While we didn’t see a new Apple Watch at WWDC, it’s still very possible that it’ll be revealed this fall, alongside all other Apple hardware that we typically see.
One of the changes that could be made is the removal of physical buttons, in favor of solid state ones. Fast Company reports that Apple will replace the physical Side button and Digital Crown, in favor of touch-sensitive solid state buttons. The report notes that the Digital Crown still physically scrolls in order to navigate through content, but the button press itself will be simulated through Apple’s Taptic Engine.
This would come to no surprise as Apple moved over to a solid state Home button iPhone 7, and all of Apple’s Mac trackpads are now solid state.
The report says that Apple will make the move in the fall when it announces its new Apple Watch lineup, but could possibly push back to 2019.
Obvious improvements will be better water proofing as this will remove the physical gap between the Digital Crown and Watch housing. By design, solid state buttons will allow for more internal space for things such as a larger battery.
Apple will reportedly use the touch sensitive data to gather more heart-related data. Noting that some sorts of measurements require more than one source of heart-rate data to work.