Should you wait for the Apple Watch Series 7?

One of the big rumors that flared up before Apple’s “California Streaming” iPhone announcing event about the Apple Watch Series 7 ended up roaring once the new smartwatch was unveiled. Speculation has been that Apple would carry out the most significant overhaul of its smartwatch ever, aligning its design with that of the iPhone 12 and 13, namely flat sides and a more square appearance with a larger screen and smaller bezels. We’ve got the bigger screen and slimmer bezels, but the Apple Watch Series 7 still looks much like its predecessors at first glance.

The biggest change to the Series 7 is indeed physically larger: the display. Apple has increased the screen sizes to 41mm and 45mm, and with a thicker glass top, the screen is stronger and extends further to the edges. The functional benefit is more screen space for larger icons, and Apple says you can do and see more with more on-screen information and new watch faces.

In addition to the screen changes, the Series 7 has a slew of typical year-to-year improvements, such as faster charging, improved durability, new workouts, new colors, and even a full-swipe keyboard to fiddle with a few small letters on these larger screens. But even with all that, the design feels conservative, and not a radical departure from its immediate ancestors. So should you wait for Apple’s estimated “later this fall” time frame for the Apple Watch Series 7, or do today’s Apple Watches offer enough for you?

The colors of the Apple Watch Series 7, including a green that appears faintly black.
Image: Apple

The outgoing 2020 Apple Watch Series 6 is still an impressively capable smartwatch, and we’ve seen significant discounts on it for months. The polarizing red colorway has sometimes dropped to $249, even cheaper than the mid-range $279 Apple Watch SE that doesn’t have an always-on display. At the moment you can buy a Series 6 in a color of your choice from various retailers $319 until $349, which is a significant amount less than the Series 7’s starting price of $399 without having to wait.

Spending less now becomes even more appealing when you consider that the Series 7 may still use last year’s S6 processor. One of the benefits of a new processor is not only the rapid improvements today, but also the durability and reassurance that will come later from a higher performance ceiling.

Please don’t lie and tell me you’re looking forward to typing on this screen.
Image: Apple

The Series 7 certainly has its merits. If you prefer the most peace of mind, or if you lead a lifestyle that really puts a fitness-focused device to the test, then the new IP6X resistance rating for harsher environments and sandy beaches may be tempting. If you value fastest charging, the Series 7 comes with a USB-C magnetic fast charger, which charges 33 percent faster, and even buying one separately won’t drain an earlier-generation watch any faster. The bigger screens are, of course, the biggest change, and if you always prefer something newer, bigger and flashier, be sure to keep an eye out as pre-orders rise.

But this new Apple Watch still looks pretty much like any old Apple Watch, especially at the distances people usually see a watch on someone’s wrist. What matters most to you here might be a very personal decision about technology or fashion accessories, and if a slightly larger screen is all you need, that might be good enough. But if you’re looking for Apple’s most sensible smartwatch, consider skipping the wait and choosing from the more cost-effective options available now.