The Apple Watch Design is Boring

Other than the Ultra; the lineup feels lazy and uninteresting.

My trusty Apple Watch SE.

My Apple Watch SE isn’t totally unusable, yet, but the battery life is starting to get worrying. I am not ready to start looking at replacing it, but when I look at the options available for the Apple Watch Series 9 models, I am left feeling a bit disappointed.

Other than some increase in the size of the display, and some really good health features added to the Apple Watch, the design itself feels extremely boring. It is interesting that the iPhone gets a bad rap for not getting a redesign after years of the same design when the Apple Watch literally has the exact same design (other than the small changes I mentioned above) since its very first model.

I don’t want to say no one complains that the Apple Watch has become dull, but I have not heard that much uproar about the lack of innovation for Apple’s wrist computer. Maybe the introduction of the Apple Watch Ultra has been enough for those who want something different to not worry about the original Apple Watch line.

My mind might change like it has for other gadgets in the past, but the Apple Watch Ultra is not something I want. I think some parts of it are nice; the flat display is different and looks pretty cool, and I like the Action Button that is available on the watch. But the rest of the device is not as appealing to me in terms of style. I prefer a smaller and simpler watch on my wrist.

Apple Watch Design

When I look over the Series 7, 8, and 9 Apple Watches, though. I see very different in the looks. I also feel like the colors available are lazy and have not changed for years. The only model that I could see myself getting is the Silver Stainless model, but even then I don’t think I would need a Series 9, the 7 and 8 look almost identical.

Apple Watches Series 0 — Series 9. Image by author.

Looking over the Aluminum models, the Silver model is the only one that I find appealing and worth picking up if I wanted to go the cheaper route. But again, I don’t feel the need for the Series 9, I would probably opt for an older model.

These colors; the Silver Stainless Steel and Silver Aluminum, have been available since the original Apple Watch. I like these because they look nice for what we have but it is very disappointing that there are newer colors or more materials available for the Apple Watch except colors that are just not my taste — Midnight (blue), Pink, Gold, and Red.

I don’t think the colors would be that boring or disappointing if the design of the watch had some changes. The same rounded square pillow watch feels dated now, and any color you choose feels old no matter what since it has been practically the same watch since 2015.

The Titanium Series 5 and Stainless Steel Series 4. Photo by author.

A very disappointing change for me was Apple removing the Edition line from the Apple Watches. I never owned the white Ceramic model, which looked super nice, but I did own the Series 5 in Titanium which I loved a lot. I understand why Apple chose to put the premium metal only on the Ultra, but it sucks you can no longer get it on the regular Apple Watches.


Before I conclude, I do want to quickly mention the software improvements. WatchOS 10 is fantastic, and even on my Apple Watch SE, it is pretty great. I like that I have to click the button to bring up Control Center, and swiping up for Widgets. But some exclusive features like Double-Tap on Series 9 feel gimmicky and not that useful.

When I found out that the features were also an accessibility feature available on my SE, I turned it on and have been using it for months. Obviously, the version that I have is not as refined and can be a little annoying, but what the feature offers doesn’t feel that useful for someone who doesn’t need it.

Design Changes Coming?

I am usually not as hard on Apple for keeping a design that makes sense for a long period of time. The iPhone 6 design was used all the way until the iPhone 8, which in total was four versions of the iPhone. Even the iPhone X had similarities to the iPhone 6 design by having two pieces of glass sandwiched between a rounded metal casing.

Apple's Current Watch Lineup. Source:

The Apple Watch has had the same exact design since its existence though, and now that we are going on 8, almost 9, years of pretty much the same rounded pillow shape, it is in desperate need of change. It isn’t ugly and I am going to continue to wear mine and upgrade since the value it brings is worth it. But I really hope the Series 10 (or possibly X) model comes with some drastic design changes.

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Jamie Larson