Apple Watch Series 8: Redesign redux or form factor re-run?

Apple Watch Series 8: Redesign redux or form factor re-run?

January 7, 2022 0 By Zac Hall


Apple Watch Series 8: Redesign redux or form factor re-run?


Remember the big Apple Watch redesign rumors leading up to the Series 7? Multiple sources with solid track records for hardware rumors expected a flat-sided Apple Watch. Instead, the Series 7 looked more like a Series 6 than an iPhone 12 or 13. So were those reports a year too early or should we expect no design changes for Apple Watch Series 8? We have thoughts…

If I had to put money on it, I would err on the side of caution and say we should expect the Series 7 design to last another two years. Each Apple Watch has maintained its display size and shape for three generations:

Apple Watch Series 0, 1 & 2, and 3 maintained the original design
Apple Watch Series 4, 5, and 6 had the first screen size and shape changes
Apple Watch Series 7 followed this tick-tock-tock trend with screen and shape tweaks

Sticking to this trend would mean that the Series 10 (or X à la iPhone X) would be the next new design for the Apple Watch.

But past trends don’t always equate to future plans for Apple – I also have enough faith in Ming-Chi Kuo and Mark Gurman that I can’t dismiss the boxy Apple Watch design entirely.

John Gruber has floated the theory on his podcast that the squared-off Apple Watch will be used for the second-generation Apple Watch SE. His thinking is that Apple would like the SE to be visually different from the more premium flagship Apple Watch.

Perhaps there’s something to that, but Series 7 already has a tweaked display size and case shape to the Apple Watch SE. It also seems off to me that a new case design would be used for a model meant to be the affordable option — unless Apple thinks it’s ugly?

Another theory thrown out by my podcast co-host Benjamin Mayo is that the boxy design is intended for the rumored rugged Apple Watch. Pending future reports that paint a clearer picture, this is a thought I can get behind.

It would mean that the alternative design is developed for a new watch and not a model built for price. The main Apple Watch line could continue to push forward with improvements to the very recognizable original design. The boxy shape also has a more industrial look to it (almost Cybertruck-esque) that signals rugged and not polished.

What do you think? Should the flat-sided Apple Watch become the main Series 8 or saved for the rumored rugged version? Might the design be used for an Apple Watch SE 2 or could it be destined to disappear entirely? Let us know your thoughts!

Skip Series 9 and do Series 8 and Series X this year please

— Zac Hall (@apollozac) January 7, 2022

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About the Author

Zac Hall

Zac covers Apple news, hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour podcast, and created

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