The Apple Watch X won't get my favorite Watch Ultra feature — here's why I might upgrade anyway

Apple Watch Pride Edition Band 2024
(Image credit: Future)

Well, it looks like the Apple Watch X (Apple Watch 10) won’t be getting the one feature I was most hoping for, at least, if recently leaked renderings of the device turn out to be the real deal. 

The Apple Watch’s design hasn’t changed much in recent years. However, with this being the 10th anniversary of the wearable, my expectations for an aesthetic shakeup were understandably high for what might be the best Apple Watch yet.

Could some of the best physical design elements of the Ultra series trickle down to the standard Apple Watch line? The answer appears to be no. 

Apple Watch X – where’s the Action Button?

Apple Watch 10 CAD render leak

(Image credit: 91mobiles)

Apple is a peculiar company. One day the Cupertion Kid is removing all the physical controls from your device — I still miss my long-lost Home button —  the next it's incorporating them back in.

When it comes to consumer tech, whether it be wearables, smartphones, cameras, keyboards, cars, etc., I’m all for customizable buttons. After all, no one user interacts with technology the same way.

This is why I love the Action Button on the Apple Watch Ultra and Ultra 2. This third control point, located below the crown, can be assigned to execute any number of tasks, like starting a workout, turning on the flashlight, setting a waypoint or even launching a saved shortcut. 

The question is, why is this functionality reserved only for folks with the money and girthy wrist size to rock an Apple Watch Ultra or Ultra 2? Do we standard Apple Watch users not have needs worthy of a customized button? 

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 on a wrist.

(Image credit: Future)

Unfortunately, the leaked renderings, shared by 91mobiles, show an Apple Watch X that looks remarkably similar to the Series 9, or, dare I say identical. Sure, there’s a chance the new Apple Watch will be available in a larger two-inch display, but still, the incorporation of an Action Button eludes us.

And a recent report on 9to5Mac seems to support this claim. This suggests that Apple will continue reserving physical button customization for only its most premium wearables, which wouldn’t bother me so much if the Ultra series came in a more compact case size. Presently, it does not. 

Apple Watch X – I still may upgrade

Disappointment about the lack of a new customizable control point on the forthcoming Apple Watch X aside, I still very well may upgrade. This is especially true if it boasts substantial battery life, a thinner case, durability improvements, or an AI-backed Siri experience that actually provides useful answers to my queries. 

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Dan Bracaglia
Senior Writer, Fitness & Wearables

Dan Bracaglia covers fitness and consumer technology with an emphasis on wearables for Tom's Guide. Based in the US Pacific Northwest, Dan is an avid outdoor adventurer who dabbles in everything from kayaking to snowboarding, but he most enjoys exploring the cities and mountains with his small pup, Belvedere. Dan is currently training to climb some of Washington State's tallest peaks. He's also a big photography nerd.