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By all reports, the Apple Watch Series 9 isn’t expected to feature a design that’s visibly different from the current Series 8. However, Apple may be partially making up for that by releasing a unique new Apple Watch band to go along with it.
A new post by rare Apple device collector and enthusiast Kosutami on the social media service formerly known as Twitter claims that Apple will release a new Apple Watch band “with weaved fabric materials and magnetic buckle.” The post suggests a release later this year but also says it’s coming with the new watch, so it won’t likely be too much later.
The photo provided in the post is a concept only, but Kosutami likens it to the current Modern Buckle design that’s been around since the first Apple Watch was released in 2015.
According to MacRumors, Kosutami believes the new magnetic buckle will be designed for the Apple Watch Series 9. However, whether it will be available in both of the standard 41mm and 45mm sizes is unclear. From the beginning, the Modern Buckle has always been one of the rare watch bands that Apple sells only for the smaller 38/40/41mm Apple Watch models.
Despite the comparison to the Modern Buckle, the new magnetic band is expected to retail for about half the price at $99. That’s likely because it will be made from a woven fabric material rather than Granada leather from “a small French tannery.”
However, assuming that a 45mm version is available, it will also work with the larger and more rugged Apple Watch Ultra, which can handle all of the “large” size straps — the Series 0–3 42mm, Series 4–6 44mm, and Series 7 and 8 45mm bands.
However, many of these bands tend to look a bit out of place on the Apple Watch Ultra since it’s a behemoth compared to the rest of the family. To put that in perspective, the Apple Watch Series 8 is only 1.7mm wider than the original 2015 Apple Watch. However, the Apple Watch Ultra is a more significant 6mm wider than the Series 8.
While the Apple Watch Series 9 will likely be visually indistinguishable from its predecessor, it’s expected to pack in a powerful new chip based on Apple’s A15. This will probably be dubbed the S9, but unlike prior years where Apple changed little more than the number, this year’s Series 9 could boast some actual performance improvements.
That’s a good thing since it sounds like little else will be changing from the Series 8 other than possibly a new pink color option. While Apple is still hard at work on more advanced health sensors, they’re years away from being ready, so a faster chip may be the only difference under the hood.
It’s watchOS 10 where most of the magic is expected to happen this year, and you won’t need to buy a new Apple Watch to take advantage of that; any Apple Watch currently capable of running watchOS 9 can be updated to watchOS 10 when it lands next month, and there’s no indication the faster S9 chip will be necessary for any watchOS 10 features that we know about now. However, Apple may be saving one or two surprises for when it unveils the new Apple Watch Series 9.
Apple is also expected to release a second-generation Apple Watch Ultra, suggesting the more rugged model will be on a similar annual update cycle. That makes sense, as Apple isn’t about to let its premium wearable get eclipsed by the standard model’s new S9 chip. Still, other than the potential addition of a dark titanium finish, it’s going to be another minor refresh, not the microLED version we’ve been hearing rumors about. That’s likely coming eventually, but don’t expect it this year.
[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.]