Apple’s launch of the Apple Watch Series 7 is likely only weeks away and while there could be a few surprises, we know quite a lot about what we are going to see. This is mainly thanks to the Beta versions of Watch OS 8.
I’ve been using Watch OS 8 beta on the series 6 Apple Watch for the last few months and there are some great new features coming. The new portrait face looks great, the sleep app is better and the ability to combine voice dictation with scribbles, edits and emojis makes creating messages from your phone so much easier.
What we don’t know for sure though is the hardware side of things. Yes, we’ve seen rumors of a new larger and squared off display but nothing concrete. And even if those renders are accurate, we know little about what’s under the casing. When Tim Cook talked about the Apple Watch back in January, he talked about things in the lab that would blow our minds. But will we see any of it next month?
While there have been many wish lists published for the Apple Watch, this is mine. And while I don’t think we’ll see 90% of it on the series 7, I truly believe everyone would make the Apple Watch a better product.
1. Touch ID
This one could be a possibility and we’ve certainly heard that Apple has been working on bringing touch ID to the Apple Watch. This wouldn’t even need to be an under-screen fingerprint reader, like the one that is unlikely to make the cut on the iPhone. Like the button on the iPad air or MacBook Pros (and now the iMac keyboard), this could be combined with either the digital crown or the main button. It would save the awkward typing of your passcode every time you put it on.
While Face ID here could also be a conversation and would ultimately be even better, I feel there would be resistance to adding this camera (see below). I’m crossing my fingers for at least touch ID.
2. Glucose monitor
This has been a feature teased for years and I’m sure it is at least in development. This has huge implications for the millions of people with diabetes who need to monitor their blood sugar levels. It can also be used to help monitor the diets of non-diabetics.
The technology has progressed rapidly over the last few years and there are now sensors that can be attached to the skin for constant monitoring and send data to your phone by Bluetooth. This still puts a catheter under the skin though. Apple’s solution though was non-evasive and would use light to measure the glucose levels. Samsung was also reported to be working on a glucose monitor for its watch but dropped it before launch.
The most likely reason we haven’t seen this as yet would be that neither Apple nor Samsung have managed to make it accurate enough. I’d love to see this in the series 7 but I’d also rather they got it right first.
3. Photo realistic watch faces
This is also an opportunity to partner with more brands to create official Apple Watch faces – imagine a Rolex or Panerai watch face appearing on your Apple Watch? Hermes already partners with Apple Watches, so one of its traditional watch faces would be a natural step
This is a bit of a left-field one but with the impressive resolution of the Apple Watch display and the always-on functionality, there are lots more possibilities for the watch faces. One thing I’d love to see is faces that really look like manual watches. You could even use the gyroscope to make it look really 3D when you move your wrist.
4. Longer battery life
This one is an obvious request for any product but to really make use of the Apple Watch’s sleep tracking, it needs to have a battery that lasts longer. While there are plenty of fitness trackers that can stay on your wrist for a week or more, the complexity of Apple’s offering makes that seemingly impossible while keeping it small and light enough.
We will hopefully see small improvements in the battery life at least, especially if the rumors of a larger size are too. But more than a couple of days charge seems unlikely. An alternative here would be a faster charge time. Allowing the watch to charge in minutes rather than hours could solve the problem too.
5. Covid passport
We’ve seen a range of improvements announced for the Apple Wallet, which includes adding everything from car keys to driving licenses to the digital wallet in the latest round of betas. This of course carries over to the Apple Watch, allowing you to display info, pay or open things from either phone or watch.
As I’ve discussed previously, the Apple Wallet is also the perfect location for a COVID vaccination passport. iOS 15 will make it easier to link your health and vaccine records to your health app and there are now various apps that can provide verification of your vaccination status. These can be used for everything from getting into gigs to boarding flights, and some will even display in your digital wallet.
We’re still waiting to hear more about the driving license integration but in theory the same process could be used to display vaccination cards, without the need for a separate app.
6. A round version
Call me old fashioned but I prefer my watches to be round. It just suits the clockface better, the proof being almost all high-end watches. Now I know that a round screen is not ideal for all the other functions that the Apple Watch offers but Samsung has made it work and aside from some potential dead space, there’s nothing that would look jarring on a round screen.
This is perhaps the most unlikely wish, as it doesn’t fit with anything else that Apple is creating right now. However, an alternative round Apple Watch could look amazing and might convert a few more of those Wear OS users.
7. Under screen camera
The natural placement would be under the screen but it could as easily be a punch hole, or in the casing itself. I doubt we’ll see this any time soon but I’d love it if we did.
When the Apple Watch was first released back in 2015, adding a camera seemed like a logical progression. However, for many, I feel having a camera on your wrist would feel too intrusive – while a phone is mostly hidden in a pocket or bag most of the time, a watch is always on show, and that camera could potentially see every element of your life.
Today though, we have cameras everywhere, from laptops to smart speakers and home security cameras. There’s rarely a point in the day when there isn’t a camera pointed at us, so surely having one on your wrist wouldn’t be a big deal?
The benefits are huge. Not only could it offer Face ID for logging in and payment but it could allow you to snap selfies or capture scenic shots when you don’t have your phone to hand. I prefer not to take my phone out when I run but there are times when I missed having it for that perfect sunrise shot.