Some Pros and Cons of the New Apple Watch

Apple presented the Series 4 Apple Watch yesterday. As has been the case with each new iteration of this device, the upgrade has no major new features; I go into a bit of detail in this article.

Two interesting points, however. The first is that existing bands will be compatible with the new, larger models. Early reports, based on leaks, suggested that that would not be the case, and my reaction was that if Apple made a new size for bands, they would meet with a great deal of discontent, because many people have spent a lot of money on bands. It’s not that hard to maintain compatibility; the new models are 0.7mm and 1.6mm wider than the previous models. All Apple had to do was taper the top and bottom to fit the bands.

The second point is that the smallest model is big. When I saw the new sizes, I thought of my former Macworld colleague Caitlin McGarry, who has been the poster child for the Apple Watch on small wrists. She tweeted a photo of her with the 40mm watch yesterday, from the hands-on area after the presentation:

Caitlin is not that far off the center of the bell curve as far as women’s sizes go; many women – and some men as well – have small wrists. And many people have wrists that are rounder than flat, which makes the watch look much larger. This could sway a lot of potential Apple Watch users, notably women and teenagers, toward other devices.

Should Apple make the Apple Watch in three sizes? Perhaps; if they’re going to increase the size again, they really have to. It’s no use making the device unusable for a fairly large percentage of their target market.