Apple Watch 7 is a lock to dominate the smartwatch world when it launches later this year just as its predecessors have. That could certainly lead you to believe that Apple might rest on its laurels, but rumors suggest that won't be the case.
Early leaks and rumors are pointing to the first meaningful hardware redesign since 2018. This comes as Google and Samsung partner up in an effort to create a more meaningful alternative to Apple Watch, something that has proven impossible so far.
Here's everything we know so far about Apple Watch 7 including the expected price, release date, design, features and more.
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Apple Watch 7: Price and availability
We haven't seen any specific rumors yet regarding pricing or availability for the Apple Watch 7, but Apple has been remarkably consistent on both counts suggesting a $399 starting price and a launch in mid-September.
Apple moved to $399 as the starting price for the Apple Watch with Series 4 and hasn't strayed from it since. With the Apple Watch SE holding down the more affordable end of things with its $279 price point and the Apple Watch still the dominant option in the market, there's little reason for a change.
There has been some speculation that Apple could reduce the upcharge for the cellular model to $50 as we saw with the Apple Watch SE, but there are no direct rumors or evidence for that move.
When it comes to the release date, Apple has been more static with the Apple Watch than any other product. With the exception of the original Apple Watch, a new watch has always been released between September 12 and September 22. There's no reason to expect them to vary this year.
Apple Watch 7: Design
The only images we've seen to date are renders created by @rendersbyian in cooperation with Jon Prosser. As is often the case with Prosser's materials, these are allegedly based on actual images of the Apple Watch 7 sent by an unnamed source. Prosser has established a solid, but not spotless, record when it comes to Apple products so there's a strong chance these are accurate.
The biggest change to the design is the flattened sides, which should come as little surprise as we have now seen Apple apply this same design to almost its entire lineup of products. From the iPhone 12, to the iPad Air, to the new iMac and rumors suggest it is coming to the 14-inch MacBook Pro as well, we have every expectation that the flat edges will be Apple's signature look for years to come.
The design has slightly less of an impact on the Apple Watch than on some of the other products as the top and bottom still have a curved look due to the watch band sloping into it. The trimmed edges seem like a win, but however you feel about the squared-off design from Apple, this isn't going to change your opinion one way or the other.
The rest of the design seems unchanged from the 2018 redesign. Prosser indicates that prototypes with smaller bezels have been tested, but it's unclear whether that will make it to the final production Apple Watch 7.
Prosser lacked specific specs, so we assume the watch will still come in 40mm and 44mm options, but that has yet to be confirmed.
Apple Watch 7: Features
While we have a pretty clear picture of what the Apple Watch 7 is going to look like, even after the debut of watchOS 8 at WWDC 2021 it's slightly unclear what to expect. One notable easter egg in the presentation was mention of blood glucose monitoring, something that isn't possible with the current Apple Watch models. TechRadar previously reported on the possible addition of blood glucose monitoring to the Apple Watch 7. Given the prevalence of diabetes globally and specifically in the U.S., this would be a massive update for the Apple Watch as a health monitoring tool.
Beyond that, things get extremely speculative. Patently Apple noted that Apple was granted a patent for a watch band with embedded batteries. Given that the new design still looks incredibly thin, this would be one way for Apple to better challenge some of its more fitness-focused competitors or the Samsung Galaxy Watch when it comes to battery life.
Other new software features that are debuting in watchOS 8 include a number of mindfulness related updates. This includes a new Respiratory Rate feature for sleep tracking, updates to Breathe and a new Reflect feature along with support for tracking new exercises low-impact exercises like Tai Chi and Pilates.
The popular face watchface will now allow you to use portrait mode photos and leverage the depth data to create layered watchfaces. Photos on Apple Watch will be updated with the new look from iOS 15 and Messages is getting improved with the ability to dictate, scribble or add emojis from the same view.
While these new features are compelling, the blood glucose monitoring is the only one that should hinge on new hardware, so if there are any other exclusive features coming to Apple Watch 7 then Apple is keeping them under tight wraps for now.
Apple isn't likely too worried about the competition for the Apple Watch 7 because when it comes to mindshare and market share, it enjoys a pretty substantial lead. However, there is finally some evidence of competition arriving that may motivate Apple to keep its foot on the gas.
It was made clear at Google I/O 2021 that Android Wear is getting considerably more attention this year with Google's partnership with Samsung. Whether that means a Galaxy Watch 4 with the new version of Wear OS or the rumored Pixel Watch can challenge the Apple Watch is far from certain.
The biggest feature gap that Apple Watch 7 could close is battery life. While Apple Watch models can often make it into a second day for some users, a full two days is out of the question for most and particularly active users will burn through it in less than a day. The Galaxy Watch 3, by comparison, offers four days of battery life and most Fitbit devices offer around five days of battery life. Particularly given the push for the Apple Watch as a vital health monitoring tool, it could use a battery boost.