The ‘Apple Watch X’ May Not Get the Big Redesign We Thought

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This may seem like a familiar refrain for those who lived through the Apple Watch Series 7 rumor debacle, but this year’s Apple Watch Series 10 (aka, the so-called “Apple Watch X”) may be far less exciting than some earlier reports suggested.

Last summer, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman predicted some big changes for the 2024 Apple Watch to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Apple’s wearable. While some of that was speculation, such as the “Apple Watch X” name, sources claimed it would be “the biggest overhaul yet,” with a thinner design and a new magnetic attachment system for Apple Watch bands.

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Some of that sounded pretty reasonable, considering that the iPhone X ushered in a whole new era on the tenth anniversary of Apple’s smartphone. Whether that timing was intentional or merely coincidental remains a subject of much debate, as Apple isn’t a particularly sentimental company for stuff like this. It tends to release things when they’re ready, so the big redesign landing on the iPhone’s tenth anniversary was likely more fortuitous than deliberate.

Now it’s time for this year’s Apple Watch to celebrate ten years of life as a product family, although the “X” would be more fitting here since it’s expected to be the “Series 10” if nothing else.

What the Apple Watch Series 10 Will Look Like

Be that as it may, the revolutionary new design that’s been bandied about may be another round of wishful thinking. A new series of CAD renders unearthed by the folks at 91mobiles shows a design remarkably similar to the Apple Watch we already know and love, with only one significant improvement.

The renders, which came from “industry insiders,” show the same rounded edges and band attachment system used on current models. However, they also reveal an Apple Watch with a two-inch display — a screen slightly larger than the one on today’s Apple Watch Ultra.

Despite this, the Apple Watch Series 10 won’t grow quite as large as the Apple Watch Ultra. The Apple Watch Ultra has a rugged titanium casing with a raised frame around the screen that adds extra bulk. The Series 10 won’t need any of that and will likely feature the same rounded-edged screen that blends into the side of the casing that was first introduced with the Apple Watch Series 7.

Perhaps ironically, that’s the last model we heard was supposed to get a major redesign. Months of rumors leading up to Apple’s September 2021 event suggesting flattened edges akin to the iPhone and a revolutionary new screen design. That last part came true, but not in the way that most folks thought.

Nobody has ever been quite sure how the rumor mill got it so wrong, and some leakers even tried to claim Apple switched back to the old design at the last minute, but that’s extremely unlikely considering that Apple’s supply chain gets ramped up months in advance and can’t turn on a dime.

It seems that leakers are being a bit more circumspect this time around. The information we’ve heard about a more significant redesign is close to a year old, so there may be a germ of truth here. It’s possible Apple was scoping out new band attachment systems and other new designs last summer and maybe even considering a design overhaul. However, these latest renders seem to contradict that. A two-inch display may be significant, but it’s far from an overhaul of the design.

Still, those reports may be partially accurate. Gurman predicted a thinner Apple Watch Series 10, which analyst Ming-Chi Kuo corroborated last week, along with the larger screen we now see in these renders.

However, Kuo predicted the larger Apple Watch Series 10 would grow from the current 45mm size to 49mm, while the smaller version would fill in the 45mm bracket. The renders shared by 91mobiles suggest a more modest increase with a chassis that measures “roughly 46 x 39.7 x 11.6mm.” Apple’s Watch sizes are always measured by height rather than screen size, making this render a “46mm” model.

There’s also no evidence of the new magnetic band attachment system here, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. One of the best parts of the Apple Watch is the universal compatibility of watch bands; a strap purchased for the original Apple Watch in 2014 can still be used with a 2023 model of the corresponding size. Changing the system on the Apple Watch Series 10 would break that backward compatibility, forcing folks to buy new watch bands and companies to retool to produce them.

[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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