No one is really sure when the Apple Watch 2 will be launched, but it seems that company executives have taken the decision to order components from various suppliers.
Apple has recently been splitting orders between various companies in order to diversify its supply chain, and this time around it’s no different. Cupertino has placed orders with several additional manufacturers.
Multiple manufacturers on board for Apple Watch 2 components
These companies include Amkor Technology and STATS ChipPAC, which is part of Jiangsu Changjiang Electronics Technology. These two will join Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE) in manufacturing the system-in-package modules used in the Apple Watch 2.
Substrate will be supplied by Kinsus Interconnect Technology, and Samsung will provide processors, mobile DRAM, NAND flash and other peripheral chips.
It is thought that the Apple Watch 2 will sell only sliightly more units than the first generation smartwatch. Therefore it does not seem likely that the use of multiple suppliers was inspired by predictions of high demand.
It is more likely that Apple is using different manufacturers to reduce the risk of relying on one supplier. It also helps Apple maximize its profits.
Release cycle still unclear for next generation smartwatch
Many commentators believe that Apple will hold back on the launch of the second generation smartwatch. The thinking is that after marketing it as a premium product, Apple cannot really bring out a new version so soon after the launch of the first.
A slower release cycle will maintain the value of the wearable and avoid any controversy with users that have only recently received their Apple Watch. For example in markets such as India many people only received their device over the last holiday period.
That said, Brian White of Wall Street firm Drexel Hamilton believes that the new wearable will be released at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in June. Other analysts have pegged a September release date.
What new features will Apple introduce?
Analysts are divided over what changes Apple will make to the next generation smartwatch. Most are predicting that new features will be minimal, and that the changes will be largely cosmetic.
As is rumored with the next generation iPhone 7, it appears that Apple wants to make the Watch 2 even slimmer than its predecessor. The company appears to have something of an obsession with creating sleeker devices, and some reports claim that the new wearable could be up to 40% slimmer than the original version.
Packed inside this slimmer body will apparently be a faster processor, more RAM and a larger amount of storage. Other possible technical upgrades include a FaceTime front-facing camera.
It also seems likely that Apple will release a new range of bands and straps. One option could be a modular smart band that will include GPS receivers and wireless charging battery packs to improve functionality.
An interesting innovation that has been associated with the Apple Watch 2 is smart technology that will issue alerts in case of emergency. For example if the built-in heart monitor detects a sudden lack of heartbeat, it could call emergency services.
This is an extreme example, but the technology could also be used to send an email to family members if an irregular heartbeat is detected in elderly users. There are myriad potential uses for such technology.
At this stage these are all rumors, but it looks like the Apple Watch 2 could be an exciting wearable.