The big picture: Apple's second-generation Watch Ultra isn't the only noteworthy wearable Cupertino is working on behind the scenes. While this year's standard Apple Watch refresh is expected to deliver only minor improvements, a more substantial "Watch X" is said to be taking shape to celebrate the wearable's upcoming 10th anniversary.
Apple launched its first-gen Watch in 2015 and has fed consumers a steady albeit predictable diet of updated wearables each year since. The company's offerings do get better each year, but not by much. As Bloomberg's Mark Gurman correctly highlights, Apple has struggled to give buyers a compelling reason to upgrade their Watch year after year.
The upcoming Apple Watch Series 9 likely won't break the mold. The new wearable is expected to feature a faster processor and new color options compared to the current generation offering, but that is about it.
Per Gurman's sources, the celebratory Watch X will be a much more substantial upgrade. Apple engineers are said to be working to make the watch case thinner and have also looked into different ways to attach the band.
Apple has stuck with the same band attachment mechanism since the first-gen device. It works and allows users to swap bands between device generations with ease, but it is not perfect. Sources claim the mechanism consumes a considerable amount of real estate that could be used for other purposes.
Apple is reportedly exploring a magnetic band system with a smaller footprint that would free up space in the watch for a bigger battery or other hardware, but it is unclear if the system will be ready by the time Apple is wants to launch the new device.
Other Watch X changes are said to include a microLED display and a blood pressure monitor.
Apple introduced its first Watch in 2014 and launched it the following year. Should it stick to a similar schedule, we could see Watch X break cover / launch near the end of next year or perhaps in early 2025.
Image credit: Torsten Dettlaff