Apple has long been a trendsetter, and its foray into the smartwatch market has been no exception. Since the introduction of the Apple Watch, the device has become increasingly popular in the wearables segment. However, Apple has not experimented with the design while other brands provide multiple options. So, many consumers are questioning whether Apple will ever make a round Apple Watch.
But before we drill down the possibilities, we must look back and consider why Apple Watch is made square in shape.
Evolution of Apple Watch design
One look at the history of Apple Watch, and you’ll realize the brand has gradually improved its display. The Watch has always sported a rectangle design with rounded edges. Display sizes for the early Apple Watches were 38mm and 42mm. However, with the introduction of the Apple Watch Series 7 and 8, the screens were later increased to 41mm and 45mm. With their flagship Watch Ultra, they went a notch higher and got the screen to 49 mm.
The technology behind the Apple Watch display has also advanced over time. With the Apple Watch Series 8, the screens have embraced always-on display and have become brighter. These changes indicate that Apple is at ease with continuously enhancing the fundamental Apple Watch display design and not looking to fix something that ain’t broken.
In the current smartwatch market, Apple is the only significant smartwatch manufacturer to differentiate itself with its rectangular Apple Watch. But why is Apple stuck to the square shape of the Apple Watch for so long? Let’s delve deeper.
Why won’t Apple release a round watch face?
Circular watches are practically easy to manufacture as the dials, knobs, and other interior components have been made that way for a long time. In addition, the glass’s round form makes watches water-resistant since it can be tightly fitted into the casing.
Also, round glass has only a single arc that distributes external pressure uniformly, making it more stress-resistant. The common belief was that glass with corners might be weak and prone to break from the edge.
Moreover, the round watch design is popular among traditional watch enthusiasts. Some argue that a round watch would look more elegant and sophisticated than the square-shaped Apple Watch. Others suggest it would be more comfortable, sitting better on the wrist and less likely to catch on clothing or other objects.
Despite this, it seems unlikely that Apple will make a round Apple Watch face anytime soon. One reason is that the square shape of the Apple Watch has become part of the brand’s design statement. Changing the shape of the device would be risky, and it could potentially alienate existing customers who are used to the current design.
Many tech analysts also argue that with the square design of the Apple Watch, it’s easier to fit the user interface of the apps appropriately and make them look like their iOS counterparts. This, in turn, complements Apple’s ecosystem ideology.
Compatibility with watchOS features
Apple has invested heavily in developing watchOS to get the most out of the square shape. So, Apple would have to completely redesign watchOS and internal components if they were to go with a circular display. Even if they do adapt to the shape, whether the features could follow suit is unclear.
The primary factor to consider is the practicality of a round watch. Apple’s preference for the rectangular form factor is efficiency and how we consume information. Circular Apple Watch would obstruct displaying of text messages or notifications. In addition, the circular screen shows way less data than the rectangular-shaped display.
The circular display often has some information cut off. The information in the center of the screen will be completely readable and clear. But when you swipe up or down, the top and bottom components will be obscured. So, you need to put more effort into reading the screen. The square-shaped display uses all the blank spaces to show information completely.
Nowadays, users are used to rectangular displays of phones and laptops. Due to the square screen of smartwatches, it acts as extensions of our phones. Therefore, Apple has no justification for making a round Apple Watch.
Final verdict: Will there be any round Apple Watch?
Mindlessly following tradition would be a mistake since the usage of watches is the opposite of what they initially aimed for. Smartwatches must adopt the most effective form factor for their primary functions like showing time and alerts, using apps, and much more. So rectangular is the best shape to use.
The question “Will Apple Make a Round Apple Watch?” arose when the news surfaced that Apple is experimenting with a circular display owing to a patent.
According to one patent, Apple revealed its developing “electronic device having a display with curved edges” in May 2018 and March 2021. Also, a few images illustrate what the Apple Watch may look like in the future. In addition to circular hardware, Apple may be working on a mechanism to integrate watchOS with circular screens completely.
But before everyone gets their expectations too high, I must give a strong caution. Apple routinely patents innovations that it never commercializes. So, for example, it’s possible that Apple explored making a circular Apple Watch but decided it wouldn’t be practical.
So, I believe that Apple would not replace the current design with a round one. Instead, it could be a new option added to the current lineup.
Apple Watch – round or square?
While the idea of a round Apple Watch may appeal to some consumers, it is unlikely to become a reality. Apple has developed the current design of the Apple Watch for a long, and changing the shape would affect its established brand identity. So, it’s more practical for Apple to continue to improve upon the current design of the Apple Watch rather than taking the risk of introducing a new shape to the market.
What are your thoughts on this topic? Let me know in the comment below. I would love a discussion on the same!
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Ava is an enthusiastic consumer tech writer coming from a technical background. She loves to explore and research new Apple products & accessories and help readers easily decode the tech. Along with studying, her weekend plan includes binge-watching anime.