Photo: Apple
Photo: Apple

Release date Apple Watch 7

If we had to guess the Apple Watch 7 release date, we'd pinpoint mid-September 2021. For the last few years, without fail, Apple has debuted a new smartwatch via a Tuesday keynote in the Fall, with availability starting Friday of that week or the next.

This year, Apple split the next-gen Apple Watch and iPhone events for the first time. The Apple Watch 6 and Apple Watch SE debuted alongside a new iPad Air (2020), while the iPhone 12 lineup received a standalone reveal (all virtual, of course.)

It's possible that Apple will recombine its fall hardware announcements if a live, in-person keynote can happen in 2021.

Update Price Apple Watch 7

As for what it will cost, there’s no news there, but Apple has been fairly consistent with pricing too. The Apple Watch 6 starts at $399 / £379 / AU$599, and while there has been some fluctuation in pricing across the last few models, they’re all in the same ballpark, so we’d expect the Apple Watch 7 will cost around that much too.

What we want to see

While we can make educated guesses about the Apple Watch 7 release date and price, the current Apple Watch 7 rumors are less precise. We're too far away from launch for credible leaks to surface, but for now we can highlight some features we'd like to see.

Better battery life: Patently Apple has found evidence of Apple researching a way to increase the battery life of its wearables. The "Battery Watch Band" could improve battery capacity without having to increase the size of the Watch itself.

We're accustomed to the 18-24 hour stamina of current models, but we'd welcome an Apple Watch that can last longer between charges.

Blood pressure monitoring: There are a few reasons why blood pressure monitoring could come to Apple Watch next year. First, it's a viable candidate for the company's informally annual health feature upgrade. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 has a sensor for blood pressure monitoring, so there's already a template that Apple can follow.

But it seems the company has a proprietary approach in mind. A patent filing recently won by Apple gives it a leg up in health tracking with built-in blood pressure monitoring that incorporates correction factors. For comparison, Samsung's blood pressure monitoring requires monthly calibration, which can be cumbersome.

Mental health tools: When the Fitbit Sense unveiled a slew of stress management tools, we hoped Apple would follow up with similar features for Apple Watch 6. They didn't come to fruition.

Apple may hold a steady lead in life-saving features, but mental health tools are life-saving in their own right. Luckily, two top leakers confirmed Apple is working on on way for your smartwatch to warn you about panic attacks and heightened stress.

MicroLED display: Apple Watch 7 could be ready to make the switch from an OLED display to a microLED screen, enabling a slimmer and more power-efficient Apple Watch. MicroLED displays offer better brightness and don't suffer from the luminance decay problems of traditional OLED panels.

In 2018 Bloomberg reported that the company is working out of a nondescript building in California to produce MicroLED displays. They didn't materialize for Apple Watch 6, but perhaps 2021's Apple Watch will get the new display treatment.

Features and Leaks Apple Watch 7

There aren’t many Apple Watch 7 leaks yet but we have heard a few things. For one, Tim Cook himself said during an appearance on the Outside podcast that “there’s a ton of innovation left to go in there” and "We are in the early innings… think about the amount of sensors in your car. And arguably, your body is much more important than your car.”

So while that's all very vague, the mention of the body suggests a continued focus on health and fitness features on future Apple Watches.

That's in line with claims from Ming-Chi Kuo, who predicted (in a research note seen by MacRumors) that the "new Apple Watch shipment's momentum in 2021 will benefit from innovative health management functions and improved form factor design."

Image credit: Patently Apple/USPTO/Apple
Image credit: Patently Apple/USPTO/Apple

So from that it sounds like the Apple Watch 7 might have both new health features and a new design. And it could be a big design change, as this followed a slightly earlier research note (seen by 9to5Mac) in which Kuo said there would be a “significant form factor design change.”

Though he said that this would arrive on Apple Watch models in the second half of 2021 “at the earliest”, so it’s possible that we won’t see this until a later model.

One such health feature could be a glucometer, used to measure blood sugar levels. A report suggests the Apple Watch 7 could be one of several 2021 smartwatches to get this feature. It'd be useful for diabetics in particular, who need to keep a constant eye on their blood sugar, but other people with various other conditions could find it useful too.

The Apple Watch 7 strap could also be in for a big change, as a patent details a strap with a battery embedded within it, which can therefore increase the battery life of the Apple Watch. However, ideas in patents often don’t get used, so don’t count on seeing this.

We’ve also seen a patent showing the possibility of a Touch ID fingerprint scanner being added to a future Apple Watch. In fact, multiple patents have now talked about this, with another describing a Touch ID scanner built into the home button. Another patent detailed in that same link talks about an under-display camera that's invisible when it's not in use.

Also in the territory of patents, it seems Apple is exploring ways of applying a matte black finish to the anodized metal of its smartphones and watches, so it’s possible this will be a new color offered by the Apple Watch 7. Again though, we wouldn’t hold our breath about seeing any of these patents become reality.

The one we'd say is most likely though is the Touch ID scanner, as that shouldn't be too hard for Apple to incorporate, and could be quite useful.

Another patent we've seen outlines how Apple could use the smartwatch battery as the haptic engine, giving vibrating feedback when the screen is touched. That would mean the standard haptic engine could be removed, the battery itself could be bigger, and... we could maybe get some more battery life?

Finally, there have been various whispers that Apple is looking to switch from OLED screens on its devices to micro-LED ones. Some but not all of these reports mention the Apple Watch as a possible candidate.

Micro-LED has the potential to both improve image quality and reduce battery consumption, so it would be a desirable change. However, a DigiTimes report suggests this change is still years away.

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Apple Watch 7 outlook

Again, it's too early to make any judgements about the upcoming Apple Watch 7. We're just as excited as you to learn what Apple has up its sleeve for its next-generation wearable.

We hope Apple ups the ante. The competition is more convincing than ever: the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 and Fitbit Sense are just a few of the recent Apple Watch alternatives worth your consideration. Our smartwatch buying guide can help you asses your needs to determine which smartwatch is right for you.

Bookmark this page for the latest Apple Watch 7 updates. We'll be tracking rumors and leaks until the smartwatch is revealed.