Next year’s Apple Watch will lack any "significant" innovation, analyst claims

The Apple WAtch 8 on a blue desk and wrist
An Apple Watch 8 (Image credit: TechRadar)

Apple's streak of small, iterative updates to its mainline Apple Watches is set to continue according to an analyst, with next year’s device reportedly unlikely to have any “significant innovative experiences” at all.

Barring the Apple Watch Ultra series, the best Apple Watch models haven’t seen a major upgrade in several years, with the Apple Watch Series 9 being another largely iterative update – with the possible exception of the new Double Tap feature. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo published a report on Medium detailing Apple’s future plans, and it looks like we're getting more of the same again: a blow for anyone waiting for major changes to Apple’s smartwatch.

According to Kuo, the next Apple Watch – due out in 2024 – will not come with a microLED display, and it will also lack a blood glucose monitor. A glucose monitor that doesn’t require pricking the skin is a feature that has been much discussed in the Apple community, so it's a shame to not see it included. Kuo believes the microLED display could debut in 2025, but added that “I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s postponed to 2026.”

There was further bad news from Kuo, whose report stated that “Apple Watch shipments in 2023 are expected to decline by approximately 15% [year on year] to 36-38 million units.” If correct, it’s a significant drop that could have Apple executives worried.

Analysis: Hope for the Apple Watch X

Apple Watch Series 9 Smart Stack

(Image credit: Future)

Despite the disappointing news, there’s potentially one bright spot for fans of the Apple Watch. That’s because the device is heavily rumored to get a bigger tenth-anniversary update next year with a product dubbed Apple Watch X.

This would potentially come with a raft of new features to mark the occasion, including a thinner case and new bands, as well as the rumored microLED display and that blood glucose monitor. Interestingly, Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman has claimed these updates might come in 2024 – the same year Kuo says we shouldn’t expect anything momentous.

There is one slight wrinkle, however. The first Apple Watch was unveiled in 2014 and went on sale in 2015, and Gurman concedes that the Apple Watch X could therefore be timed to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the 2015 date. If that pans out, both Kuo’s and Gurman’s reports could end up being correct, although what next year's device will be called is anyone's guess in that case. 

Ultimately, we’ll have to wait to see what happens. While it looks like exciting new features are coming soon to the Apple Watch, don’t hold your breath for next year’s model.

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Alex Blake
Freelance Contributor

Alex Blake has been fooling around with computers since the early 1990s, and since that time he's learned a thing or two about tech. No more than two things, though. That's all his brain can hold. As well as TechRadar, Alex writes for iMore, Digital Trends and Creative Bloq, among others. He was previously commissioning editor at MacFormat magazine. That means he mostly covers the world of Apple and its latest products, but also Windows, computer peripherals, mobile apps, and much more beyond. When not writing, you can find him hiking the English countryside and gaming on his PC.