It had been rumored at one time that the Apple Watch 2 would appear at the unveiling event on March 21 during which Apple gave people worldwide the first glimpse of the iPhone SE. But over time this notion steadily dissipated, and it was no surprise when Apple ultimately omitted the second release of its smartwatch from the March event.
But is there is absolutely no doubt that the Apple Watch will be updated in due course, and most observers believe that this will be before the end of the calendar year, so when exactly can we expect the Apple Watch to to emerge?
June or September
Well, rumors are circulating rapidly online that a June or September release for the smartwatch is likely. These two dates have likely emerged as the first would tie-in neatly with the release of the iOS 10 operating system, while the September date obviously correlates with the release of the iPhone 7.
And Macworld has indeed reported that the technology giant will release the Apple Watch 2 in September, suggesting that it could be unveiled at an event featuring the iPhone 7. With some already suggesting that there could be three separate iPhone 7 units this year, this would mean that four hardware devices would be unveiled simultaneously; quite a significant event for the consumer electronics industry.
In addition to the September release date rumor, it is also suggested that limited stocks of the Apple Watch 2 could hit the shelves of stores all over the world before the end of the second quarter of 2016. This scheme would involve further inventory being made available in the third quarter of 2016 as Apple ramps up production of the smartwatch.
The interesting aspect of this particular rumor is that it has emanated from Barry Lam, Chairman of Quanta Computer, which was the sole manufacturer of the first Apple Watch. It is largely expected that Quanta will once more be involved in the production of the second Apple Watch, and thus Lam must obviously have inside information on the subject.
If Lam is indeed correct, Apple would be likely to launch the Apple Watch 2 during the Worldwide Developers Conference 2016 event, which is due to be held in June. This event has focused on software releases in recent years, but it could be that Apple is about to refocus the emphasis of the event to hardware as well as software.
Apple attempted to compensate for the lack of the Apple Watch 2 at its March event by releasing numerous brand new interchangeable straps for the original Apple Watch, indicating a general policy of customization for this product range.
And Apple also slashed the price of the smartwatch significantly; a decision that was generally welcomed by the analyst community. With the price of the smartwatch decreased by $50 to just $299, the Apple Watch has become a significantly more affordable device, and one that could hopefully attract more consumers, despite Apple’s existing domination of the smartwatch niche.
When Apple unveils, manufactures and releases the Apple Watch 2, it must deal with a raft of difficulties that have somewhat defined the short life of the Apple Watch thus far. In particular, Apple must successfully define the purpose of the Apple Watch 2; something that its harshest critics would suggest that it singularly failed to do with the original smartwatch.
What is the point?
Many consumers opted against buying an Apple Watch as they simply couldn’t see the point in the device, how it would enhance their lives in any way, and finally how it significantly differed from features already provided by the iPhone. Indeed, the device was virtually reliant on being tethered to the Apple smartphone in the first place, leading many consumers to conclude that simply purchasing an iPhone, or relying on the existing smartphone, was perfectly acceptable.
So Apple must offer new features with the Apple Watch 2, but at the same time it must not alienate its existing Apple Watch consumer base. No-one buys a watch expecting it to last merely 18 months, and Apple must demonstrate that it will not cast aside previous iterations of the Apple Watch series. Possibly it could offer some extremely cheap or even free upgrade to the Apple Watch 2 for existing Apple Watch consumers; at the very least it must ensure that previous Apple Watch iterations are not made obsolete by new releases in the series.
But at the same time, if consumers are to upgrade to the Apple Watch 2, or indeed purchase a smartwatch from Apple for the first time, then the new release must offer something that the previous Apple Watch did not. This is the quandary that Apple finds itself in, and it will not be a problem that is easily solved. Everyone knows how disposable the iPhone series is, and how rapidly the software included in the device becomes obsolete, and Apple must demonstrate that this is not the case with the Apple Watch, as people have completely different expectations of wristwatches to smartphones.
Circular face make sense
One simple alteration to the Apple Watch to that Apple could make is the inclusion of a circular face option. While there was nothing inherently wrong with the design of the original Apple Watch, wristwatches are nonetheless associated with circular features, and the omission of such a design from the original pallet of choices does seem to be something of a mistake.
Apple is extremely unlikely to abandon the quadrilateral Apple Watch completely, or indeed change it to be anything other than the central purchasing option, but it should embrace circular faces. Other smartwatch manufacturers have delivered this, and there is absolutely no reason why the world’s largest consumer electronics company should not do the same.
There is no doubt that Apple has a lot of questions to answer when the Apple Watch 2 is unveiled and released, and one of the exciting thing for fans of the corporation is that this second generation smartwatch looks to be coming sooner rather than later.