The Apple Watch has been constantly evolving since it was launched in 2015. More than 33 million Apple Watches have been sold since then, making it the single most successful watch in the world.
Five years is a long time in terms of technology and since 2015, Apple has released a new watch annually. The design has been refined and the features have certainly become more and more advanced.
The Apple Watch has health and fitness at the core, but that’s not all it does. So, let’s dive into its history.
The Pioneering Apple Watch of 2015
The first release features three versions. One was known as the ‘everyman edition’ and was made of stainless steel. The other was the Sport version which had wristbands to appeal to a more sporty audience, made of aluminium. The last was the Apple Watch Edition and this was made of no less than 18 carat gold.
The latter was marketed as a high-end fashion accessory. The price tag was a hefty $17k. However, it didn’t sell that well. In fact, it bombed and it was never mentioned again.
All three came in both 38mm and 42mm sizes. Furthermore, they all had Bluetooth and wifi capabilities and paired with the iPhone. It offered a digital crown, digital touch, force touch, multi-touch and a side button. It also had a heart rate sensor.
Apple Watch Series 1 – 2 of 2016
Secondly, we saw the first in what would become a line of updates to the Apple Watch. The overly-expensive Edition had, unsurprisingly, already been dropped like a hot potato. Next on the chopping block was the Sport.
Apple didn’t entirely drop the Sport, though and took its aluminium build to create what became known as the Series 1. Apple reduced the price slightly, making it a more accessible entry-level version. It retained some of the original features like the side button, digital touch, force touch, multi-touch and digital crown.
Alongside the Series 1, Apple brought the Series 2 to market. This model had the same aluminium build, but the main differentiator was the addition of GPS and the ability to pair the watch with an iPhone without the aid of the internet. Plus, losing the watch became a thing of the past!
Series 3 of (2017)
The next year saw the Series 3 launched. In this version, the biggest differentiator was the addition of a cellular feature, giving it the ability to connect to mobile internet and removing the requirement for pairing with an iPhone. It certainly offered a brand new sense of connectivity.
Other benefits included:
- Calls and voicemail
- Text messages
- Reminders and alerts
- Map features
- Music streaming
Series 4 (2018)
The Series 4 had some major improvements, including a larger display at either 40mm or 44mm sizing, rather than the old 38mm or 42mm.
The other big enhancement was the move to an electronic heart sensor (ECG), allowing wearers to know their heart rate at any time. Sure, this wasn’t a wildly new innovation but it had the ability to detect an unusually low or high heart rate, or other odd symptoms – potentially life-saving.
Series 5 (2019)
The Series 5 is undisputedly the best smartwatch in the world. It took everything that was good in the Series 3 and 4 and formed them into one sensational timepiece.
It looks amazing and offers incredible fitness features to match. Its notifications are slick and the app offering is better than ever. More branded non-native apps are appearing over time and the integration is seamless. Apple Pay is also now more widely accepted than ever.
- The titanium edition is the more durable version ever
- Incredibly in-depth fitness and health tracking
- 32GB storage built-in
- Always-on screen is a revelation for screen readability in all lighting
Series 6 (2020)
The Series 6 was released in September last year. It maintained Apple’s reign as the most popular smartwatch manufacturer on earth. Adding to the excitement was the release of a new iPhone 12 model alongside the watch.
Sleep tracking ability is vastly improved. It’ll tell you data about the quality of your sleep via a native app. Nonetheless, most apple users tend to charge their phones at night.
Improved gym stats will be realised. You’ll be able to tell if you’re behind your goal targets and there’ll be more accurate heart rate monitoring during exercise. Apple has worked hard to create a new programme “Apple Connected” which will see a community of Apple-watch connected pieces of equipment work together to create a reward programme for Apple Watch wearers.
Series 7 (2021)
Unlike previous models, the Series 7 lacks any notable upgrades. The Apple Watch Series 7 has a larger screen than the Series 6, but it isn’t a significant gain over its predecessor. So don’t rule out the Series 6 if you have an earlier Apple Watch and want to upgrade.
Here’s a rundown of the latest Apple Watch version (and how it compares to its predecessor).
Accessibility and assistance
The Apple Watch includes a number of accessibility features built in to help you get the most out of your device. To discover the Accessibility settings on your Apple Watch and iPhone, follow these instructions.
Learn about VoiceOver, Zoom, On/Off Labels, wheelchair accessibility choices, and other Accessibility features on your Apple Watch.
