Apple Watch Series 7 Orders Start This Friday, and a Bonus Spitball Theory About the Much-Rumored Flat-Sided Design

Apple Newsroom:

Apple today announced Apple Watch Series 7, featuring the largest and most advanced Apple Watch display ever — and a reengineered Always-On Retina display with significantly more screen area and thinner borders — will be available to order beginning Friday, October 8, at 5 a.m. PDT and available in stores starting Friday, October 15.

So the Series 7 watches are only shipping three weeks after the iPhones 13. Not bad, but let’s see how supply-constrained they are.

While I’m writing about Apple Watch, let me put on the record my theory about the flat-sides industrial design that a slew of rumor guys claimed was coming for Series 7, but in fact, did not. (I put forth this theory on the latest episode of The Talk Show, with guest Jason Snell.)

My guess is that the flat-sided design is real, and it’s making its way through Apple’s supply chain, which is how it leaked. But it clearly was never intended for Series 7 — Series 7 is an altogether different new industrial design. So my theory is that the flat-sided design is for the next-generation Apple Watch SE. The current SE debuted a year ago, alongside the Apple Watch Series 6, so I wouldn’t expect a second-generation SE until, say, April of next year at the earliest, but perhaps more likely a year from now, alongside the Series 8 models.

The problem, from a product marketing perspective, with the existing Apple Watch SE is that it looks exactly like a Series 6. With the iPhones, the SE models always look older — the original SE looked like an iPhone 5/5S (when the new models had moved to the bigger iPhone 6/7/8 sizes), and the second-gen SE looks like an iPhone 6/7/8 (while the new models are now all derived from the iPhone X design).

There is no “old” industrial design for Apple Watch SE to follow that is distinguishable at a mere glance as a lower-cost budget model. The flat-sided look would do that. I’m not saying the flat-sided design would look bad, per se, but I am convinced that — if it ever does ship — it will look more utilitarian. It’s not a premium design. It’s plain.

Monday, 4 October 2021