The Apple Watch 7, or Apple’s next-generation smartwatch, could offer standout display upgrades among other annual improvements.
Why the display? For one, the Apple Watch’s display is one of the reasons it’s the best smartwatch year after year. The company continues to improve its flagship’s face, introducing an always-on mode with the Apple Watch 5 and a brighter screen with the most recent Apple Watch 6.
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Respect for the Apple Watch display isn’t limited to hardware. In watchOS 8 Apple will expand support for the smartwatch’s always-on setting to more of its native programs, as well as select third-party apps.
Still, the Apple Watch 7 screen could offer some physical upgrades compared to the current Apple Watch models on the market. Here’s what we’ve heard about the upcoming smartwatch’s display, and how likely those rumors are to materialize when the Apple Watch 7 arrives later this year.
Apple Watch 7 display: 120Hz refresh rate incoming?
On July 18 Twitter user Michael Burkhardt, a self-proclaimed Apple analyst, shared a concise statement: “120Hz Apple Watch.”
Referring to the display’s refresh rate, Burkhardt did not clarify whether his tweet was wishful thinking, a simple quip or actual intel. Since the user doesn’t have a track record with Apple leaks, we’re inclined to believe it’s one of those first two. We reached out to Burkhardt for comment, though we haven’t heard back.
If the Apple Watch 7 display were to offer a 120Hz refresh rate, it could be copying the iPhone 13’s most anticipated feature. Though speedy refresh rates are old news for Samsung smartphones, the next lineup of iPhones is expected to be the first from Apple to support smoother scrolling and gaming.
The benefits of a 120Hz refresh rate for Apple Watch don’t seem worth the effort, since not much scrolling and gaming takes place. Perhaps it would improve the fitness tracking interface, but it probably couldn’t do so without a hit to battery life. We can only assume 120Hz setting is optional; regardless, the Apple Watch doesn’t have the stamina to spare.
Apple Watch 7 display: What we've heard
So if a 120Hz refresh rate isn’t coming to the Apple Watch 7 display, what is? There are conflicting reports from two reliable Apple leakers to note. According to Jon Prosser’s most recent Apple Watch leak, the display “will likely stay the same as it has been for the past few generations.”
Bloomberg's Mark Gurman says otherwise. According to Gurman's sources, the Apple Watch 7 will sport thinner bezels. The company is also reportedly testing a "new lamination technique" that raises the watch's display closer to the top cover.
The result could be a more responsive display, or maybe expanded long-press tools, though it's hard to predict what this new lamination technique means for Apple Watch 7. It's also difficult to determine whether Prosser or Gurman's intel is accurate — the face of Front Page Tech has a respectable 74.2% accurate track record with Apple leaks (via AppleTrack,) while the Bloomberg reporter has earned an impressive 89.1% accuracy score.
If Apple is planning changes to its smartwatch's display, we'll know about them soon enough. Assuming the company sticks to its usual September launch events, we could be just weeks aways from the Apple Watch 7's debut.
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Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.