When Apple was rumored to release a smartwatch, many assumptions were made. Most thought that since conventional watches were round – and the fact that smartwatches like the Moto 360 were round too, the Apple Watch would follow suit. However, that was not the case.
This begs the question, why is the Apple Watch square in the first place?
The key reasons why Apple designed its watch square are:
- Larger display area
- More flexibility
- Larger touch area for controls
Reading Text Is Easier
An Apple Watch is primarily square-shaped because the text is easier to read. Think about it, when you have a circular display like most smartwatches, most of the information on the top and lower end of the display will be cut off.
Since a circle doesn’t have the same width everywhere, text either needs to be wrapped or cut off since there isn’t a screen. On the other hand, a square display has the same width everywhere.
So, on an Apple Watch, the text remains easier to read and there needs to be wrapping or cutting to accommodate the text that pops up on the screen. We’ve found the square design to be much more convenient than the rounded-off display.
More Screen Real Estate
Take a look at the following message shown on the Apple Watch:
Notice how the entire screen has been used to display information. Not a single pixel has remained unused, which is therefore, the best way to display information. Now, imagine if the screen was circular:
As you can see, over here, one would need to either shrink the display to accommodate all the information that a square display has, reduce the size of the buttons or make some other adjustment. In essence, a circular display will always have less screen real estate and some caveats will need to be made.
To further drive this point home, here’s a screenshot from the Galaxy Watch Active 2:
Over here, you can see a clear difference between the size of the text and its readability compared to the Apple Watch. While they do have the same screen sizes, the lack of real estate at the bottom and top creates serious issues for the Samsung Watch.
Therefore, it’s quite clear why Apple chose a squared-off design for the Apple Watch.
Following The Design Language Of The iPhone
The iPhone has maintained an iconic rectangular design for a long while. The Apple Watch, from the get-go, aimed to be a companion device for the iPhone rather than a replacement.
So, with that said – it only made for the Apple Watch to follow the same design language as the iPhone in order to create a sense of unity. Therefore, both the iPhone and Apple Watch have kept the same design. Plus, the added advantage of readable text and information helps with their overall process.
When smartwatches were first introduced, all of them had the same, relatively boring, rounded-off display. While there was nothing wrong with that, Apple, as a brand, needed to stand out in order to bring the masses to the Apple Watch.
In essence, since the Apple Watch started off as a luxury item rather than an everyday casual wear device, it needed to make an effortless statement. And, even if you did opt for a cheaper model, the watch must still remain recognizable from a distance.
The square design of the Apple Watch helped the company establish its own identity in the smartwatch space. Therefore, it helped cement the device as a head turner and created a sense of uniqueness amongst all other watches.
Will The Apple Watch Ever Have A Round / Circular Display?
No, Apple does not have any plans for releasing a round Apple Watch anytime soon. This is because the Apple Watch has just gone through a series of design refreshes (Series 8), and the company seems to embrace the rectangular look now more than ever.
With the smaller bezels and an emphasis on a flatter design, it makes no sense for Apple to randomly turn the table and pick up a new design language. Moreover, the round display is already so ever prevalent in smartwatches. Why would the company try to mimic brands instead of continuing to follow its own philosophy?
I bought my first smartwatch in 2018 and have been wearing one ever since. It might get frustrating at times to receive 100 notifications a day. That's why we need to know how to make the best of them and how to use them to improve our daily lives, not the other way around. I write about the newest smartwatches, I create top picks, and I write helpful guides and simply explain complicated things.