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Don’t hold your breath: Upcoming flagship smartwatches may lack excitement!

Smartwatches have become the center point of wearable technology, constantly evolving and upgrading with each passing year. These tiny wrist-worn devices have stood the test of time and have transformed from being a mere notification indicator to multifunctional gadgets that can not only track your health vitals but also boost productivity.

With each iteration, OEMs strive to add unique features, boost battery life, and make their designs more practical to enhance the overall experience. From built-in LTE connectivity to advanced health features, smartwatches keep pushing the boundaries of innovation. Besides, their seamless integration with smartphones lets you stay productive on the go, making them a must-buy for tech-savvy people and health-conscious individuals alike.

But but but! This might not be the case with the upcoming iteration of flagship smartwatches. At least, that’s what rumors and speculations about them suggest. The buzz surrounding this year’s flagship smartwatch lineups lacks the same level of excitement as the previous year’s offerings.

Apple Watch Ultra 2 might not be the smartwatch of your dreams

If speculations are anything to go by, the next iteration of the Apple Watch Ultra could get a new darker titanium color. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman’s Power On newsletter also aligns with the rumor; however, nothing can be said for sure. Moreover, the second-gen Ultra could pack a lighter body and a snappier processor.

While it’d be painful for an Apple fanatic to know that the only expected changes for the new Apple Watch Ultra will be minimal, perhaps it’s best to skip buying this year. Since the watchOS 10 beta works exceptionally well, the current-gen Apple Watch Ultra should be able to handle it pretty well. So, if Apple wants to convince potential buyers, they will have to do better than this.

If the next version of the smartwatch doesn’t bring new health features, exceptionally great battery life (4-5 days), a better display, or a remarkable performance boost, it’d be hard for a user to shell out the asking price. These significant upgrades could make the new Ultra more compelling and justify its price point in the market.

Well, we aren’t trying to say that Apple Watch Ultra will be worthless; the rumored darker titanium version could pique the interest of many users. There has been feedback about offering more color options, as it only offers one color as of now. However, the question still remains if bringing a new color warrants an entirely new generation of the device.

Samsung is seemingly on the same path

Samsung also followed a similar path with its Galaxy Watches by opting not to update the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic in 2022. The company introduced the robust Galaxy Watch 5 Pro instead. This year, the South-Korean giant opted out of bringing a new Pro version and introduced the new Galaxy Watch 6 Classic instead. The launch of Galaxy Watch 7 Pro remains in limbo of uncertainty, but the every-other-year cycle could make sense for the entire product line.

The recently launched Exynos W930 chip that powers the Galaxy Watch 6 series had minor changes compared to the Pro’s W920 chip. Besides, the Pro model will also taste the Wear OS 4 when it goes live for all devices, which hints at the company’s focus on optimizing software rather than bringing any radical hardware changes.

Taking all these factors into consideration, it seems highly likely probable the Pro version will come with One UI 5 Watch. Besides, the 590mAh battery remains the largest among its counterparts in the lineup. Given the lack of significant hardware upgrades and the primary focus on software updates, one might question the need to bring a completely new Pro model.

Moreover, the Galaxy Watch 6 Classic might not see many changes, but subtle changes make a discernable difference compared to its previous generation. Notably, the rotating bezel has been reduced by around 15%, offering users a bigger display area. Also, the smartwatch has seen a boost in battery capacity. This iteration offers a smaller 43mm Classic watch boasting a 300mAh battery, while the larger 47mm model packs a 425mAh battery.

Garmin And Fitbit aren’t far behind these brands

Garmin might not be far behind Apple and Samsung on this front. Speaking of the Garmin Fenix 7S Pro. Apart from the hands-free flashlight, it seemed that not much was changed from the Fenix 7S Sapphire Solar Edition, which came out last year. Despite introducing the upgraded sensors and a new display, the issues from the standard Fenix 7 persisted.

Among the smartwatches, the Fitbit Versa series might be the most perplexing one. The variations between the Versa, Versa Lite, Versa 2, and Versa 3 are so insignificant that it would be hard to keep track of them. The lack of distinctive features has left an indelible mark of similarity, blurring the lines between these version.

We might be years away from groundbreaking wearable technologies

The smartwatch industry finds itself at a fascinating juncture where ambitions might’ve surpassed the capabilities of existing technology. A groundbreaking achievement would be bringing features like calculating blood glucose, something pursued by several firms.

However, this revolutionary capability could likely be years away, involving technical complexities and stringent regulatory requirements. Similarly, other advanced features like blood pressure measurement could run into similar roadblocks.

That said, it’s good to brace yourself for a series of monotonous updates in the coming days, as smartwatch makers appear to have made some significant advancements last year. This year, we might not even see the same excitement for Apple’s release of three new smartwatches at a single event as last year, even if they launch the new Ultra model. Similarly, Samsung’s smartwatch updates could be underwhelming compared to the previous year.

It’s highly unlikely that OEMs will let go of the chance to update their flagship models annually, even if those updates are cosmetic and similar to their precursors. However, when it comes to “special” versions, users wouldn’t mind waiting for more substantial and noticeable upgrades. Delaying such launches could create a sense of anticipation, giving users something to look forward to.

Vishal Kawadkar
About author

With over 8 years of experience in tech journalism, Vishal is someone with an innate passion for exploring and delivering fresh takes. Embracing curiosity and innovation, he strives to provide an informed and unique outlook on the ever-evolving world of technology.