When it comes to health and fitness monitoring, there is no difference between the 6 and 7 Watches. This is what you’ll get:
- Sensor for measuring blood oxygen levels
- 3rd Gen optical heart sensor electrical heart sensor
- Accelerometer for fall detection
- Barometric altimeter
- Ambient light
Apple demonstrated the 7’s extended fall detection at the introduction, which can now detect a fall and notify emergency services if necessary. This is a watchOS 8 function that shouldn’t be limited to the Series 7 and will work on the Series 6 and older watches as well.
Emergency SOS and fall detection
You can use Emergency SOS on your Apple Watch to call for assistance and inform your emergency contacts quickly and effortlessly.
What’s more, to utilise fall detection, you will need a cellular connection to make emergency calls and send messages to emergency contacts. This may be done using your iPhone (if it’s within Bluetooth range) or the Apple Watch (but only if the LTE version is used). It must also be linked to a known Wi-Fi network.
If you want to utilise Emergency SOS on an Apple Watch that doesn’t have LTE/cellular, you’ll need to have your iPhone close by. If your iPhone isn’t nearby, you’ll need to connect your Apple Watch to a wifi network and have wifi calls turned on.
Design and display
The Series 7 has a square form that is somewhat more rounded at the corners than the Series 6, although it is still square. Unless you’re wearing them both at the same time, you’re unlikely to see the difference.
The bigger display on the Series 7 is the most visible feature. The Series 7 comes in 41mm and 45mm sizes, (differing from 40 and 44 on the Series 6). As a result, the bezels surrounding the screen on the Series 7 are substantially slimmer. Additionally, 40 per cent reduced bezels, the Series 7’s display has a wrapped look for an edge-to-edge sensation, all in a casing that’s not much larger than the Series 6.
The Series 7 and Series 6 both feature always-on screens, but Apple claims that the Series 7 is 70% brighter inside.
The Series 7 has a thicker front crystal display than the Series 6, making it tougher and more resistant to scratches and cracks. The Series 7 has an IP6X dustproof rating, but the Series 6 does not. Both timepieces feature a 50m water-resistance certification.
Both watches run watchOS 8, however, the screen on the Series 7 is noticeably different. Apple has modified watchOS to make use of the bigger display, including a complete keyboard for texting and typing that the Series 6 lacks.
Additionally, all of Apple’s applications have bigger buttons, making them simpler to tap. Contour and Modular Duo are two distinct watch faces available on the 7.
Bands and colours
Aluminium, stainless steel, and titanium are all available for both watches. The colour options for the aluminium variants vary between the two types.
In terms of bands, the Series 7 watch is compatible with all of the Series 6 bands.
Apple is also releasing Hermès and Nike versions of the Series 7, similar to the Series 6. The latter comes with a “refreshed” Nike Sport Loop band and the Nike Bounce face and is available in three colours.
The Gourmette Double Tour and the Circuit H are among the new Hermès Series 7 models, as are new colours for the Classic, Attelage, and Jumping Single Tour models.
On launch day, Apple eventually revealed that the Series 7 has the same S6 CPU as the Series 6 (but it’s referred to as the S7 owing to some minor differences). That’s not a negative thing; in our assessment of the Series 6, we noted that “the Apple Watch will seem like a surprise” when compared to rivals like the Fitbit Sense (or Versa 3) or Samsung Galaxy Watch 4.
We haven’t altered our minds since then, so we anticipate the Series 7 to be just as quick and powerful. It is noteworthy, though, since this is the first time Apple has not changed the CPU in a new model. Until cellular connection, both watches have the exact same LTE chip, so if you want 5G, you’ll have to wait for the Series 8.
Charging and battery
The Series 7 Apple Watch has the same battery life as the previous versions (18 hours). That should be enough for a day, but if you want to track your sleep, you’ll need to charge the watch at some point.
The 7 has a significant edge in this regard. Apple’s new watch enables fast charging through a new USB-C charging connection that Apple says would charge the Series 7 watch 33 per cent quicker.
Apple Watch Series 8 (2022)
Apple’s current Apple Watch Series 7 will be replaced by the Apple Watch Series 8 in 2022. Following Apple’s denial of the most prominent leakers’ assertions last fall, when it unveiled a redesigned Watch with even rounder edges instead of a straight-edged wristwatch, no one really knows what to expect from the Series 8.
What will be next?
There’s talk of monitoring for people who need to manage their diabetes via blood glucose and pressure sensors.
It’s predicted that there will be some improvements to the design, which is long-awaited at this point. There hasn’t been much change since the Series 3.
It’ll be offered in 4 models which are essentially all aluminium but either cellular or sport, or not.
If you’re not sure which Apple Watch is best for you then we have created an easy comparison of all Apple offerings from the first generation to the Series 6 and SE. Check it out here.
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