iPhone takes backseat to Apple’s wearables: Big changes coming to Apple Watch and AirPods in 2024

Apple Watch Series 9 showcasing watchOS 10
(Image credit: Apple)

The iPhone has been the focal point of Apple’s annual releases for well over a decade, but new plans point to the smartphone taking a backseat in 2024 — with Apple giving its wearable lineup a push to the front and center as it prepares to launch it’s first-gen mixed reality headset the Vision Pro, an overhauled Apple Watch X, and it’s ever-popular AirPods.

The news arrives from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, who reports that the Cupertino company is poised to make 2024 the year of the wearable after a slump in sales throughout fiscal 2023. Apple’s response to this is to treat its wearable tech to some of the “biggest upgrades ever”, while simplifying its catalog in much the same way as it recently did by dropping the 13-inch MacBook Pro to avoid clashing with the MacBook Air’s offerings. 

Apple’s wearable road map for 2024: What to expect 

According to Bloomberg, Apple is looking to release two new fourth-gen AirPods with updated designs and USB-C charging cases to suit different price points with one including Active Noise Cancellation (ANC).

Gurman also claims that the AirPods Max headphones, while not a huge seller, will receive a USB-C makeover too – though we shouldn’t expect any massive overhauls in terms of design or software.

The new Apple Watch could be one of the more notable changes in Apple’s wearable lineup as it’s already been rumored to bring a huge redesign to the product. Dubbed the Apple Watch X, the 10th generation of Apple Watch is set to receive a new look and a new watch strap mechanism that relies on magnets, while potentially taking advantage of Apple’s 3D printing technology, and microLED displays.

The new Apple Watch is also claimed to feature a new pair of health monitoring features including hypertension and sleep apnea detection. Alerting wearers if it senses either of these conditions and recommending them to reach out further for more information and further checks as a result.

However, the star of the show will no doubt be the Vision Pro headset, which could launch as early as January 2024, with Apple planning to train retail employees on the hardware the same month to ensure they’re familiar with set up and how best to market it to people.


The Vision Pro is Apple’s first foray into the VR/AR realm, and there’s a lot riding on its success. Switching focus to wearables this year more than any other makes a lot of sense for Apple. Not only does it help boost flagging sales of its earphones, headphones, and smartwatch devices, but it also elevates the status of wearable devices as a whole, reminding consumers that this is a key market for Apple going forward.

Will Apple’s wearable-focus for 2024 pay off? It’s high time some of these devices got the love and attention they deserve, so hearing word of new designs, new features, and new options will be great news to many. Hopefully these changes can result in an increase in sales and a push to keep wearables at the forefront of Apple’s plans over the coming years.

Rael Hornby
Content Editor

Rael Hornby, potentially influenced by far too many LucasArts titles at an early age, once thought he’d grow up to be a mighty pirate. However, after several interventions with close friends and family members, you’re now much more likely to see his name attached to the bylines of tech articles. While not maintaining a double life as an aspiring writer by day and indie game dev by night, you’ll find him sat in a corner somewhere muttering to himself about microtransactions or hunting down promising indie games on Twitter.