Apple Watch Series 8: design redux or form factor rerun?

Apple Watch Series 8: design redux or form factor rerun?

Remember the big Apple Watch redesign rumors that led to Series 7? Several sources with a solid track record for hardware rumors expected a flat-faced 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 the 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 retained its size and display shape for three generations:

  • Apple Watch Series 0, 1 & 2 and 3 retained the original design
  • Apple Watch Series 4, 5 and 6 had the first screen size and shape changes
  • Apple Watch Series 7 has followed this ticking trend with screen and shape adjustments

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

But past trends don't always match Apple's future plans - I also have enough faith in Ming-Chi Kuo and Mark Gurman that I can't completely dismiss the square design of the Apple Watch.

John Gruber pitched the theory on his podcast that the Apple Watch squared 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 higher-end Apple Watch.

There might be something to this, but the Series 7 already has a modified display size and case shape for the Apple Watch SE. It also seems to me that a new case design would be used for a model that was supposed to be the affordable option - unless Apple thinks it's ugly?

Another theory rejected by my podcast co-host Benjamin Mayo is that the square design is meant for the rumored rugged Apple Watch. Until future reports paint a clearer picture, this is an idea I can support.

This would mean that the alternative design is being developed for a new watch and not for a model built for the price. The main line of Apple Watch could continue to progress with improvements to the highly recognizable original design. The square shape also has a more industrial (almost Cybertruck-esque) look that signals rugged and unpolished.

What do you think? Should the flat-sided Apple Watch become the main Series 8 or be kept for the supposed rugged version? Could the design be used for an Apple Watch SE 2 or could it be doomed to disappear altogether? Let us know your thoughts!

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