Apple Watch 7 reportedly has a new chip, but it’s not worth getting excited about

Apple Watch 7
(Image credit: Apple)

Apple unveiled a lot during the iPhone 13 announcement, with the iPad mini (2021), new iPad 10.2 (2021) and Apple Watch 7 all revealed at the same event. But for the last of those Apple was strangely light on details, most notably when it comes to the chipset. Now though, we might know what chipset the Apple Watch 7 has – and why Apple was quiet about it.

MacRumors claims to be able to ‘confirm’ that the Apple Watch 7 has a new S7 chipset, which sounds promising given that we assumed it would just have an S6 again like the Apple Watch 6, since Apple hadn’t mentioned any changes.

But in fact the S7 is seemingly more of an S6 Plus at best, as the site claims that it has the same CPU and the same 20% performance boost over the S5 as the S6 did. So why the new name? Because the S7 is apparently more power-efficient than the S6, allowing it to deliver similar battery life while powering the Apple Watch 7’s larger screen.

That’s not all that MacRumors revealed though. The site also claims that the Apple Watch 7 includes 32GB of storage (the same as the Apple Watch 6 and Apple Watch SE), and that it will come with a new 1-meter USB-C magnetic fast charging cable in the box.

Additionally, the Apple Watch 7 apparently has Bluetooth 5.0 (like its predecessor), and supports Beidou (China’s satellite navigation system), which its predecessor doesn’t.

Finally, it’s apparently heavier than the Apple Watch 6. MacRumors didn’t provide exact weights, but said that it ranges from 4.9% heavier than the closest equivalent Apple Watch 6 model if you opt for a 41mm version in aluminum, to 9.3% heavier if you go for a 45mm model in stainless steel.

An Apple Watch 7 from the side

(Image credit: Apple)

Analysis: the chipset sounds boring, but that’s okay

It makes sense that Apple didn’t detail the S7 chipset given that it’s apparently so similar to the S6, but the efficiency boosts that it will supposedly offer are better than nothing, and are arguably what Apple should be focusing on.

Wearables don’t need a ton of power, and the Apple Watch 6 is already powerful enough. Indeed, there’s not really even a need for a new chipset every year – after all, prior to the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, Samsung had used the same chipset in several smartwatch models, and that didn’t cause problems.

What smartwatches and particularly the Apple Watch range do need though, is better battery life. These are devices that are ideally with you day and night, tracking your every activity and then your sleep, so taking them off to charge can interfere with that.

The bigger screen on the Apple Watch 7 then could have been a real issue here if Apple really had stuck with the S6 chipset, but as it is, it sounds like battery life should at least be similar to the last model.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.