The, which , comes with a larger screen, faster charging and a more durable design. That might not sound as exciting as the blood oxygen sensor that debuted in last year’s . But the ‘s new features have the potential to add more convenience to a lot of everyday tasks, from checking the time to responding to texts and tracking your sleep.
Apple unveiled the $399 Apple Watch Series 7 during its product launch event on Sept. 14 alongside, a refreshed , and a new entry-level . The new watch will be available for preorder beginning on Oct. 8 ahead of its launch the following week.
Although we haven’t tested it yet, the new Apple Watch seems like a light update to the Series 6 that’s ideal for people looking to replace a watch that’s several years old.
If you’re considering the Apple Watch Series 7, here’s a breakdown of what’s new and why it matters.
Apple Watch Series 7 will have a QWERTY keyboard for real typing
The Apple Watch isthat takes advantage of its larger screen, which is about 20% bigger than the Series 6’s, allowing you to type similarly to the way you would on your phone.
What’s new: A full-size keyboard means that you won’t be limited to sending a canned response to a text, scribbling a quick note or dictating a message, as is the case with the Apple Watch Series 6.
How you’ll use it: The Apple Watch Series 7’s QWERTY keyboard will let you tap each key to type, or use Apple’s QuickPath feature to swipe between letters without lifting your finger.
The bottom line: The Series 7’s QWERTY keyboard should make it easier to send longer and more complex messages that are uncomfortable to scribble or too private to dictate. It’s another example of how the Apple Watch has evolved to become better at working independently of your phone in the years since its launch.
Third-party Apple Watch apps like FlickType and WatchKey already allow you to type on your Apple Watch, but having it as a native option on the watch will likely result in a smoother experience.
Larger screen on the Apple Watch Series 7 will amp your reading
The Apple Watch Series 7 is getting its first major redesign since the Series 4 launched in 2018. The new watch will come in 41-millimeter and 45mm sizes for the first time, representing a shift away from the 40mm and 44mm sizes that were available on the Series 4 through Series 6.
What’s new: The Apple Watch Series 7’s screen is about 20% larger than the Series 6’s and more than 50% bigger than. The borders that frame the screen are also 40% smaller than those of the Series 6, allowing Apple to expand the screen size without making the device much larger. Apple says older watch bands will still be compatible with the Series 7.
How you’ll use it: The Series 7’s larger screen should make it better at its most important job: showing information that’s easy to see at a glance so that you don’t have to grab your phone. The larger screen means the Series 7 will be capable of displaying 50% more text without having to scroll, making reading text messages, emails and notifications more convenient.
There’s more: Apple is also updating the user interface in its apps to make better use of that larger screen. Apps like the stopwatch, activity and timer will have larger buttons, meaning it should be easier to hit snooze even when you’re still half asleep. You’ll also get specific watch faces that are optimized for the Series 7’s bigger display, such as a new version of the Modular face that can fit complications with more information.
And don’t forget,introduces the ability to set Portrait mode photos as your watch face, and the Series 7’s larger screen will be better able to show them off.
A brighter screen in always-on mode
Apple is also updating the Apple Watch’s display in a different way by making the screen more visible in always-on mode. It’s another addition that should make it even faster to get quick bits of information from your watch.
What’s new: The Apple Watch Series 7’s screen is up to 70% brighter in always-on mode when your wrist is down, according to Apple. However, Apple specifically says this applies to indoor usage, so it’s unclear whether you’ll see meaningful gains outdoors in direct sunlight.
How you’ll use it: The Series 7’s improved brightness means it should be even easier to see information like the time, your activity rings and your next meeting without having to wake the watch’s screen.
While it doesn’t sound like this will be very noticeable outdoors, it still feels like a step toward making the Apple Watch’s screen appear the same whether it’s asleep or in use. Doing so would create a more seamless look that doesn’t feel jarring when switching between awake and idle mode.
To use this feature, you’ll want to make sure the always-on display setting is turned on in the Apple Watch’s settings menu. On your Apple Watch’s app screen, press the settings icon, scroll down to Display & Brightness and tap Always On. From there, make sure the switch next to Always On is toggled on.
What about battery life? You could also choose to keep this feature turned off if you want to maximize battery life, and Apple hasn’t said whether the brighter always-on screen will affect the watch’s power consumption. I wear an Apple Watch Series 6 daily and regularly leave the always-on display activated, and my watch typically makes it through a full day with a bit of juice left over in the morning. But battery life will always vary depending on your usage, and activities like using GPS connectivity while running will likely cause it to drain faster.
Apple Watch Series 7 should charge faster than Series 6
The Apple Watch Series 7’s battery is expected to last as long as the Series 6, but Apple says it’s slashing the amount of time it takes to charge your watch.
What’s new: The Apple Watch Series 7 can charge up to 33% faster than the Apple Watch Series 6, according to Apple. It should take 45 minutes to charge from zero to 80%, and 8 minutes of charging should enable 8 hours of sleep tracking.
How you’ll use it: We’ve been asking for more battery life out of the Apple Watch for years, but that’s especially relevant now that Apple hasto its smartwatches. Rather than extending the watch’s battery life, Apple is making it easier to quickly charge the watch during short windows throughout the day, presumably so that you don’t have to charge it overnight. The idea is that you’ll be able to top off the watch’s battery whenever you have a few spare minutes.
The bottom line: The Apple Watch Series 7’s faster charging speed is another way in which Apple is trying to make its smartwatch a more capable sleep tracker. In addition to making the Series 7 easier to charge in a pinch, Apple is also adding the ability to measure respiratory rate during sleep with its new. Taken together, these improvements could help Apple catch up to , which offers multiday battery life on its watches and more in-depth sleep metrics.
The Apple Watch Series 7 has a brawnier build
Exercise tracking has become one of Apple’s biggest areas of focus for the Apple Watch. The Series 7 should be more suitable for outdoor activity since Apple claims it has a more durable build.
What’s new: The Apple Watch Series 7 is rated for IP6X dust resistance (a first) and is coated in a crystal cover that Apple says is 50% thicker than that of the Apple Watch Series 6. That means you should feel at ease wearing it to the beach or during a hike.
How you’ll use it: The Series 7’s increased durability could pair nicely with the new cycling features in. The new software brings an updated version of fall detection that Apple says can tell the difference between falling off a bicycle and a different type of accident. Apple also says WatchOS 8 should be able to automatically detect outdoor cycling workouts.
The bottom line: We won’t know how durable the Apple Watch Series 7 really is until we put it to the test. And those who want a truly rugged watch have military-grade options from Casio to choose from. But these updates suggest Apple is trying to push the Apple Watch beyond basic workouts and appeal to those who might need a more durable watch for activities like rock climbing. That’s the premise behind the , which Bloomberg reports will come with greater impact resistance and could launch in 2022.and