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There’s an old saying that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and while that may not always be true, it’s not slowing down Chinese manufacturers in their rush to copy the much-rumoured new Apple Watch Series 7 design.
It’s actually shaping up to be a pretty exciting year for Apple Watch fans, as the wearable is about to get shaken up for the first time in years, adopting a new flat-edged design that follows the aesthetic of the iPhone 12 and iPad Pro.
Technically speaking, this will be the only major redesign the Apple Watch has seen since it originally launched in 2015. Although the Apple Watch grew in size with the 2018 Series 4, the overall style remained the same as its predecessors.
Recently, however, a leaked set of CAD images purporting to be of the new Apple Watch Series 7 has caused quite a stir, and Chinese companies are already trying to get ahead of the game by making cheap knockoffs reflecting the changes.
While some are undoubtedly hoping to dupe unsuspecting buyers into opting for a “discounted Apple Watch,” most are likely just trying to capitalize on the brand recognition, in much the same way they’ve been emulating the AirPods design for years.
On the upside, however, these new Apple Watch “clones” give us an interesting glimpse into what the real Apple Watch Series 7 may look like.
Images shared by Majin Bu on Twitter show a wide assortment of colours and finishes that look very much like all the renders we’ve been seeing of the upcoming Apple Watch Series 7.
According to Majin Bu, they’ve replicated both the aluminum and the stainless-steel versions, in multiple colours. While rumours suggest that Apple will offer the real Series 7 in a few new colours to match its existing AirPods Max and iPad Air finishes, it’s fair to say that these clones don’t reflect the real finishes.
In fact, while it’s interesting to get a more tangible idea of what the Apple Watch Series 7 will look like, it’s safe to say that it’s going to look much better than these relatively cheap knock-offs, many of which are selling for as little as $60.
Most significantly, these have clearly been produced both quickly and cheaply based on the leaked CAD drawings that are making the rounds, and thus lack the attention to detail that Apple normally puts into its products.
For example, the displays look particularly clunky, like a piece of glass sitting above the casing, rather than fitting in naturally like the current Apple Watch models.
Considering the design of the iPhone 12 and iPad Pro, we expect the actual Apple Watch Series 7 will blend the screen into the case in a much more elegant way, particularly since it’s expected to feature a new lamination technique that will make the display thinner to make it seem like it’s sitting on top of the glass, rather than hiding behind it.
Along the same lines, the Digital Crown sticks out like a sore thumb, with a larger gap between the dial and the side of the case than we’d normally expect. While the curved edges of the current Apple Watch design allows the Digital Crown to blend in more naturally, we still imagine that the real Series 7 will have a more streamlined look for this.
Although Apple unveiled the Apple Watch separately from the iPhone during last year’s release cycle, that was undoubtedly a result of the iPhone 12 being delayed into October in the midst of supply chain challenges from the global health pandemic.
This year, we expect Apple to unveil the Apple Watch Series 7 at its upcoming September iPhone launch event, as it’s done in every other year in the past. This means we aren’t going to have to wait too much longer before we can feast our eyes on the real thing.