6 Apple Watch X features that would make the upcoming smartwatch an instabuy

Here's what we want from the Apple Watch X

Apple Watch Series 9 Hermes Edition against purple background
(Image credit: Apple/Pexels/Emre Can Acer)

The Apple Watch has shifted dramatically from the product first unveiled all the way back in 2015. It’s gone from being positioned as a luxury device to being a health tracker for millions of users, and watchOS has continued to evolve alongside it.

Below, we collected six Apple Watch X features that would make the upcoming wearable the best smartwatch for many (myself included). The wishlist includes hardware and software upgrades, from a microLED screen to redesigns of some of the watch's most-used apps.

With much of the talk of 2024’s model being a more drastic revision a la the iPhone X, here’s what we want to see from the rumored Apple Watch X. If you're after a good offer on currently available Apple wearables, check out T3's best Apple Watch deals roundup.

Micro LED display

While some suppliers suggest Apple has changed its plans for micro LED, others seem to think the company is staying the course.

Sadly, micro LED panels at this size and at the required resolution are likely to be pricey, meaning Apple may not opt for it until it can realistically bring the cost down, sticking with OLED in the meantime.

So, what’s the big deal? A big part of the reason for the push to micro LED is that whatever is on the display almost looks painted on or like it’s floating above the screen. It’s a big step forward in display tech and would make the Apple Watch X look sharper than any prior models.

Apple Watch Series 9 review

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

Improved battery life

Another big boon of a Micro LED display would be an increase in battery life, which, almost a decade on from launch, remains an Achilles heel of the Apple Watch.

With competitors lasting days, or even weeks, longer in some cases, Apple’s best remains a few days on the Ultra models or a day or two on the base models.

An Apple Watch X could lean into the solar charging tech offered by some Garmin watches, charging the device in the daylight. Honestly, we’d even accept a move to Qi wireless charging - the current puck is great, but it’s one more cable to carry around without a more generic wireless charging solution.

A physical redesign

If we’re changing the charging mechanism, why stop there? The Apple Watch’s squared circle (“squircle”) chassis hasn’t changed since it debuted. That’s made it easy to identify, but after Apple ditched the Home Button all those years ago, changing the core design of the iPhone with the iPhone X, it felt like a watershed moment that certainly captured the public’s attention.

Could we see a revised physical design with an Apple Watch X? I’d be happy for it to be slightly chunkier for a larger battery, but maybe going more circular is the way to go.

It’s something Apple will have to weigh up against the model-agnostic band collection that many have accumulated over time, but there may yet be a middle ground which bridges a redesign with continued compatibility.

Apple Watch Series 8 review

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

An overhaul of the Fitness Rings

Arguably more of a watchOS requirement than an Apple Watch X one, but is it finally time for Apple to revamp its fitness rings?

I enjoy completing mine as much as the next user, but while exercise, calories burned, and standing hours are all very important, there are some days when we just need a break. Hit the gym extra hard yesterday? Run a half marathon on the weekend? Maybe it’s OK to slow your roll a little and take extra time to rest.

It’s a difficult balance between motivating people to stay active while also juggling their demands with those who need a rest or simply aren’t interested, but Fitbit’s Daily Readiness Score is a great template for how it can work.

By offering a score that tells users how hard they should push on any given day, factoring in things like rest, sleep, and more, Fitbit provides a more complete picture and can help them avoid injuries and muscle fatigue. Many third-party apps do the same, so why can’t Apple factor in a rest day?

Additional sensors

The recent controversy over its sensors aside, the Apple Watch has been quietly adding more tools to its proverbial belt (or should that be band?).

Fall detection, blood oxygen, heart rate, crash detection, and temperature sensors are all present and accounted for, and while it feels like it’ll be a very tall task to manage effectively, it appears the company is continuing to research blood glucose sensors for a tracker coming in the future.

It’d need to be done well, with that information critical to keeping people healthy, but given Apple was able to get FDA approval for its ECG back in 2018, it’s definitely possible.

Apple Watch Ultra 2 review

(Image credit: Matt Kollat/T3)

Action Buttons all round

 This might be a tough ask as it’s one of the biggest differentiators of the Apple Watch Ultra lineup, but the Action Button would be a great addition to the mainline entry.

It’s handy for a variety of reasons, but adding a programmable button tied to Apple Shortcuts and putting it on a mass consumer device could open up a whole new world of Shortcuts development for users and developers alike - and that’s something to get excited about.

Lloyd Coombes
Freelance writer

Lloyd Coombes is an experienced freelancer from Essex, UK, specialising in consumer and fitness technology. His work can be found across the internet, including TechRadar, iMore, and plenty of other Future sites. A keen weightlifter, he's also editor-in-chief of GGRecon by day. When he's not writing or working out, you'll find him spending time with his son or playing Magic The Gathering.