The latest news regarding the Apple Watch 2 suggests that the new smartwatch from Apple has run into some serious developmental difficulties. The original Apple Watch was subjected to criticism for its reliance on an attendant iPhone. It was therefore essential for Apple to ensure that the Apple Watch 2 was considerably more independent than its predecessor, but this aspect of the smartwatch appears to have hit some snags.

Apple Watch 2
Image Credit: Apple Inc.

Apple Watch 2 – Cellular problems

Apple had reportedly intended to ensure that the Apple Watch 2 could be easily connected to cellular networks, thus ensuring that it is ignificantly less dependent on an iPhone. But leaks coming from closer to the Apple supply chain now suggest that Apple may have to tone down this aspect of the Apple Watch 2, possibly even eliminating it completely.

This is according to a report from Bloomberg, which names sources intimate with Apple’s internal operations. The article does suggest, though, that the Apple Watch 2 will include GPS-based location tracking.

Ongoing talks

There had been ongoing talks between Apple and cellular connectors ahead of the release of the Apple Watch 2, with mobile phone carriers in both the United States and Europe to be targeted. Apple intended to include a cellular chip in the second generation of the smartwatch, which would theoretically have offered the ability for the smartwatch to download a wide range of real-time information.

However, it seems that this process has not gone as smoothly as the consumer electronics giant would have liked. Apple executives have been forced to concede that cellular models could be beyond the capabilities of the engineers of the corporation in the forthcoming Apple Watch 2.

Even if the company works aggressively to include this technology in the smartwatch series, it is still expected that the earliest possible timeframe for shipment would be December. Apple obviously intends to put the Apple Watch 2 into the public domain well ahead of this date, with the intention of targeting the key Christmas marketplace.

Chips problem

Apparently, the problem with integrating cellular connectivity into the Apple Watch 2 lies with cellular chips. Currently these consume too much battery life, which was already a problem for the Apple Watch in the first place. Many asserted that the extent to which the smartwatch needed to be charged was extremely disadvantageous for a wristwatch, and Apple was hoping to, in fact, improve the battery life of the Apple Watch in comparison to the original device.

As Apple continues its quest to ensure that the Apple Watch becomes a mainstream gadget for the corporation, it is already investigating the possibility of delivering lower-powered cellular data chips for future smartwatch generations.

GPS included

Despite the possible disappointment of failing to deliver the cellular package that the Californian corporation had in mind, there will still be a raft of new features included in the Apple Watch 2. Central to these will be a model of the smartwatch which can more precisely determine the location of a user via GPS chips which communicate with satellites.

This will provide a variety of benefits, but will be particularly valuable in the health-tracking sphere, with Apple now able to measure running and walking distances more precisely, with data submitted to health-tracking applications improved significantly. Other possible GPS features include satellite navigation for cars.

Health features improved

The original Apple Watch saw several health features which were intended to be included ultimately scrapped due to technical reasons, and it is thought that the smartwatch manufacturer will up the ante in this department significantly for the Apple Watch 2. Certainly athletic functionality featured heavily in the advertising for the original smartwatch, and the Apple Watch was perhaps a little underwhelming in this area considering the emphasis placed on it in marketing.

Other improvements will see apps load more quickly, certainly an important improvement over the original Apple Watch. It was suggested that the operation of the smartwatch was a little sluggish, and considering the Apple reputation for extremely slick devices, it was obvious that the Cupertino-based company needed to address this as soon as possible.

Apple will also expand the flexibility and customization elements of the Apple Watch 2 by ensuring that it is easier for users to flick between different watch faces. The user-friendliness of the package will also be improved by producing a new swipe-up menu which enables users to easily access battery and audio controls.

Two models mooted

Another interesting recent rumor is that Apple could consider releasing two Apple Watch 2 models in 2016, with a possible release date of September 16 being named. These are both the handiwork of renowned KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who suggests that there may be a premium version of the Apple Watch 2 coming in the next month.

However, the more affordable Apple Watch 2 model will seemingly be an incremental update to the original Apple Watch, with similar casing and small internal improvements to both processing and waterproofing. Whether this would be branded as an Apple Watch 2 is debatable, but it would once again indicate that Apple is attempting to respond to the criticisms of consumers.

Many people have questioned the validity of this particular suggestion, as Apple has already unveiled the watchOS 3 software at June’s WWDC event. This delivers massive performance improvements, superior access to apps, and a range of new features which effectively gives an entirely new feel to the device. One might therefore question whether a souped-up version of the original Apple Watch is really necessary, but the track record of Kuo should not be doubted.

Income diversification

With the iPhone still responsible for over 60 percent of Apple revenue, the corporation would love to establish the Apple Watch as a significant contributor to this figure. Of course, the Apple Watch is never likely to become as ubiquitous as the iconic iPhone smartphone, but any contribution to the diversification of Apple revenue would be extremely welcome. In this context, it will be disappointing for the consumer electronics giant if it cannot deliver wireless connectivity with the Apple Watch 2, but it still seems as if the manufacturer has a fair amount up its sleeves for this smartwatch sequel.