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,
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
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.