Apple Watch X will shake up the design, says expert

Apple plans a big upgrade for the Apple Watch this year, with a big design change and important new features

watchOS 10.1 update brings double tap and a host of other features to Apple Watch
(Image credit: Apple)

If you were a little underwhelmed by the Apple Watch Series 9, 2024 is set to be much more interesting: Apple is planning to unveil a very different Apple Watch next year. The launch date isn't fixed, so it may slip into 2025, but plans for the device are well advanced.

Our old pal Mark Gurman at Bloomberg first revealed the plans earlier this year, describing an "Apple Watch X" that would mark the 10th anniversary of Apple's wearable. It's believed to be a special version of the standard Apple Watch, not the Apple Watch Ultra 2, and will introduce some crucial new features. This week he hasn't used the Watch X name, but says that a big upgrade is scheduled for the non-Ultra Apple Watch this year.

As lovely as the Apple Watch is, it does feel like recent updates have been relatively minor: I upped mine from an Apple Watch Series 7 to a Series 9, and I can't say it feels hugely different. Gurman says that the Watch isn't expected to sell particularly well over the Christmas period due in part to "a lack of compelling features"; double-tap gesture control is hardly making people break down retailers' doors. 

This new Apple Watch may change that.

What's new in the 2024 Apple Watch?

The big news for 2024/5 is that the next-generation Apple Watch will be able to check for signs of two health issues: sleep apnea and hypertension. The former is when you repeatedly stop and start breathing in your sleep, and the latter is high blood pressure. Both are best identified early so you can get advice and perhaps treatment from your medical professionals. Having automatic detection of those issues is "going to sell a lot of devices," Gurman says.

Gurman has previously reported Apple's plans to introduce blood sugar monitoring in the device but hasn't included that in the predictions for this particular watch; accurate monitoring has proved to be more complicated than Apple anticipated, and as a result, that feature remains in the coming-eventually list. 

It's also possible that the previously reported magnetic bands may be coming to the Watch X, although again, that's a prediction that hasn't resurfaced this time around; the long-rumoured microLED display is coming too, although it's unclear whether that'll debut in the Watch X or the next Apple Watch Ultra.

What is clear, though, is that next year is shaping up to be the most interesting year for the Apple Watch since Apple revealed the very first one. 

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (