The Apple Watch could steal the show at Apple’s iPhone 14 launch event

The iPhone is still Apple’s most important product, and it’s not remotely close. Don’t get distracted by all the people pining for a car, wondering what Apple’s AR headset might look like, claiming the iPad is the computer of the future, or wishing Apple would go ahead and build a TV already. The iPhone still accounts for most of Apple’s revenue, and iPhone users — who also pay for iCloud and Apple TV Plus and buy cases and cables and headphones and smartwatches — account for even more. Apple has been The iPhone Company for more than a decade, and that’s not changing anytime soon.

But the iPhone might not be the star of the show on Wednesday, when Apple holds its annual fall product showcase. We’re expecting new iPhones, yes — an iPhone 14, an iPhone 14 Pro, and an iPhone 14 Pro Max — but they look likely to be the latest in a long line of slightly better iPhones. The iPhone is a terrific but thoroughly mature product, and its most whiz-bang innovations may have already happened.

Keep an eye on Apple’s smaller screen instead because the most important device category Apple will talk about this week is the Apple Watch. Apple appears to be preparing to announce as many as three new smartwatch models, including an Apple Watch Pro that is bigger (apparently much bigger), more powerful, and more useful than any previous watch versions. And in the process, it could also finally start to make the case for the watch as the next great Apple device.

Seven years after its original debut, Apple has turned the watch into a super successful iPhone accessory. But the watch could be more, and Apple needs to finally make it happen — because we’re not all getting Apple headsets anytime soon, and good luck waiting for that car to finally ship. As the smartphone market continues to settle and people keep their phones longer and stay entrenched in their ecosystems, the watch gives Apple a chance to have the next big thing that’s already here. The smartwatch is old hat, but the wrist-computer era might be just beginning.

Apple Watch spring event pictures

When Apple first launched the watch, it talked about fitness but also communication and…