The Apple Watch 7 launched on September 14 at the Apple event alongside the iPhone 13, bringing the first redesign to Apple’s smartwatch line. While the wearable isn’t coming until later in 2021, we finally know what’s coming – and it looks like a bunch of incremental improvements.
The Apple Watch 7 has a refined look that retains the rounded edges but with thinner bezels for 20% more screen area than the Apple Watch 6 – and new sizes of 41mm and 45mm. Technically, this is the first big redesign since the Apple Watch 2 expanded to the 40mm and 44mm sizes, but it’s not as drastic a redesign as we were expecting .The Apple Watch 7 is Apple’s next major smartwatch, the successor to the Apple Watch 6 from last year. We’re still waiting on the Apple Watch SE 2, so in the meantime, the Apple Watch SE remains as an affordable smartwatch in the lineup – though the Apple Watch 3 is still the cheapest wearable Apple sells. This next smartwatch runs the new watchOS 8, something Apple has already unveiled and is coming to the Apple Watch 3 and newer wearables – but the Apple Watch 7 will take the most advantage of it.
The Apple Watch 7 debuted on September 14 alongside several other top Apple products. It starts at $399 (around £379 / AU$599), though we don’t have other official prices yet and nor do we have an official Apple Watch 7 release date – just that it’s coming ‘later this fall’ (Q3 2021). One leaker suggests the wearable will go up for pre-order as early as the first week of October, though perhaps a week or two later – we’d expect it to go on sale properly a week after that.
The Apple Watch 7 comes in the expected small and large sizes, though they’ve been slightly expanded to 41mm and 45mm this time around in GPS-only and 4G LTE versions, though we don’t have exact pricing aside from $399 for the 41mm GPS-only model.
We do know what colors the Apple Watch 7 will come in. It’ll be offered in five new aluminum finishes: midnight (black), starlight (gray), green, blue, and (PRODUCT)RED. There are also three new Nike Sport Loop colors, as well as new Apple Watch Hermès bands.
While rumors suggested the Apple Watch 7 would have a flat-edged design much like the iPhone 13, Apple stuck with the round-edged look. However, with thinner 1.7mm bezels than the Apple Watch 6, the new smartwatch has 20% more screen area. That larger screen size also comes with slight size increases in this year’s Apple Watches – up to 41mm and 45mm, though the smaller bezels mean the actual size isn’t too much bigger. There are slight improvements to the display, too, which is up to 70% brighter indoors in Always-On mode than the screen on its predecessor.
The screen is also big enough to feature a full QWERTY keyboard, which can be typed or tapped-and-dragged to form words with QuickPath. While third party apps have done keyboard typing before, this is the first time it’s included by Apple itself.
Apple also claims its new smartwatch is more durable, packing a display with ‘robust geometry’ and ‘over 50 percent thicker’ front glass than that on the Apple Watch 6. It also has an IP6X dust resistance rating to add to the WR50 water resistance rating featured in prior Apple Watches – meaning it can be submerged up to 50 meters deep.
Having a bigger screen also means the watch is probably heavier. Apple hasn’t confirmed at the time of writing, but a leaked support document says that every model is slightly heavier than the closest equivalent Apple Watch 6 one.
Apple didn’t have anything to announce about the Apple Watch 7’s specs, which made us think it had the same Apple S6 chipset and 1GB of RAM with 32GB storage that debuted in the Apple Watch 6.
That said, we’ve now seen a leaked support document that points to a new S7 chipset, and another leak also points in that direction. It seems this is no more powerful than the S6 though, instead possibly just being slightly more power efficient. Both leaks also pointed to 32GB of storage, as we suspected.
Apple went out of its way to say the new watch has the same 18-hour battery life as its predecessor, suggesting it likely has the same 304mAh battery as in the Apple Watch 6.
But the watch does come with a more advanced charger for 33% faster charging, juicing up from 0% to 80% in 45 minutes. An 8-minute charge meanwhile can supposedly provide 8 hours of sleep tracking. According to leaks the watch also comes with a new 1-meter USB-C magnetic fast charging cable in the box.The Apple Watch 7 has the same sensor suite as its predecessor, meaning those rumors about glucometers and blood pressure sensors didn’t turn out to be true.
But the smartwatch still has an impressive array of health monitoring features to track ECG, blood oxygen levels, heart rate, and plenty of other metrics.
The Apple Watch 7 also launches with watchOS 8, which comes with the new Mindfulness app, standalone software that also includes meditation sessions from Fitness Plus in audio-only form.
On the software side there are improvements for cyclists too, with cycling fall detection being offered, along with improved calorie calculations for e-bikes.