“Despite early signs of slower consumer tech spending, purchases of wearable devices remained strong during the quarter as consumers once again ventured outdoors with the urge to track their health and activity,” the IDC said.
Apple Watches have primarily focused on health tech features. The pandemic locked fitness buffs away from their usual outdoor routines, but now that restrictions have largely been lifted, Apple is aiming to gain more market share by offering a revamped Watch.
Here are seven things you need to know about Watch Series 7.
From humble beginnings of 38mm and 42mm, Apple Watches’ dials have grown to 41mm and 45mm. Compared with the most recent upgrades of 40mm and 44mm, the new versions don’t seem to, pound for pound, make that much of a difference, especially if you put Series 6 and Series 7 side by side. But the real deal is in the screen: the new watches are 20 per cent bigger than Series 6 and a whopping 50 per cent larger than Series 3, thanks to borders that are now 40 per cent smaller.
Those changes result in bigger on-screen content; upon glancing at the passcode screen, you’ll immediately notice the big difference, and punching in text or numbers won’t be that much of a problem. This had previously dogged the Apple Watch – some found content could be too small, especially for those with big fingers. You can now adjust the text size, and the latest watch is also 70 per cent brighter than its predecessor, making the display more comfortable to glance at even under bright sunlight.
There are reports that Apple may release a more rugged version of the Apple Watch, so Series 7 could be a precursor to it.
A QWERTY keyboard
What do you do when you have a bigger display on your wrist? Slap in a full keyboard. For the first time, a Qwerty keyboard will be on Series 7. It also features QuickPath, which lets you spell out text by sliding your finger without lifting the iPhone.
This particular feature will come in handy in situations when it’s too noisy to dictate or you don’t want others to hear what you’re saying. The disadvantage here is that you are limited to one finger and the keys may be too small for some – unless you remove your Watch and use your thumbs.
Series 7’s battery would still last as long as Series 6 with “all day” battery life, meaning you’d probably have about 15 to 20 per cent left after a day with it.
Apple also boosted its charging speed, with Series 7 charging 33 per cent more quickly than its predecessor. The company claims it takes a mere 45 minutes for Series 7 to zip from zero to 80 per cent, and eight minutes of charging will be good enough for a night’s sleep tracking. Its magnetic charger is now equipped with USB-C, replacing the traditional Lightning connector.
We did a side-by-side Series 6 and Series 7 charging marathon and, so far, the latter almost lives up to its billing. It went up to 77 per cent in 45 minutes, and it was fully charged 15 minutes sooner than Series 6. Users have long clamoured for longer battery life on the Apple Watch, and while that’s still pending, Apple hasn’t done this yet. Maybe the decision to speed up charging is a consolation, because you can charge in spurts during the day and won’t have to worry about whether to plug it in while you sleep.
Durability on steroids
As with any new Apple Watch (or for practically any gadget, for that matter), Series 7 is the most durable by far. Its “robust geometry” makes it thicker and thus it should be stronger, complemented by what Apple says is its most crack-resistant front crystal. That crystal now has a flat base, which offers further reinforcement to amp up its resilience game.
Series 7 is also the first in the line-up to be certified IP6X, which is the highest dust-resistance rating. It’s still swim-proof, rated WR50 for 50-metre water resistance so you can wear it in the shower, pool or sea. We highly recommend, however, to limit its use in the last location, because saltwater can really be a troublemaker with circuit boards.
Exclusive watch faces
Thanks to the larger screen, Apple was able to experiment with and use two exclusive watch faces to Series 7. Contour is a mid-century modern-style design, with the numbers on the dial bleeding to the edge of the display. Upon raising your wrist, the numbers grow and animate, just like the magnifying effect on macOS’ dock. Modular Duo, meanwhile, is the first and only watch face to accommodate two large, data-rich centre complications, such as heart rate, activity, world time or weather.
A new but non-exclusive, yet very useful, face is world time, which lets you track all time zones at once. Sun and moon icons reflect sunrise and sunset where you are, while the light and dark zones represent day and night moving around Earth. It can be overwhelming at first glance, but you’ll get the hang of it. Bigger screens would seem to favour health buffs, according to a Research Gate study on watch faces.
New aluminium builds
Midnight, starlight, green, blue and red – those are the new exclusive aluminium colours on Series 7, aside from the mainstays silver, gold, graphite, space black and titanium. As mentioned earlier, they’re more durable and project a different shade when viewed from afar and up close.
Prices remain the same
Getting more for the same price tag should always mean something. Series 7 prices are similar to those of Series 6, with the GPS and LTE versions of the 41mm option at Dh1,599 and Dh1,999, respectively, while the 45mm variant will fetch Dh1,719 and Dh2,119.
Apple, in recent years, has used this game plan across new lines of its products, or at the very least, with a negligible difference. Not bad for a strategy once described as “insanely smart”.