Where does the Apple Watch go from here?

Six years in, the Apple Watch is at a bit of a crossroads. After a few years of explosive growth in terms of improving the hardware, Apple seems to have hit a bit of a lull. Last year’s Apple Watch Series 5 only added a single major feature, the always-on display, but it was a huge milestone.

This year’s Series 6, though? It’s clear that even Apple knew how incremental this update was. An oxygen sensor is good, but since it’s not approved as a medical device, Apple’s implementation feels a little bit weak. A brighter always-on screen? Great, but the very definition of incremental. You know an update is feeling a little bit lackluster when Apple throws in a bunch of new colors to stir some excitement.

In six years, the Apple Watch has done incredibly well. Greeted by a skeptical industry, it’s defined and dominated the smartwatch category, become the most popular watch in the world, and driven growth in Apple’s red-hot wearables category.

So let’s consider year seven. Where does the Apple Watch go from here?

Time to break compatibility

For years I fretted about the possibility of Apple throwing out the existing Apple Watch design (and potentially compatibility with all existing watch bands). It all seemed too soon.

It doesn’t anymore.

To be clear, I don’t think Apple should get rid of the existing Apple Watch design right now. Maybe not for years to come! But one way Apple could really change up the Apple Watch next year would be to offer a new style, a completely different look from what we’ve expected.


Sooner or later, Apple needs to change the design of the Apple Watch.

The obvious choice, of course, is a circular watch face.