The Apple Watch Series 6 is a great smartwatch, but let’s be honest, the introduction of an SpO2 monitor and an always-on altimeter weren’t the most exciting upgrades ever – especially when wearables a fraction of the price sport similar blood oxygen monitoring tech.
With the Apple Watch Series 7, however, Apple has given its signature smartwatch a substantial redesign, that includes a curved-edge display, fast charging and more.
When will the Apple Watch Series 7 be released?
After last year’s break from tradition, there was some discussion about whether Apple would bring the Series 7 to market at the same time as the newly-unveiled iPhone 13 range, however, the company’s 14 September ‘California Streaming’ event not only gave us a new Apple Watch and new iPhones but also new iPads as well (including a long-awaited update to the iPad Mini range).
Apple remained schtum on the rumoured production issues that have apparently befallen the Series 7 (according to separate reports from Nikkei and Bloomberg) but the fact that the company only dressed the watch’s unveiling with a general availability window of “later this fall/autumn” suggests that such hearsay may hold water.
Last year’s Apple Watch Series 6 went on sale on 18 September, so it looks as though fans will be waiting beyond a year for its successor to become available for purchase.
If you don’t want to wait for the Apple Watch Series 7 or just see what it’s up against, take a look at our selection of the best smartwatches available right now.
How much does the Apple Watch Series 7 cost?
Alongside an ambiguous launch date, the company also held cards pretty close to its chest when it came to pricing, with US-only figures published during the event.
The Apple Watch Series 7 starts at US$399, which equates to about £290/€340, using direct conversion. As that’s the same US starting price as the Series 6, however, it seems safe to assume that the UK and European pricing will echo their 2020 equivalents once again too: starting at £379 and €429, respectively.
The larger casing size for the Series 7 will likely cost US$429/£409/€459, but we’ll update this article once Apple official reveals international pricing for key markets.
Apple did also mention that those who decide to pick up a new Apple Watch will also get three months of Apple Fitness+ for free, although we don’t yet know which markets this offer is available in outside of the US.
If you’re on the hunt for savings on the Apple Watch, our colleagues at Macworld UK cover the best Apple Watch deals and keep it regularly updated.
What features does the Apple Watch Series 7 offer?
The design appears to be the Series 7’s biggest upgrade, with a new, more heavily rounded casing that means this generation steps up from the Series 6’s 40mm and 44mm sizes to 41mm and 45mm, respectively (it’s also thought to be marginally thinner as well).
If you’re a long-time Apple Watch wearer though, fear not, your existing straps remain compatible with the Series 7.
Joining the existing WR50-rated swim-proofing, the Series 7 is also better protected against dust ingress, with IP6X certification. For a deeper dive, check out our ‘What is an IP rating’ feature, which explains the ins and outs of the Series 7’s new dust-tight design.
The display is almost 20 percent larger too, extending to the edges of the rounded crystal front, which itself is “50 percent thicker” – according to Apple – making it more crack-resistant. The effect means that watch faces now refract along their edges, appearing to flow into the frame of the Series 7, something the Apple Watch’s design always seemed to be leaning towards but now finally achieves.
To help with the effect, the Series 7’s bezels are now just 1.7mm thick – 40 percent thinner than on Series 6, plus that bigger screen now also facilitates a full keyboard, with QuickPath predictive swipe typing, as well as a pair of new watch faces to capitalise on the extra real estate: Contour and Modular Duo.
Always-on watch faces are now 70 percent brighter indoors, which likely speaks to greater power efficiency from the new display, especially as Apple made no mention of a processor upgrade during the 7’s unveiling.
Speaking of power, what Apple described as “a new charging architecture” paired with a new Magnetic Fast Charger USB-C Cable, means Series 7 charges 33 percent faster than its predecessor, despite offering the same 18-hour “all-day” battery life that the Series 6 quotes.
This year’s colours and finishes manifest in aluminium (in Midnight [dark grey], Starlight [silver], green, blue and red), polished stainless steel (in silver, Graphite and gold), and titanium (in Natural and Space Black). As ever, there are also new Nike and Hermes special editions to choose from as well.
Feature-wise, abilities like ECG and blood oxygen monitoring endure, with watchOS 8 bringing the newest functionality to the table. Automatic workout and fall detection for cycling is now part of the equation, as is more accurate calorie tracking for those riding e-bikes.