Should You Wait for the Series 8?

Despite persistent rumors of a new, flat-edged design, it appears that it won’t be happening this time around.
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After a flurry of rumors of a significant redesign for last year’s Apple Watch turned into a big letdown, many wonder if Apple has anything more substantial in store for this year.

Sadly, from everything we’ve heard, the answer appears to be a resounding “no.”

It’s become a bit baffling exactly where the rumors of the flat-edged design for last year’s Apple Watch came from. The most charitable explanation is that Apple had this design somewhere in its skunkworks, but for whatever reason, it failed to make the cut.

The other theory from last fall — that Apple changed the design at the last minute — was dubious from the start, and it holds even less water in retrospect. By this time last year, at least two independent reports had claimed a flat-edged Series 7 design was coming. This year we’ve heard nothing of the sort.

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Indeed if Apple only abandoned the design because of last-minute production problems, it would have had plenty of time to fix these by now. The challenges with such a design would not have been insurmountable. The notion that Apple gave up at the eleventh hour wasn’t because the design was impossible to accomplish, but merely that its suppliers ran into a snag and had no time to fix it.

The Design

Nevertheless, if Apple ever truly considered this significant redesign for the Apple Watch, it appears to have abandoned those plans. Everything we’ve heard so far says we can expect more of the same for this year’s Series 8.

Despite the visual similarity of the Apple Watch Series 7 to prior models, it did feature a pretty significant design change to enlarge the screen and make it more durable. You can’t see it from the outside, but the display was completely re-engineered. This is why it’s unrealistic to think that Apple switched the design at the last minute. Too much work went into this design for it to have merely been Apple’s backup plan in case a more ambitious redesign didn’t work out.

This amount of effort is also why we’re likely to see the Apple Watch Series 8 retain the design of the Series 7. Apple typically doesn’t make significant changes to its designs only to scrap them a year later.

Looking back, it’s quite possible the rumored flat-edged design was actually intended for the Apple Watch “Explorer Edition” — a new model of Apple Watch with a rugged casing designed for outdoor adventure enthusiasts. Some reliable reports indicate that this will arrive as a third model alongside this year’s Series 8 and SE versions.

The timeline also makes sense. We first heard about the rugged Apple Watch in early 2021, only two months before the flat-edged reports began making the rounds. While the shared renders didn’t look much like a rugged Apple Watch, they may have reflected only an inner casing without the more rugged cladding.

So, if you’re an extreme sports enthusiast, it’s fair to say this year’s Apple Watch lineup will definitely be worth waiting for.

The Sensors

This year’s Apple Watch Series 8 likely won’t adopt any significant new health features. The only new sensor that might make an appearance is a body temperature sensor, but that will only happen if Apple can make it work properly.

Even if a body temperature sensor does arrive in this year’s Apple Watch, don’t expect it to be particularly useful in anything more than a single area. Rumour has it that Apple will be focusing on using it for fertility planning.

Sources indicate that Apple hasn’t figured out how to accurately measure core body temperature at the wrist, which makes sense when you think about it. When and if Apple opens up this body temperature sensor to broader use, it’s not expected to provide an actual thermometer-quality measurement but rather a general indication if your body temperature is higher or lower than it should be.

More sophisticated sensors like blood pressure and blood glucose monitoring are still years away. Apple reportedly has a working concept for blood pressure monitoring, but it’s not yet accurate enough to include in the Apple Watch.

As far as we know, Apple hasn’t abandoned its plans for either of these sensors. It’s been working on them for years and is clearly lining up the pieces, but medical technology like this is a tough nut to crack, as reliability and accuracy are critical.

The only other significant new feature that could come to this year’s Apple Watch is satellite connectivity, which Apple is also reportedly working on for the iPhone 14. This feature would allow Emergency SOS requests to be sent even without cellular or Wi-Fi connectivity.

We can see this feature being ideal for the Apple Watch “Explorer Edition” since it’s more likely to be used by extreme sports enthusiasts like snowboarders in the alps. The timing would also be perfect for Apple to announce both the new Apple Watch model and the satellite emergency features. Still, while that’s a nice lifeline, it’s not something you’ll need if you never stray too far away from urban areas.

Buy Now or Wait?

Keeping all that in mind, it’s also worth noting that the Apple Watch Series 8 will likely come in at the same price as the Apple Watch Series 7.

So, unless you can find a deal on the Series 7, there’s little reason not to wait until the fall to see what the Series 8 has to offer. Plus, once the Series 8 is out, you’ll almost certainly find discounted prices on the Series 7.

Still, if you’re looking for a graduation or Father’s Day gift for someone, there’s no reason to avoid the Series 7 just because something better may be around the corner. Except for the more rugged “Explorer Edition,” we’re not expecting anything revolutionary from this year’s Apple Watch lineup. However, even if the Series 8 surprises us, the Series 7 is an excellent Apple Watch that will serve you well for years to come.

[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]

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