10th anniversary Apple Watch X may use a magnetic band system

The tenth anniversary “Apple Watch X” could bring a major design change with the possibility of a new, simpler band-release mechanism based on magnets.

Apple Watch Series 4 with the stainless steel band
Apple Watch may gain a magnetic band mechanism | Image: Saul Flores/Unsplash

The original Apple Watch was launched in April 2015. The rumored model celebrating the wearable device’s upcoming anniversary may sport a thinner case and introduce a whole new band-release mechanism.

Apple Watch X in 2024 or 2025

The band mechanism has stayed the same since the original watch for compatibility reasons, helping create a multi-billion-dollar ecosystem for third-party bands.

It takes up a lot of space in the watch that could be used for a bigger battery, so Apple is apparently deliberating a switch to a more elegant magnetic solution.

This is a crux of the latest edition of Mark Gurman’s Power On newsletter for Bloomberg. The so-called Apple Watch X could file as “the biggest overhaul yet,” with Apple planning to launch it “either in 2024 or 2025.”

A magnetic band-release mechanism

“With the X model, Apple designers are working on a thinner watch case and have explored changing the way bands are attached to the device,” Gurman wrote.

As for the rumored magnetic band-release mechanism, the company has “explored” it, but it’s “unclear” if it will be ready or used in the Watch X revamp.

From the newsletter:

Starting with the original Apple Watch, bands have slid into the sides of the chassis and attached with a locking mechanism. Keeping that design the same lets the bands stay compatible with old and new models, but it has downsides. People involved in the development of new Apple Watches say the system takes up a considerable amount of space that could be better filled with a bigger battery or other components.

The magnetic band system was first hinted at recently by a source saying Apple is readying a new band with a magnetic buckle.

A magnetic buckle in the works?

Apple already sells the Modern Buckle band that sports a two-piece magnetic closure, so this is nothing new. However, Gurman isn’t referring to a closure mechanism in his newsletter but the band-release mechanism, which consists of the band portion and the strap system within the Apple Watch’s band slot.

Apple’s former design head Jony Ive originally wanted to create a single strap attached by magnets. Perhaps Apple will fulfill and broaden his vision with the rumored Apple Watch X in 2024 or 2025.

Another low-key year for the regular Apple Watch

Gurman also reiterated his earlier reporting about the 2023 Apple Watch lineup consisting of new standard and Ultra models.

The Apple Watch Series 9 will succeed the current Apple Watch Series 8 and be available in the same sizes as current models at 41 and 45 millimeters. Apple should also release a second-generation Apple Watch Ultra.

“The most noticeable differences will be faster processors and fresh colors,” the newsletter reads.

“In terms of new features, it’s arguably the most minor upgrade in the product’s history.” The new watches are expected to be unveiled at the pre-taped iPhone 15 event, rumored to be held in the online format on September 12.

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