Apple reportedly planning major Watch X upgrade for 2024 or 2025

Marking the 10th anniversary of the Apple Watch, the Watch X could offer a microLED display, a thinner case, and blood pressure monitoring, says Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.
Written by Lance Whitney, Contributor
Jason Hiner/ZDNET

The Apple Watch is overdue for a major overhaul, and it's one that could launch in time to celebrate its 10th anniversary. With the watch debuting in April of 2015, Apple is reportedly working on a major new upgrade for release in 2024 or 2025, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman said in the latest edition of his weekly Apple-focused Power On newsletter.

Over the past few years, each new version of the watch has introduced only minor changes and enhancements. But the Watch X could reverse that trend with a number of significant new features, according to Gurman.

Also: Every product we're expecting at Apple's September event

The new watch might sport a microLED display that's superior in both color and clarify to the existing OLED screen. The watch case itself may also be thinner. On the health front, the Watch X could finally offer wearers a way to monitor their blood pressure. Apple is also eyeing a change to the way that bands attach to the watch, Gurman said.

Currently, the bands attach to the watch by sliding and locking in place. But that method takes up a huge chunk of space that could otherwise be devoted to a larger battery or other components, Gurman said, citing "people involved in the development of new Apple Watches." Instead, the company is exploring a new magnetic attachment system to connect the bands.

The Apple Watch has dominated its market with around a 25% share, leaving second-place Samsung with around 9%. But the product's development has been slow and incremental. Each new version unveils one or two interesting new features but largely remains the same. Apple did try to shake up sales last year by launching the Apple Watch Ultra, a larger and more rugged model with greater battery life, dual speakers, and other enhancements.

Also: Apple may be adding USB-C charging to older iPhones now, too

But this year, the Apple Watch 9 will be another minor refresh, according to Gurman. The new version will be powered by faster processors and offer fresh colors but will remain the same size as its predecessors.

Of course, Apple outfits its watch with features aimed at wooing new buyers and owners of rival products and not just existing Apple Watch owners in the mood to upgrade. But the watch could certainly use a jolt to create some buzz and excitement, and the 10th anniversary would be an opportune time. Plus, there is precedent.

In 2017, Apple launched the iPhone X to mark the 10th anniversary of its smartphone. A major upgrade to prior models, the iPhone X kicked in a larger screen size, an edge-to-edge display, and Face ID, among other innovative new features.

Editorial standards