button. As you’d expect, the patent explains how this feature could be used for user identification, device unlocking, and authorising transactions.
As many of Apple’s other devices have Touch ID built-in for the same use cases, we’d predict this feature as having a likely presence in the Apple Watch 7 when it launches later this year. Not only would it be easy to incorporate but it would add some welcome additional security measures.
Obviously, many of these alleged features are exactly that: rumours, and so - for now - we have to take them with a pinch of salt, especially as we are so far away from the presumed launch date. As we approach the big day, however, you can expect such leaks and rumoured features to become much more reliable. Until then, though, be sure to keep checking back as we'll be updating the article as and when news breaks.