A bit bigger and brighter, with a faster charge
The entire smartwatch category had a good Q2, as numbers jumped 27% year over year. That, in turn, was up 20% from a year prior, in spite — or perhaps because of — COVID-19 concerns. The popularity of these devices are the proverbial rising tide, with most of the big players benefiting from an overall increase in adoption.
But one name continues to loom large in a way seldom seen in a fairly mature category. Last quarter, the Apple Watch’s active user base crossed 100 million, according to Counterpoint Research. The company took three of the top four smartwatch spots globally with the Series 6, SE and Series 3, with Samsung managing to sneak into the No. 3 slot with its latest Galaxy Watch Active.
The company has seen competition on the low end of the market, with an influx of sub-$100 devices, but at the premium and mid-range end, Apple continues to be utterly dominate to such a degree that top competitors like Samsung and Google are teaming up to take it on. So, what do you do when you’re Apple? You tweak. You make the screen a bit bigger, you make the charger a bit faster and, most of all, you don’t really mess with a good thing.
Some of the more outlandish rumors swirling around health-related changes proved wrong, as the company instead opted to focus on making some aesthetic changes to the device. The Series 7 marks one of the biggest changes to the device’s design in several generations, and even that isn’t what one might deem a radical departure. In fact, it’s the sort of thing you can walk around with undetected.
If, on the other hand, you’re a daily Apple Watch user, you’ll notice the difference on your wrist immediately. The upgrade from Series 6 to Series 7. The larger model (which we’ll be focusing on for the remainder of this review) bumps up from a 1.78-inch screen (measured diagonally, à la a smartphone) to 1.9 inches. That represents a 20% increase over the Series 6 and a 50% increase over the Series 3, which somehow manages to keep sticking around.
It’s not a radical departure, generation over generation. And certainly something like 12% larger buttons on the calculator aren’t enough to sell anyone on an upgrade. The truth is that the nature of wearables generally prohibits designers from making too radical a design change because the product needs to fit on your body. The earliest smartwatches suffered from large designs that prohibited wearability among a wide swath of users.
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