The Apple Watch Series 7 represents one of the biggest design changes Apple has made in generations. It has a 20% larger display in almost the same dimensions, which was accomplished by slimming down the bezels. Still, it shares a lot of features with the Watch Series 6 — similar design, same processor, and more. However, a teardown by iFixit has revealed some important changes under the hood that Apple chose not to reveal.
Former Apple engineers helped iFixit tear down the Watch Series 7. Once opened, the team found that Series 7 is missing the diagnostic port. Apple now uses a 60Ghz high-frequency wireless interface instead, perhaps hinting at a similar portless future for the iPhone. The wireless module, along with the proprietary dock, allows Apple to do the same diagnostics without a physical port, says the report. The removal of the diagnostic port is believed to have helped Apple to certify the Watch Series 7 for IP6X dust protection.
The teardown also revealed that the Apple Watch Series 7 uses a new display tech with a touch-integrated OLED panel also known as “on-cell touch.” It was introduced on this year’s iPhone 13 series. The new display tech is reported to be responsible for the production delays of the wearable. “Screens have some of the most complex supply chains and assembly processes in the industry,” said the report.
The Series 7 also packs a slightly larger battery than the Series 6. The 41mm Watch has received a 6.8% increase in battery, whereas the 45mm model’s cell is 1.6% larger in size. However, Apple claims that the battery life remains unchanged at “up to 18 hours” on a single charge. The new displays could be the reason for no battery life improvements despite a bigger cell, though the 45mm model change is so minuscule, it wouldn’t have made a difference either way.
The Apple Watch Series 7 earned a 6 out of 10 score on the iFixit repairability scale for its “modular construction and straightforward access to the screen and battery.” That’s a pretty good score for an Apple product and hopefully indicates that the company will continue to make the wearables easy to fix.