The Apple Watch Series 10 Will Get a Bigger Screen But Not Much Else

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If you’ve been hoping this year’s so-called “Apple Watch X” would be a big tenth-anniversary spectacular, you may want to adjust your expectations as the latest reports suggest we’re in for another iterative update.

Late last month, a new set of CAD renders quashed hopes that this year’s Apple Watch would adopt a significant new design. They revealed the same familiar rounded edges and band attachment system, with only a larger screen to distinguish it from the Apple Watch Series 9.

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While leaked renders should always be taken with a dose of salt, these may be pretty accurate. Over the weekend, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman also weighed in, telling us not to expect too many design changes.

That’s something of a reversal, considering that it was Gurman who declared last year that the “Apple Watch X” would be “the biggest overhaul yet.” While he didn’t go into too many details, the tone of the prediction certainly sounded like it would have more than a larger screen, and one of the predictions was a new magnetic band attachment system.

In his most recent Power On newsletter, Gurman remains enthusiastic about this year’s model, suggesting that Apple still intends to use it to mark the tenth anniversary of the wearable. Still, it won’t be the kind of sea change we saw with the iPhone X.

Now the Apple Watch is nearing its 10th birthday, and the company has a chance to mark the occasion. This fall, Apple is planning some notable changes to its original smartwatch line — the “Series” models — including larger displays. The device also will be thinner, though the design itself is unlikely to look much different.Mark Gurman

That’s not to say that the larger screens won’t be significant. As we saw from last month’s renders, the display of the larger Apple Watch will likely match the size of the Apple Watch Ultra. However, it won’t be quite as bulky since there’s no need to make room for the rugged titanium casing or raised edges; instead, we’ll likely see the screen blend into the size much like it has since the Apple Watch Series 7 adopted the more contoured display.

Meanwhile, Gurman says this year’s new “Apple Watch Ultra 3” won’t see any significant design changes. There’s not even any mention of the dark titanium finish that was rumored but never came to the Apple Watch Ultra 2.

Under the Hood

Wonderlust Apple Watch Series 9 S9 Chip 1

Unsurprisingly, the Apple Watch Series 10 and Apple Watch Ultra 3 will both get a new chip — likely an S10. However, while Gurman says that this “could lay the groundwork for some AI enhancements down the road,” don’t expect Apple Intelligence to come to this year’s Apple Watch, and right now, Apple has “no plans to bring the full initiative to the watch.”

Along the same lines, we should temper our expectations for new health sensors, as Gurman says that Apple’s efforts in this area haven’t been going well. Plans to add high blood pressure and sleep apnea sensors to this year’s models may not come to fruition, as sources tell Gurman that “Apple has run into some serious snags.”

As with past attempts, the blood pressure monitoring hasn’t been reliable. Apple was already said to have scaled back its ambitions in this area, moving away from trying to build an accurate blood pressure monitor to a simpler one that can establish a baseline and detect unusually high blood pressure, similar to how the temperature sensor works now. Unfortunately, it seems it’s had trouble getting even this working to a level where it would be useful, and the thinner design of the Apple Watch Series 10 may have exacerbated the problem.

Apple is reportedly facing a different obstacle with its proposed sleep apnea feature due to the legal challenges around the blood oxygen technology required to make it work. However, from what Gurman says, it sounds like this is strictly a legal obstacle that it might be able to overcome by September. It could also announce the feature with a delayed release or take the unusual step of only releasing it outside the United States, where it’s still allowed to sell Apple Watches with fully functioning blood oxygen sensors.

The only other significant health sensor, blood glucose monitoring, remains a moonshot project that we won’t see anytime soon. Apple has already been hard at it for well over a decade, and while it’s reportedly made some significant progress, it’s still years away from a working solution.

With this year’s Apple Watch Series 10 not getting any significant changes, it’s also possible Apple might not make a big deal out of the tenth anniversary. Gurman suggests it could wait until next year since the first Apple Watch didn’t go on sale until 2015.

However, Apple could also choose to mark the occasion more quietly in either case; as much as Gurman says Apple “likes to commemorate product anniversaries when it can,” we really only have the iPhone X as an example, and that was a celebration of Apple’s number one flagship product — a device that, as Tim Cook said at the time, “revolutionized the decade of technology and changed the world in the process.”

[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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