Friday, July 19, 2024

The Apple Watch Series 10 might be in trouble

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The Nike Globe watch face on the Apple Watch Series 9.Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The Apple Watch Series 10 continues to be the subject of rumors and leaks in the lead-up to the 10th anniversary of the device, but the latest news may not be the best news. According to Mark Gurman, the Apple Watch Series 10 will come with substantial upgrades, including a larger display and new chip, and it may also get a special anniversary edition, perhaps called the Apple Watch X. So far, so good, right?

Unfortunately, Gurman also says in his Power On newsletter that the Apple Watch Series 10 isn’t likely to get any design changes from the Series 9, meaning yet another year with an identical smartwatch. On top of that, there are also indications that the new health features users were hoping for won’t be making their way to the Series 10.

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As Gurman says in his Bloomberg report, the Apple Watch Series 10 is “unlikely to look much different” from the Apple Watch Series 9, though it is expected to be thinner. Similarly, the Apple Watch Ultra 3 is not likely to get a new design this year either.

As far as we know, the next Apple Watch should still come in two casing sizes, code-named “N217” and “N218.” Both will feature larger displays. One of these models is expected to have a screen roughly as large as that of the Apple Watch Ultra 2. Both models should also come with a new processor that should be better than the S9 chip and potentially bring some AI enhancements to the device, though a full Apple Intelligence integration doesn’t currently seem to be in the cards.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The more considerable downside of the latest news relates to the apparent lack of new health-tracking features expected to come to the Apple Watch Series 10. Apple’s efforts to develop sleep apnea and hypertension detection features haven’t gone smoothly. There was hope that the features would be ready for 2024, but according to Gurman, “Apple has run into some serious snags.” The hypertension feature did not prove reliable in testing, so it’s been delayed to next year.

With sleep apnea detection, the problem isn’t so much with the feature itself, but the fact that it relies on blood oxygen saturation, which Apple Watches in the U.S. aren’t allowed to measure due to a legal battle with Masimo. If the lawsuit is resolved by September, then the sleep apnea feature may still come to the Series 10. Otherwise, Apple will need to find a legal argument that the blood oxygen sensor can be used for purposes unrelated to blood oxygen saturation detection. Given the circumstances, this feature is also likely to be delayed until 2025.

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