Alongside the inevitable iPhone update, Apple is expected to release the second iteration of its smartwatch, the Apple Watch 2, in the coming weeks. The Apple Watch 2 will be tasked with building on the progress made by the original device in this product range, which has undoubtedly become the definitive smartwatch. Conversely, Apple was looking for a greater buzz around the original Apple Watch, and undoubtedly has some cracks to paper over if the corporation is to convince consumers that this is an essential purchase.

Apple Watch 2
Image Credit: Apple Inc.

Apple Watch 2 – Design

Firstly, the Apple Watch 2 customer should not necessarily expect a massive redesign of the external features of the smartwatch. Apple will probably be relatively conservative in this department, and deliver an Apple Watch 2 which builds solidly on the already recognizable visage of the original. The possibility of an Apple Watch 2 featuring a circular face seems to be receding.

Barometer

One of the new features included in the Apple Watch 2 will be a barometer sensor; common functionality in smartphones including the iPhone. This would enable the Apple Watch 2 to measure altitude, and would be primarily utilized in health-tracking functionality. This could be key for Apple, with the company expected to place a greater emphasis on this feature set in the second-generation smartwatch.

Several health-related aspects of the original Apple Watch were abandoned due to technical reasons, and it is expected that at least some of these will be implemented in the Apple Watch 2. This will be particularly important for Apple, as the Californian company featured health-tracking heavily in its original marketing push for the Apple Watch.

GPS

Paired with the barometer will be a GPS system, enabling the Apple Watch 2 to gain access to location data. Again, this will have strong benefits in the health-tracking field, but will also open up the Apple Watch 2 to other features as well. The original Apple Watch was reliant on an attendant iPhone in order to access such data, and thus implementing GPS would be a massive advantage for the second-generation smartwatch.

Waterproofing

It is also believed that the Apple Watch 2 will benefit from significantly improved waterproofing, meaning that swimming should now be possible while wearing the smartwatch. Again, this will elevate the athletic potential of the smartwatch, but also make the device a more flexible everyday wristwatch for the average consumer.

Battery

A particular grumble about the original Apple Watch was that the smartwatch lacked a sufficiently powerful battery. Apple will definitely address this with the Apple Watch 2, with a larger cell expected to be included in the wristwatch. Software optimzsations and a new S2 chipset, with power-saving functionality built-in, will also play a role in ensuring that the Apple Watch 2 lasts longer on a single charge.

New sensors

Blood oxygen level and blood pressure sensors are expected to be included in the Apple Watch 2, as another plank in Apple’s overall health-tracking strategy. The corporation reportedly experienced difficulties in this department with the original Apple Watch, with Apple struggling to achieve adequate and stable readings from such additional sensors. But it is believed that these problems will be solved in time for them to be included in the second Apple Watch release.

Slimmer body

Apple has a particular fixation with slimming down its devices to the thinnest level possible, and this will definitely be the case with the Apple Watch 2 as well. Leaks from close to the Apple supply chain suggest that the corporation has been working hard to ensure that this second Apple Watch will be sleeker than the original.

New display

The Apple Watch 2 is rumored to utilize a “One Glass Solution” display (OGS) instead of a Glass / Glass (G/G) display. This technology eliminates one of the layers of glass from the display which were used in the original Apple Watch, replacing them with a thinner material. This will enable Apple to free up space within the internal machinations of the Apple Watch 2, and also enable the Cupertino-based company to make slight reductions in the weight of the device.

Processor upgrade

The Apple Watch 2 will feature the aforementioned S2 processor, which is manufactured by TSMC. This will enable Apple to deliver shorter loading times, and a more stable general Apple Watch 2 environment.

Band choices

Expect more strap and face options, as Apple looks to keep this product has customizable as possible. But it is believed that these so-called smart bands, featuring advanced health sensors incorporated, will not be part of the Apple Watch 2. Apple employee Bob Messerschmidt, who helped design the heart rate sensors in the Apple Watch, recently revealed that this is not part of Apple’s thinking.

“One great example is [when] I went to a meeting and said I’m going to put sensors in the watch but I’m going to put them down here (he points to the underside of the Apple Watch band he’s wearing) because I can get a more accurate reading on the bottom of the wrist than I can get on the top of the wrist. They (the Industrial Design group) said very quickly that “that’s not the design trend; that’s not the fashion trend. We want to have interchangeable bands so we don’t want to have any sensors in the band.”

Network connectivity

This was touted as being one of the most important upgrades in the Apple Watch 2. However, it seems likely, based on a Bloomberg reports, that Apple will delay including a 3G / 4G chipset, which would have enabled the Apple Watch 2 to connect to cellular data networks without an attendant iPhone. Apple fans will still have fingers crossed for a surprise in this area, but do not expect network connectivity to be a central part of the second-generation Apple Watch.