Will Apple Ever Make A Round Apple Watch?

By Michael Grothaus •  Updated: 04/11/22 •  4 min read

Is a round Apple Watch too much to ask for? Yes, apparently. But that hasn’t stopped Apple from filing some patents for one anyway…


If you’re wondering “Will Apple ever make a round Apple Watch?” you’re not alone. A round design is one of the most cited features customers want on the Apple Watch. But will it happen? Not likely, sadly. For a variety of reasons. It could happen, one day, but it won’t be happening any time soon.

But there is hope. Apple has worked on a circular Apple Watch design before. That’s not to say they’ve ever made one, but according to a 2018 patent, the company has actively been exploring the design.

So will you be able to buy a round Apple Watch in the future? Here’s what you need to know.

Will Apple Ever Make A Round Apple Watch?
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Apple Watch Display Evolution

Apple has slowly evolved the Apple Watch display through the years. However, the display has always taken the same form: a rectangle with rounded corners. The first Apple Watches had 38mm and 42mm displays. Then the displays were upgraded to 40mm and 44mm, and most recently with the Apple Watch Series 7, to 41mm and 45mm.

The Apple Watch display tech has also improved throughout the years. The displays have gotten brighter, and ever since the Apple Watch Series 5, the display had adopted always on technology.

What all this means is Apple is completely comfortable with always improving the Apple Watch display. Yet still, the rounded rectangle shape remains. But there is a good reason for this. Think about the type of information that is shown on the Apple Watch’s display. It’s not just the time. You have pictures, maps, lists of items. These ALL look better on a rectangular display.

watchOS Is Built For a Rectangle Display

Even though the Apple Watch’s display has gone through plenty of changes through the years, it’s always retained that rectangular shape. And due to that, the operating system that runs on the Apple Watch, watchOS, has a user interface that is designed to take advantage of the rectangular display.

If Apple were to introduce an Apple Watch with a round or circular display, they would radically need to overhaul the way watchOS looks so its elements can fit into the new shape. This is by no means a dealbreaker for a new shape, it just means software tweaks would be required as well.

And now thanks to a patent, we know Apple is at least toying with an Apple Watch with a circular display…

Will Apple Ever Make A Round Apple Watch?
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Credit Apple, USPTO

The Future Of The Apple Watch Is Round?

One patent suggests Apple is working on a round Apple Watch. The patent comes from May 2018 and is called “Electronic device having display with curved edges.”

The patent is highly technical, as most patents are, but there’s one standout passage and a few photos from the patent that show just what could be in the future of the Apple Watch. That passage reads:

“Pixel arrays often have rectangular shapes. However, rectangular pixel arrays will not fit efficiently within a device having a circular shape. Circular displays can have bottleneck regions in which signal lines become crowded, leading to inefficient use of display area. It would therefore be desirable to be able to provide improved displays such as circular displays or other displays with curved edges.”

Apple patent

This patent not only suggests circular hardware, but that Apple is working on a way to make watchOS fully fit into circular displays. That’s a very good thing for the camp hoping to buy a round Apple Watch eventually.

Will Apple Ever Make A Round Apple Watch?
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Credit Apple, USPTO

But there’s a big warning that needs to be applied here before anyone gets their hopes too high. That warning is this: like other major companies, Apple frequently patents technology that it never brings to market. It could be the case that Apple considered a round Apple Watch and just didn’t think it would be feasible or a product consumers would want.

Of course, this patent could be the first of many leading up to a round Apple Watch down the road. As for the 2022 Apple Watch, which will likely be called the Apple Watch Series 8, its likely it will retain the rectangular display for now.

Also, check out All The New Apple Products Launched At Its Spring 2022 Event. Also, check out all the new watchOS 9 features!

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Michael Grothaus

Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.
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