Apple's New Watch Pro Band Could Be a Point of Contention

Get ready, because Strapgate is almost upon us

  • The Apple Watch Pro’s strap may not fit existing watches. 
  • But this may just be because it’s bigger.
  • People love a good -gate scandal.
A silver and black analog watch with a reddish-tan colored band.

Taylor Beach / Unsplash

The next Apple Watch could be extra-large, but it might be dwarfed by the fuss over its new strap design.

Apple's new "pro" Apple Watch, likely coming at its Far Out event on September 7, could come with a new strap design that isn't compatible with older watches. If so, this would be the first time Apple has changed the strap, which has remained constant since the original Apple Watch launched in 2015. But is this really a gate-worthy scandal? We wouldn't bet against it. 

"If the new Apple Watch Pro has a new design for the band, I think there will be mixed opinions," manufacturing and software expert Adam Rossi told Lifewire via email. "When Apple changes a design, making formerly compatible accessories no longer compatible with the new design, there are always three camps of people: those who are so excited for the latest Apple product that they don't mind; those that weigh the specific convenience of the new product with the new issue caused; and those that are put off Apple by its assumption that we all can and want to replace our accessories."

Apple Watch Pro

The Apple Watch Pro rumors have evolved over the last year, from a possible sports model to a fancier high-end model with a larger display, longer battery life, and perhaps new health sensors. 

A larger model makes sense. Apple already offers size options in most product lines, including the Apple Watch. And the Watch has grown over the years. The original came in two size options—38mm and 42mm—then Apple increased the size of the face in the Series 4 to 40mm and 44mm. 

Someone's arm wearing a digital watch on the wrist.

Mitchell Hollander / Unsplash

The next hardware redesign came last year, with the Series 7 upping the sizes to 41mm and 45mm, but also reducing the size of the screen border so the actual screen size could grow even more within it. 

We expect 2022's new Apple Watch Pro to be even bigger, kind of like those chunky Rolexes that some people use to mark their territory. 

A big watch comes with some advantages. One is obvious: a bigger screen. This makes things easier to touch, easier to read, and perhaps allows for more information on the screen at once. A bigger watch also means a bigger battery, which is always welcome in the power-constrained Apple Watch. And a bigger watch means bigger straps. 

"The new strap design is not a big deal. I believe change is the way to go forward and what matters is that Apple is upgrading the Watch in many aspects," Apple Watch wearer and fan Ian Kelly told Lifewire via email. "So, I definitely don't mind if there's a new strap design as long as I'm getting exciting features on my watch."


Everyone—except Apple—loves a good -gate scandal. We've had bendgate, antennagate, batterygate, locationgate, and more. Wikipedia even has a page for -gate scandals, and the technology section includes several Apple-related entries. 

Several watch bands displayed on boxes and attached to an Apple Watch.

Alex Azabache / Unsplash

And yet the material required for this year's possible strapgate is looking thin—unlike the straps themselves. While the rumor mentioned above says that the Watch Pro's strap may be incompatible with other Apple Watches, it misses the fact that there are already incompatible Watch straps. It's all down to the sizing. You can keep using your old Apple Watch Straps from generation to generation, but only within their size class. Small straps for small watches, and vice versa. Here's Apple's technical note on the matter:

"You can match most bands with any Apple Watch Series 3 or newer case of the same size. The 41mm bands work with 38mm and 40mm cases; the 45mm bands work with 42mm and 44mm cases."

A bigger watch would require a bigger strap, which would not be compatible with smaller watches, although—like with the current designs—you could probably force the matter. 

"I believe the Apple Watch Pro will support older bands—though maybe they won't fit as well or look as seamless given the size of the new watch," writes Apple rumor-whisperer Mark Gurman on Twitter

On the other hand (or the other wrist?), folks with a large collection of straps, possibly the same kind of folks who would be into wearing a larger watch as a kind of jewelry, might be disappointed. 

In the end, it doesn't really matter, but watching folks get whipped into a lather over something like the size of a watch strap will always be a fun distraction.

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