July 17, 2024
I’m fearful about the way forward for the Apple Watch Extremely
I’m fearful about the way forward for the Apple Watch Extremely
Someone wearing an Apple Watch Ultra 2, showing the Modular Ultra watch face.
Joe Maring / Digital Developments

The Apple Watch Extremely has been one of many largest additions to the Apple Watch lineup lately because it launched in 2022. It’s additionally one of many very best smartwatches too, with a big and tremendous shiny OLED show, unimaginable battery life, and the Motion button.

Whereas the primary Apple Watch Extremely was an enormous deal, the Apple Watch Extremely 2 felt extra like an iterative improve than the primary. However it appears like we’re in for a big improve in 2026 — for higher or worse.

Going from OLED to micro-LED

The Apple Watch Ultra 2 next to the original Apple Watch Ultra.
Apple Watch Extremely 2 (left) subsequent to the Apple Watch Extremely Joe Maring / Digital Developments

The Apple Watch has been utilizing OLED show panels because the begin. In actual fact, Apple Watches began utilizing OLED earlier than the iPhone (the iPhone X was the primary OLED iPhone), and OLED shows are rumored to return to the iPad in 2024, with OLED MacBooks coming after that.

However what’s micro-LED? Mainly microscopic variations of the the standard LEDs that we’re aware of. With micro-LED, there are complete arrays of those that make up every pixel. Because the title suggests, micro-LEDs are 100 occasions smaller than common LEDs.

The rumor is that Apple will finally transfer to micro-LEDs for all units, however this course of will take a few decade. The primary system that appears to be getting the micro-LED therapy would be the Apple Watch.

Earlier stories urged that the micro-LED transition would begin in 2024, however that later modified to 2025. Now, although, plainly 2026 is extra seemingly attributable to low yield charges.

What does this imply for Apple Watch Extremely in 2026?

Modular Ultra watch face on an Apple Watch Ultra.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Developments

For the time being, the 49mm Apple Watch Extremely has a show dimension of 1.91 inches. When the Apple Watch Extremely switches to micro-LED, that show dimension will reportedly improve to 2.12 inches. That is an 11% improve in dimension, and whereas it provides us extra display screen to work with, it’s additionally a fairly large improve.

The swap to micro-LED may also price Apple 2.5–3 occasions as a lot as the present OLED show. The fee improve in manufacturing could be round $80, and Apple must make up for that someway.

The obvious reply is to go that price onto the patron, making the Apple Watch Extremely much more costly.

Pushing the bounds

A render of an Apple Watch Ultra that is 11% larger than the current size.

If these stories are true, then I’m a little bit fearful about the way forward for the Apple Watch Extremely.

First off, I already had my hesitations in regards to the present dimension of it because it’s the most important Apple Watch so far. Although I normally desire smaller watches, I’ve gotten used to the scale after just a few months of sporting it. However there’s little question that it nonetheless appears massive on my wrist, particularly contemplating that I’m a feminine with smaller wrists.

I’m undecided I like the thought of the Apple Watch Extremely getting even larger than it at the moment is. For many individuals, the Apple Watch Extremely is already larger than they’d like, wanting a bit goofy on smaller, bonier wrists. However there’s little question that having a bigger show would make it simpler to see and use, particularly in shiny out of doors circumstances.

Maybe the perfect answer is for Apple to determine the way to make the show bigger with out making it too large for regular folks. I feel it could be greatest if it diminished the bezels on the show of the Apple Watch Extremely to accommodate for extra display screen house. Another choice could be to modify it as much as a panorama orientation show in order that it’s wider and received’t cling off one’s wrist as a lot.

Nonetheless, one good factor might come of constructing the Apple Watch Extremely a bit larger: extra battery. If it’s a bit bigger, there may very well be a tad extra space for a bigger battery, which might imply much more battery life. It was a little bit disappointing that the Apple Watch Extremely 2 didn’t prolong the 36-hour battery life, so this can be a potential profit.

Stretching the pockets even thinner

The Apple Watch Ultra with the Apple Watch Series 8 and Watch SE 2.
(Left to proper) Apple Watch SE 2, Apple Watch Sequence 8, and Apple Watch Extremely Andy Boxall / Digital Developments

The Apple Watch Extremely doesn’t come low-cost. Whereas it solely is available in one dimension and materials, it’s nonetheless $800. Most individuals I do know get the most cost effective Apple Watch doable, which is the aluminum mannequin. And it’s not simply household and mates — I principally see folks sporting non-Extremely Apple Watches out in public.

If the Apple Watch Extremely can have micro-LED and it prices Apple extra to make that doable, then the retail value for the Apple Watch Extremely will nearly actually be increased. It may very well be $50 extra or $100 extra, however both method, it received’t be low-cost. The next price ticket on the Apple Watch Extremely received’t make it extra interesting, that’s for positive.

Then once more, the Apple Watch just isn’t one thing it’s essential to improve yearly. This may occasionally make a possible value improve a little bit simpler to swallow, however not by a lot. I have a tendency to think about the Apple Watch as an funding in direction of your total well being and well-being, although your mileage might range.

Large modifications are coming

The Apple Watch Ultra's heart rate sensor active.
Andy Boxall / Digital Developments

We’re nonetheless a methods off from seeing a much bigger and dearer Apple Watch Extremely if these stories are to be believed. So, no, you don’t want to fret about all of this for at the least two years.

Regardless, I’m undecided I like the thought of the Apple Watch Extremely turning into bigger. I used to be already skeptical of the present dimension, and although I’ve grown accustomed to it, I don’t know if I need to go even larger. If the Extremely goes bigger, the highest and backside edges will certainly be hanging off my wrist. I don’t like the thought of that.

And, after all, I’m not a fan of it being dearer, both. For many individuals, $800 is a hefty chunk of change, and making it pricier might not assist, relying on the financial system.

I suppose we’ll have to attend and see, however I’m not so positive the Apple Watch Extremely goes in the suitable path, at the least for value and dimension. It is going to be attention-grabbing to see how significantly better micro-LED shall be over OLED, however will the rumored compromises be price it? I’m not so positive.

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