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Apple Watch 7 — here are the 5 features I really want to see

Apple Watch 7 — here are the 5 features I really want to see
(Image credit: Jon Prosser & Ian Zelbo)

The Apple Watch 7 is just weeks away from its debut, if the company is sticking to its regular release schedule for the fan-favorite smartwatch.

Despite production delay rumors, the Apple Watch 7 is among the most anticipated devices slated for the upcoming (though still unannounced) Apple event. Believed to be taking place later in September, the next Apple product event could shape the subsequent years of wearable computing depending on what's revealed for the company's flagship smartwatch.

So what exactly is on tap in terms of upgrades and new features? Limited Apple Watch 7 leaks have left a lot to the imagination, but I've been closely monitoring reports regarding a radical redesign, performance improvements and more.

I've also worn the Apple Watch 6 for months now in anticipation of what's next. Though it's the best smartwatch to date, I can call out a few practical changes I think would make Apple's watch even better. 

Here are the five Apple Watch 7 features I'm hoping to see, from some shoo-in updates to a more future-looking wishlist. 

1. Larger sizes

The Apple Watch 7 will look different than the Apple Watch models we've seen in the past, if the surge or recent redesign rumors are true. The Apple Watch's appearance has remained virtually unchanged since the first model debuted in 2016, but the iconic squircle could be tweaked to better follow the design language of newer, flat-edged iPhones.

With that, the next Apple Watch could come in two new sizes: 41mm and 45mm. In a recent Bloomberg report, Mark Gurman claimed the Apple Watch 7 will increase the 40mm and 44mm variants and offer larger displays. The Apple Watch 7 display bezels could shrink somewhat, too.

The current Apple Watch's size allows for a miniaturized user experience that’s excellent in snippets but impractical for productivity. I truly believe the Apple Watch could stand on its own — fully independent from the iPhone 13 or other future iPhones — if it grew. More space could lead to additional battery, health sensors and information available to review at a glance. It also means more power, and with Apple VR headset allegedly in development, the Apple Watch could act as the tether.

2. Skin temperature reader

There have been conflicting reports about whether the Apple Watch 7 is due for a new health feature, and what it could be. The earliest Apple Watch 7 rumors suggested the smartwatch would get non-invasive blood glucose monitoring, but it doesn't seem in the cards anymore. I helped a friend find the right Apple Watch for monitoring their diabetes, so I know the benefits a built-in sensor could bring to a good population of users. 

Similarly, references to blood pressure monitoring for Apple Watch began popping up recently. But we've seen Samsung and its Galaxy Watch 4 struggle to meet the FDA's non-invasive blood pressure monitor guidance, which outlines a number of necessary tests and proof of accuracy. If Apple were to release a smartwatch promising blood pressuring monitoring, it would probably do so when it's accessible for as many of the Apple Watch's 100 million users as possible. 

With neither a blood glucose nor blood pressure monitoring likely to materialize this year, I've pondered what health feature could arrive with the Apple Watch 7. We know that Apple is working on a skin-temperature sensor similar to the one in the Fitbit Sense. This is probably the addition I'd want to see soonest. If the Apple Watch had a mechanism for measuring body temperature, it could alert users of fever or other conditions early that may require further medical attention.

3. Automatic workout pausing

Not all Apple Watch features on my upgrade wishlist are hardware-driven. While I don't expect much new to come via software this year that we haven't already seen in the watchOS 8 beta, there's one function from the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 I'd like to see Apple Watch 7 adopt: automatic workout pausing.

As described in my Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 workout test, auto-pause uses haptics to let me know when workout tracking stops and restarts based on my movement or lack thereof. I found it caters best to my dog's need to say hi to every passerby and stiff every tree in Central Park. His mannerisms leave me with nearly a 30-minute mile average on my Apple Watch, whereas I record a 22-minute mile on the Galaxy Watch 4 most times I take him out.

The Apple Watch 7 vs. Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 face-off is shaping up to be one of the closet matchups between the two product lines yet. Since many use a smartwatch in lieu of the best fitness trackers, the Apple Watch should look to expand its activity monitoring abilities. Maybe more precise heart rate sensors, accelerometers or gyroscopes would pave the way for auto workout pausing or other advanced exercise tracking tools.

4. Touch ID

No, I don't think the Apple Watch 7 will get Touch ID. But I still hope Apple is working on a feature that lets you unlock your smartwatch without typing your passcode on a tiny screen. 

The Apple Watch is the home for a lot of personal and sensitive information, so added security for your privacy options is always a plus. And now, with greater support for digital keys (including your government-issued ID) I want more biometrics for keeping my data safe.

patent reveals how Touch ID for Apple Watch could work. It details an in-display fingerprint sensor, similar to the technology used in several of the best Android phones. I'd personally prefer a fingerprint reader built into the digital crown or side button, so I don't have to smudge up my smartwatch display all the time.

5. Longer battery life

I don't think a single Apple Watch user out there would turn down improved battery life. The Apple Watch's battery life has been rated for 18 hours for several years now. And while the company has added more taxing features like an always-on display, you can't go without a daily charge. 

One report suggests Apple will use System in Package (SiP) tech from its Taiwanese supplier ASE Technology to make a double-sided S7 processor for the Apple Watch 7. That move is expected to free up some space inside the upcoming smartwatch

What could Apple do with the extra real estate? No one outside of the company can say for sure. I'm optimistic it could be used for a larger battery,. Maybe with a larger battery capacity and a more efficient processor, the Apple Watch 7's stamina will improve compared to previous-generation models. I believe the possibility alone is a reason you should wait for the Apple Watch 7 and not buy the Apple Watch 6 now.

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is a senior writer at Tom’s Guide covering wearables, TVs and everything smart-home related. When she’s not in cyborg mode, you can find her on an exercise bike or channeling her inner celebrity chef. She and her robot army will rule the world one day, but until then, reach her at kate.kozuch@futurenet.com.