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Is Apple about to kill the Apple ‘Watch’?
If the rumours are true regarding the design of the Apple Watch series 7, and they almost certainly are, I am somewhat concerned.
It is of course a small computer, but it is perhaps more importantly a watch and with that comes the need to hide the technology as possible. For some viewing the mechanical movement in a watch is a bonus, but circuit boards are not movements and we do not want to see them.
In light of that most manufacturers try to make their smartwatches look like watches and they go for a round design with traditional style straps. Apple bucked that trend with a square watch (far from unheard of in traditional watchmaking) and a brilliant strap changing system.
To take that idea further and make the display completely flat and to do the same with the case sides is perhaps a step too far? If the corners were not curved it would be a disaster of a device to attach to yourself, but looking at the images we have so far I am still leaning towards not liking it.
It feels similar to the iPhone 12 and newer iPads in form and this is not a good thing. Of course it still looks like a watch, but it also looks like a computer more than ever before and that is a retrograde step in my view.
While it is possible that this will become the template for future wrist-based products and a more modern look it could also push a few people away. The stainless steel and titanium models are possibly too expensive for what they are and we have the Hermès edition at the luxury end. There are expensive leather straps and very expensive metal bracelets and all of this is done with an eye on fashion, elegance and making the product available to as many people as possible.
Young and older women wear the Apple Watch, young and older men do the same, and at times it appears that almost everyone you see has one on their wrist. When you make the design so utilitarian you run the risk of making it feel less personal, less like a watch and more like a slab of technology.
At that point does it deserve to be called a watch?