Just like there are always going to be people with straight hair that want it curly and people with curly hair that want it to be straight, there will be people who want a round Apple Watch.
Apple’s decision to give the Apple Watch straight edges makes a lot of sense: the rectangular design is perfect for the list based interface and better suited to viewing photos and maps.
However, watches have traditionally had round faces and that’s what some people like. As a result there are calls for a round Apple Watch. Will Apple listen to these calls and make a watch for these people? That’s the question we are going to attempt to answer here.
Will Apple sell a round Apple Watch?
Apple has been selling the Apple Watch for more than five years now. Over those years Apple has regularly given the Apple Watch new features and improved the specs every year, but apart from changes to the screen size, dimensions, case colours and materials, the basic design of the watch has remained unchanged.
Is it now time for a design change?
We think it is unlikely that Apple will change the design of the Apple Watch. However, there is evidence that the company has at least entertained a round design for the Apple Watch, so there is a slim chance that a round Apple Watch could launch one day.
In March 2021 a patent emerged that shows a rounder watch design. In this case the round watch face does seem to be integral to the design being patented: the display seems to transition into the bracelet smoothly.
This could be evidence or more than Apple’s plans for a round watch face – it could indicate that Apple work on foldable displays – suspected by many to be for the iPhone – is actually for the Apple Watch.
This isn’t the only patent that indicates Apple has considered a round design for the Apple Watch. Back in May 2018 a patent for round Apple Watch was approved that showed a round face. That patent was filed in January 2016, not long after the first Apple Watch launched (in April 2015).
Of course just because Apple’s patents show a round watch face doesn’t mean that is what is planned. Nor does the fact that Apple has filed a patent mean that the product will ever see the light of day.
Round Apple Watch release date
We think it’s unlikely to happen, but we’ve been wrong in the past. If Apple was to introduce a round Apple Watch we think it would be a new option added to the standard line up – we don’t think that Apple would drop the current design for a round one.
Should Apple decide to introduce a round Apple Watch we think it would be as a replacement for the
Apple Watch SE. The SE was introduced in September 2020 and we expect Apple will sell that for at least two years before replacing it. So we would hazard a guess at September 2022 for a round Apple Watch, if ever.
There have been various content illustrations of what a round Apple Watch might look like.
In February 2020 Phone Industry published their design concept for a circular Apple Watch, as seen in the image at the top of this article and in the video below.
Why Apple won’t make a round Apple Watch
There are round smartwatches out there – including Samsung’s popular Galaxy Watch line up – but the Apple Watch trumps them all in sales right now.
Whether that will remain the case as Apple competes with more and more lower priced smartwatches remains to be seen, but if the Apple Watch loses out on sales to those it will be due to price rather than design.
We think that Apple had good reason to opt for an almost square display in the first six generations of Apple Watch: It offers more space for applications and is more user-friendly than some of the round smartwatch designs from the competition. As the saying goes: “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” Giving the Apple Watch a round face seems far too risky a design change considering that people have already given their approval of the square design by buying Apple Watches.