While most of the Apple-related hype is focused on the upcoming iPhone 7, fans of wearable technology will also be interested to hear about plans for a new Apple Watch 2.
Rumors are circulating that Apple is working on an updated version of the smartwatch. One of the most persistent murmurings regards the possible inclusion of support for mobile data connectivity, which means the Apple Watch 2 would no longer need to be tethered to an iPhone.
Standalone wearable will not need a tethered iPhone
A recent report in the Wall Street Journal claims that the next generation wearable will ship with integrated mobile data and a faster chipset than its predecessor. If this is true, the Apple Watch 2 will be a standalone device that no longer needs an iPhone to carry out some functions.
While the advent of a standalone Apple Watch 2 would mean that users may have to sign up for a new data plan, there are lots of potential benefits. You would no longer need an iPhone to install and update apps, nor to answer messages or make phone calls.
Apple has now made it mandatory for watchOS apps to be capable of running without a tethered iPhone. App developers can now only submit apps that will be compatible with a standalone Apple Watch, which will be faster due to the fact that they do not transmit data to an iPhone.
Apple Watch 2 to be thinner than predecessor
A standalone wearable would be capable of letting users listen to live streaming music, and also operate GPS functions. You would also be able to make phone calls or send text messages.
If the Apple Watch 2 is a standalone device it will be a boon for fitness fanatics. Many people use their wearable device to record fitness data, but as it stands they also have to lug their iPhone with them too. The next generation Apple Watch 2 could allow them to carry just the one device.
Another benefit is that the new wearable will reportedly be 40% thinner than the first generation smartwatch. Reducing the bulkiness of the watch could encourage more casual users.
Room for improvement in sales of wearable
Apple has so far struggled to convince the majority of consumers that a smartwatch is a must have item. While many people couldn’t imagine life without an iPhone, the Apple Watch has remained firmly as a “nice to have” rather than a necessity.
This could be a consequence of Apple’s decision to market its wearable as a premium item. This strategy may also be an influence on the release date of the next generation Apple Watch 2.
Some analysts predict that the new wearable will be announced at the WWDC event in June this year. However others argue that Apple is going to slow down the release cycle of the Apple Watch due to its status as a premium product.
It doesn’t make much sense for Apple to churn out new smartwatches on a regular basis after telling buyers that they were getting a premium item. No one wants to be told that their new pride and joy has become out of date so soon after purchase.
In some markets, such as India, most buyers only got their wearables over the holiday period in 2015. It’s too soon for Apple to tell those people that their 6 month old premium device is out of date.