Apple Watch release cycle: Fancy new features vs. incremental improvements

Michael Simon, writing for Macworld about the new Apple Watch Series 7:

The Apple Watch Series 7 might spur a few Series 6 and Series 5 upgraders with its larger display, but most of the people who buy one will be first-timers and older-model users. It’s the first time the Apple Watch hasn’t delivered a major feature in an annual refresh:

  • Series 2: GPS, 50-meter water resistance
  • Series 3: Altimeter, LTE
  • Series 4: ECG, fall detection
  • Series 5: Always-on display, compass
  • Series 6: Sp02 Blood-oxygen sensor

But the Series 7 has a bit more screen, a couple of new colors, and faster charging. Those aren’t bad upgrades, mind you, but it’s definitely the least impressive new Apple Watch since it launched in 2015.

Having a 20% bigger display inside the same casing, on top of fast-charging (which means the watch doesn’t have to be charged overnight and can be used for sleep tracking more consistently and more comfortably) appears, to me, as a much more interesting upgrade than the Series 6’s blood-oxygen sensor.

Sure, these are not “new features” per se, and it may be less “interesting” to write about it in a news article, I get it, but they are big and important improvements over existing features: I think both of these upgrades will have a bigger impact on everyday users than an altimeter or a compass. After all, isn’t improving the user experience what Apple is all about?

With the new and improved display fitting in more or less the same-size casing, which is arguably impressive hardware-wise, and fast-charging — among other things — I truly believe Apple delivered plenty in terms of user experience with the Series 7, probably more than they did last year. Too bad they shamelessly sell the Series 6 at the same price right next to the newest model, available “later this fall.” Maybe that’s what Apple is all about.

Published on 19 Sep 2021Reply by email