Earlier this year, the Apple Watch 7 release date seemed destined for this September, but a new report from the company's supply chain suggests we might see the next-generation smartwatch later than expected.
According to Bloomberg, the Apple Watch 7 is "suffering production snags" due to anticipated design changes coming to Apple's smartwatch. The next Apple Watch is being reimagined with a flat-edged design, new screen lamination process and larger display sizes, based on rumors up to this point.
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The report didn't specify whether the Apple Watch 7 display, exterior chassis or other element is causing the production delays. It just quoted Nikkei Asia (opens in new tab)'s intel that small-scale Apple Watch 7 production started last week but the manufacturers "encountered critical challenges in reaching satisfactory production performance."
Production delays might not come as a complete surprise. Several signs point to the company planning the most significant Apple Watch redesign ever. It's also only the second time Apple has altered the screen sizes on it watches, this time growing its smartwatch from 40 and 44mm to 41 and 45mm options. There's often a price to be paid for change.
Nikkei's sources said Apple paused production of the Apple Watch 7 until the problems are smoothed out. It's unknown if the delay will impact the company's announcement plans. We had thought the Apple Watch 7 would share the stage with the iPhone 13 and AirPods 3 during a September keynote, but Apple might not want to reveal a product that isn't ready.
Of course, the company could still announce the Apple Watch 7 on schedule, and offer a later release date as it did when it announced the iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone 12 mini models last year. Those all-new product forms could've caused similar complications, along with general Covid-19 delays.
For anyone wondering if they should buy Apple Watch 6 or wait for Apple Watch 7, this news might tip the scales. It's one thing to wait a few more weeks to invest in a new smartwatch, another to wait until sometime in October or even November, when largest and smallest iPhones eventually became available last year.
We can't say for certain what's going on with the Apple Watch 7 production line, or how the new report will impact the Apple Watch 7 release date. But based on the intel from Bloomberg and Nikkei, we're not as confident it'll arrive in September as we were before.
That said, it seems like the Apple Watch 7 will be worth the wait. Beyond the refreshed design, the newest Apple Watch is rumored to get a doubled-sided S7 chip that simultaneously shrinks the processor's real estate and welcomes annual performance upgrades. It could get improved swim-tracking and water resistance, too.
The Apple Watch 7 should be the best Apple Watch yet. We haven't seen as many exciting Apple Watch 7 leaks as iPhone 13 ones, but even if we don't see the sweet design changes come to fruition, the watch will still ship with watchOS 8. The latest wearable software brings a new Mindfulness app, precipitation alerts, support for digital keys, multiple timers and more.
See our guide to the underrated features coming to your Apple Watch via over-the-air update, and how to download the watchOS 8 public beta if you're curious to try the new abilities out yourself.