Our Apple Watcher
Apple has officially unveiled the Apple Watch Series 7 with new screen tech, a tweaked design and new rugged credentials.
Announced at its California Streaming event, the Series 7 didn't bring wholesale feature changes, and feels like an iterative update to the Series 6.
There's quite a few nuanced changes to run through and many unanswered questions – so read on as we attempt to make sense of the Apple Watch Series 7.
When will the Series 7 be released?
Apple has announced the release date of the Series 7 – with pre-orders set to open on 8 October 2021.
And the watch will start shipping from 15 October, when it will also available to buy in Apple Stores.
At the launch event back in September the company would only confirm that the smartwatch would be available ‘later this Fall.’
How much is the Apple Watch Series 7?
In terms of pricing, the Watch Series 7 will start at , so sticks at the same pricing as the Series 6 launch price.
The Series 3 remains at and the Watch SE at .
Case size and screen changes
The larger Series 7 screen allows for text input via a keyboard
On the design front, the Apple Watch Series 7 grows to 41mm and 45mm sizes – the first design change since the Series 4. However, unlike that change, Apple hasn't altered the shape of the lugs, so the 40mm and 44mm band sizes will still fit.
Apple has reduced the space around the display to offer 20% more screen estate than the Series 6. That also equates to 50% more than the Apple Watch Series 3, which remains on sale.
Apple says the Series 7's new display is 70% brighter than its predecessor, and is able to fit in 50% more text, to make it better suited to read emails and long messages.
With that extra screen space, Apple has redesigned the watchOS interface with larger buttons on apps and has introduced a full keyboard mode and predictive text.
There are new exclusive watch faces for Series 7, such as a redesigned Modular face, which can host richer complications using the extra space.
Contrary to the rumor mill suggesting that Apple would introduce a flatter case design to match the design approach it had taken on its iPhones, Apple instead decided to offer a largely same case look with softer, more rounded corners.
Apple has talked up the improved durability of the Series 7 as it features crack resistant crystal on the display. That means it should withstand bumps and scrapes, which compliment the new fall detection during cycling.
The company has also upped the rugged stakes, with an IP6X certification for dust resistance to go with the existing WR50 water resistant rating.
New case colors
In terms of Apple Watch Series 7 model options, there's five new aluminium case colors and there's new Nike and Hermès editions of the Series 7. The aluminum colors are shown above and from L-R are:
The Apple Watch Series 3 and the Watch SE will continue to be available, so there's no Watch SE 2 for now.
Features-wise, it seems we can expect more of the same that we got on the Series 6. That means you'll still be able to monitor blood oxygen, take ECG readings and get access to all the same fitness tracking and sport watch-style modes and metrics.
The Watch Series 7 will of course run on watchOS and will run on watchOS 8 out of the box.
The latest major update to Apple's smartwatch operating system was announced at its WWDC conference back in July this year introducing features such as Portrait watch faces and the new Mindfulness app.
Apple also revealed that it's adding better support for cycling tracking including a new fall detection mode that's designed for when you fall off your bike.
What's the Apple Watch Series 7 battery life?
Another big rumor for the new Apple Watch was that it would see a boost in battery life, but that sadly wasn't the case.
Apple still touts the same 18 hour battery life as it has for every generation of its Watch.
It has added some fast charging capability though, claiming it can charge 33% faster than the Series 6 and can go from 0-80% in 45 minutes of charging.
For those who care about sleep tracking, the Series 7 can offer 8 hours of monitoring that bed time from just 8 minutes of charging too.
Does the Series 7 use a new processor?
The tech specs of the Series 7 are unconfirmed by Apple, which kept some details close to its chest. We don't know for sure if the Series 7 debuts an S7 chip, but there are rumors that it's retained the same silicon as the Series 6.
Likewise, we're unsure of storage, RAM or other hardware.
Is the Apple Watch Series 7 worth it?
Overall though, it's not the biggest Apple Watch update. We didn't get any groundbreaking new health sensors or bigger battery life, so maybe Apple is saving that for the Watch Series 8 next year.
It's important to remember that the Series 6 has been replaced by the Series 7 at the same price – so you're getting a better display, fresh new design and all the same features for the same price.
So our advice remains unchanged. The Series 7 is the best Apple Watch – and still the best smartwatch out there for iPhone users, with its mix of top-end health features, Apple Pay and sports tracking.
But if you want to save some cash and aren't bothered by the ECG and always-on display, the Apple Watch SE is a good way to save money. We'd avoid the boxy, dated Series 3.
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