Forget Apple Watch 9 — Apple is working on Apple Watch X with huge upgrades

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We're likely only a few weeks away from the big debut of the Apple Watch Series 9 at Apple's upcoming September event. But this generation may well be worth skipping. Rumor has it that Apple's planning a huge overhaul for its signature smartwatch — just not this time around. Rather, it's saving its biggest plans for the device's 10th anniversary with the revamped "Watch X," set to launch in either 2024 or 2025. 

That's according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman in his latest Power On newsletter. He said the two biggest design changes will be a thinner watch case and a revamped method for how bands attach to the chassis to maximize the amount of space for internal components. 

"Starting with the original Apple Watch, bands have slid into the sides of the chassis and attached with a locking mechanism. Keeping that design the same let the bands stay compatible with old and new models, but it has downsides," Gurman explained. "People involved in the development of new Apple Watches say the system takes up a considerable amount of space that could be better filled with a bigger battery or other components."

To solve this problem, Apple's developers are experimenting with a new magnetic band attachment system, though Gurman hedged that it remains unclear whether this will be ready in time for the Watch X's launch. Other potential upgrades include a microLED display (instead of the OLED screen currently used on many of the best smartwatches) and technology for monitoring blood pressure. 

As for the Apple Watch Series 9, Gurman called it a "minor refresh" in line with the kind of incremental updates we've seen Apple roll out with each generation of its flagship smartwatches. Case size options will remain the same — 41mm and 45mm for the standard model, and 49 mm for the next Apple Watch Ultra. Gurman previously reported it will receive a “fairly sizeable performance bump,” with a new processor equipped to handle the new widget-based Smart Stack feature in watchOS 10. It's a welcome change given that the Apple Watch processor hasn’t received a true performance upgrade since the Apple Watch Series 6.

Beyond a faster processor, the only other differences we can expect are new color options, he said. Previous rumors point to a possible pink finish, so if you enjoyed the Barbie movie and want to incorporate more bubble-gum pink accessories into your own wardrobe, Apple may have you covered.

Odds are we'll learn more about Apple's plans at its September event, where the iPhone 15 series is also expected to make an appearance. Though it's unlikely Apple will mention the Watch X until it's closer to launch, as a more significant revamp on the horizon could dissuade people from upgrading in the meantime. 

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Alyse Stanley
News Editor

Alyse Stanley is a news editor at Tom’s Guide overseeing weekend coverage and writing about the latest in tech, gaming and entertainment. Prior to joining Tom’s Guide, Alyse worked as an editor for the Washington Post’s sunsetted video game section, Launcher. She previously led Gizmodo’s weekend news desk, where she covered breaking tech news — everything from the latest spec rumors and gadget launches to social media policy and cybersecurity threats.  She has also written game reviews and features as a freelance reporter for outlets like Polygon, Unwinnable, and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. She’s a big fan of horror movies, cartoons, and miniature painting.