A boring Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 might make style a big feature

Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 are expected to be unveiled in less than two months, but not much is known about what will be new.

We expect Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 to include the first CPU upgrade in years. The successor to the Apple Watch may also use a 3D printing process for some hardware parts.

Perhaps Apple has a few surprise features in store for watchOS 10. Maybe we’ll see a new watch face that Apple hasn’t shown yet. New versions of iOS almost always have new software features that only exist on new iPhones. Could we see this happen on the watch this year?

I don’t think Apple Watch Series 9 will have a new design. The original Apple Watch, Series 1/2, and Series 3 shared the same case design. Apple Watch Series 4, 5, and 6 shared a new design of their own with less boxy, larger screens.

Apple Watch Series 7 was a much more subtle redesign, but the bezels were reduced enough to make the previous versions look old. Apple Watch Series 8 maintained the look. If Apple sticks to using each design for at least three generations, that would mean the Series 9 will look like the 7 and 8.

At the same time, Series 9 could lean into looks for its most obvious change.

Apple Watch Series 6 introduced the blood oxygen sensor, but my favorite feature of that generation was color. Apple just may be planning to use new color options to market Apple Watch Series 9 as something new.

Hopefully, another color option will also be the most obvious new feature for Apple Watch Ultra 2. A darker titanium option will look sleek and add variety to the line. Apple will almost certainly refresh the band lineup for the new Apple Watches in September.

New colors are always welcome, but it’s most interesting when Apple tries a new band type altogether. The discontinued Woven Nylon strap could always be revived, or Apple could introduce something new.

I’d also like to see more variety in the Apple Watch Ultra band line. The current lineup of three bands in three colors didn’t get a spring refresh, so new colors are guaranteed to be paired with the Apple Watch Ultra 2.

I would also love to see Apple Watch Ultra have its own metal bands that use titanium. The Apple Watch Series line has stainless steel bands to match. Titanium bracelets from Apple could help dress up the Ultra.

Third-party Apple Watch band companies already tackle this area, but Apple could provide the level of detail that’s needed in color matching the titanium material perfectly.

Barring any late-breaking rumors, my prediction for Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2 is that case colors, band colors, and maybe even band styles will be the most new thing about this year’s refresh.

What about bringing the Action button from the Ultra to the Series 9? I think any design change to the Series line will be saved for the Apple Watch Series 10 in September 2024. If the Series line does gain an Action button, keeping it exclusive to the Ultra line another year feels right.

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