Apple is expected to release the second iteration of the Apple Watch range later this year, and many consumers are looking forward to finding out what the consumer electronics giant has in mind for the Apple Watch 2. But with the release date of the original Apple Watch already certain to tick by in 2016, it will be intriguing to see when the California-based company chooses to release the second generation of this smartwatch.
The first Apple Watch could be viewed as a qualified success or a mild failure depending on your particular perspective. On the one hand, Apple perhaps didn’t do the best job of defining the purpose of the original smartwatch, and thus sales of the device were perhaps lukewarm. On the other hand, as a result of the release of the initial Apple Watch, Apple now controls 95 percent of the smartwatch niche; an excellent base to build upon when attempting to expand the significance of the Apple Watch 2.
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Apple Watch 2 – WWDC release?
So when can we expect the Apple Watch 2 to emerge? What we can say for certain is that Apple has a major event in the pipeline in the shape of the World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC). WWDC 2016 is taking place in June of this year, or at least this is the general expectation, and this could mean that the Apple Watch 2 is included as part of this event.
However, Apple typically reserves software releases for the World Wide Developers Conference, and this has certainly been the case in recent years. This suggests that the Apple Watch 2 could be delayed for later in the year. But this could also be a useful date for the Apple Watch 2, as it would act as something of a stopgap between the release of the existing iPhone SE and the anticipated iPhone 7.
Another rumor regarding the release date of the Apple Watch 2 has recently emerged from China, with the chairman of Quanta, Barry Lam, commenting on the issue. Quanta was previously involved in the manufacturing of the original Apple Watch, and it is, of course, naturally anticipated that it will follow suit and be involved in the Apple Watch 2 production as well.
And the chairman of the company has seemingly announced a general release date window at a meeting of investors, prompting speculation that this will indeed be the likely release date of the Apple Watch 2. Lam believes that there will be limited stock of the Apple Watch 2 available at the end of Q2 2016, with further stock coming online in Q3 2016. This naturally suggests that the Apple Watch 2 could release in June of this year, and this perhaps now looks favorite, despite the previous Apple policy at the World Wide Developers Conference.
This would also make sense, as Apple is looking to separate the Apple Watch 2 and iPhone range in the public mind when the second generation smartwatch is released. One of the criticisms of the initial Apple Watch was that it was too reliant on an attendant smartphone in order to be operable. By releasing the Apple Watch 2 separately from the iPhone 7, it would create the impression that this is truly a standalone device that is not reliant on the iPhone 7, nor any other Apple smartphone.
Despite this evidence, there is still a possibility that the Apple Watch 2 could release alongside the iPhone 7 in September. This would certainly tie-in with previous Apple policy, and would ensure that the smartwatch is released ahead of the key Christmas marketplace; perhaps a sound commercial strategy. But analysts are increasingly suggesting that this case scenario is less likely, and that we will see the Apple Watch 2 released before the end of June.
Aside from the likely June release date of the Apple Watch 2, it is also believed that Apple will significantly extend the number of options available to consumers when the smartwatch is released. This ethos was underlined by the extra band options that the consumer electronics giant provided consumers with alongside the release of the iPhone SE earlier this year.
But with the Apple Watch 2 it is believed that Apple is exploring several different new variations, beyond the Sports, Steel and Edition tiers that are currently on the market. In particular, Apple is expected to release a new version of the Apple Watch that will sit between the most expensive steel Apple Watch and the cheapest Apple Watch Edition.
The Apple Watch Edition is intended to be a luxury timepiece, but the $10,000 price tag is quite hefty for anything other than an extremely established wristwatch. Undoubtedly the Edition version has attracted consumers, but it would make commercial sense for Apple to release a mid-range luxury version of the Apple Watch as well.
Considering that the most expensive steel version isn’t really considered a luxury item, and one can purchase an entry-level Rolex, for example, for around $5,000, and it makes sense for Apple to manufacture a new version of the Apple Watch 2 intended to compete with such existing wristwatches.
It is also believed that Apple is considering producing an Apple Watch 2 with a circular face. Again, this would certainly seem to make sense, as this is something that is simply expected from wristwatches. Although Apple is unlikely to ditch the existing rectangular design of the original Apple Watch, it could produce a circular version of the Apple Watch 2 in somewhat reduced numbers.
Another new physical feature linked with the Apple Watch 2 is the inclusion of a multi-function band, which has been reported on by Apple insider amongst others. Apple has already filed a patents entitled “Magnetic Wristband”, which offers some interesting functionality via magnets embedded in the strap of the device.
It seems that there could be some intriguing new physical options available when the Apple Watch 2 is released, and this could be less than two months away.