Considering that the original Apple Watch is reckoned to control 95 percent of the smartwatch marketplace, it has attracted its fair share of critics. Many believe that the first generation Apple wristwatch failed to deliver a clear purpose, while the independence of the Apple Watch on an attendant iPhone was also a serious bugbear of the first device in the series.
But the Apple Watch 2 is expected in the next couple of months, so what does Apple have in store for consumers?
Apple Watch 2 – Design
While rumors of a circular faced version of the Apple Watch 2 have been prominent, it seems more likely that Apple will be relatively conservative with this second-generation device. Probably the biggest change that we may see in the Apple Watch 2 is the smartwatch slimmed down from the first release in the series.
It has been widely suggested that Apple will include a FaceTime camera in the Apple Watch 2, even if the need to take photographs with a smartwatch is a rather niche prospect. Nonetheless, including a camera would feed into the general ethos of ensuring that the device could standalone without an iPhone.
The Wi-Fi chipset included in the device is also expected to be upgraded for the Apple Watch 2, ensuring that the smartwatch will be able to handle more and faster data transfer. This will also result in location services being upgraded, which could lead to additional functionality.
It is also largely anticipated by analysts that the Apple Watch 2 will feature a larger battery, and that this will be achievable due to the thinner display included in the device. This could be an essential aspect of the Apple Watch 2, as one of the gripes with the original Apple Watch was its relatively paltry battery life.
However, the biggest new feature for the Apple Watch 2 is unquestionably the cellular connectivity which has been linked with the device. This would have a massive impact on the capabilities of the Apple Watch 2 when it is not paired to an iPhone, and thus could have the largest impact on the potential of this second-generation release.
Buyers will reportedly be free to choose from either 3G or 4G connectivity, although the Apple Watch 2 will require users to pay for a data plan. This would open up the possibility of Apple Watches receiving messages away from a Wi-Fi connection, and without needing to collaborate with an iPhone in the process. This would open up the Apple Watch 2 to a wide variety of new features, with GPS functions and the ability to stream Apple Music high on the priorities of Apple.
Another rumor related to the Apple Watch 2 is that the smartwatch will feature so-called smart bands. These were revealed in a recent patent of the Californian company, under the title of “Modular functional band links for wearable devices”. This technology seemingly offers a modular hardware ecosystem which would ensure that the lifecycle of an Apple Watch is extended significantly beyond its current limitations.
The technology involved in these straps essentially breaks down the components currently housed within the watch face of the Apple Watch, enabling wearers access to different hardware configurations.
Apple traditionally launches new versions of each operating system with each major new device that it releases, and this is expected to be replicated when the Apple Watch 2 is unveiled. A brand new iteration of the firm’s watch operating system is anticipated, meaning that watchOS 3 is on the cards. Expect an announcement on the subject that the forthcoming World Wide Developers Conference.
Another action of the consumer electronics giant also suggests that Apple wants developers to take the Apple Watch more seriously in future generations. Apple released a blog post in April which informed developers that from June 1 all watch apps submitted to the App Store must be native. Apple is thus steering developers away from building software for the Apple Watch 2 which also has the iPhone in mind. This should prevent sub-standard software from emerging on the smartwatch.
Apple is notoriously reticent to reveal any details regarding its devices until it is absolutely ready to do so, and thus the analyst community has been unable to find out very little about the Apple Watch 2 release date at this juncture. Certainly, the prediction from many analysts that Apple would release the Apple Watch 2 alongside a smaller iPhone SE in April turned out to be unfounded.
It was believed by some that the Apple Watch 2 could be something of a companion device for the iPhone SE, but instead it seems that Apple will place a much greater emphasis on independence in the second Apple Watch generation.
There are two prevailing opinions on the unveiling and release date for the Apple Watch 2. The first is that Apple will unveil the second generation smartwatch at its forthcoming World Wide Developers Conference, and possibly release the device in the coming months. Another opinion is that Apple will wait for the release of the iPhone 7 before unveiling the Apple Watch 2, and likely place both devices in the stores at the same time, ahead of the key Christmas marketplace.
Apple Watch S
Another interesting opinion on the Apple Watch is that the California-based corporation will follow the example which has already worked extremely well with the iconic iPhone. The smartphone produced by Apple benefits from an S generation device on a bi-annual basis, with the consumer electronics giant concentrating on revolutionizing its smartphone once every two years.
The S device is viewed as something of a placeholder for the iPhone range, achieving significant sales for Apple while being relatively conservative and affordable in terms of production. This linear release cycle could be copied with the Apple Watch range in the future, at least according to the legendary Apple soothsayer, KGI analyst Ming Chi-Kuo.