One of the most important device releases for Apple in the remainder of 2016 will be the Apple Watch 2. Undoubtedly, the iPhone 7 will gain the majority of attention in what is left of this calendar year, as this is still by far the biggest revenue generator for the consumer electronics giant.
But the second-generation smartwatch from Apple will be tasked with relaunching the whole concept of an Apple smartwatch, and actively demonstrating to consumers that the Apple Watch 2 is a must-have device. And the latest murmurings on the subject suggest that we can expect the Apple Watch 2 to arrive before the end of the year, despite the fact that it has yet to be announced by Apple.
Apple Watch 2 Q4 release mooted
DigiTimes reports that Apple is presently working on manufacturing the chips and components which are necessary in the production of the Apple Watch 2. This would obviously mean that the release date of the device would be sooner rather than later, with Apple having clearly finalized its ultimate design, and now ready to put the Apple Watch 2 into production.
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The timescale involved seems to suggest that the Apple Watch 2 will hit the stores at some point during Q4, which is largely what has been anticipated since the first Apple Watch was released. There were some suggestions that the second-generation Apple Watch could launch in April, alongside the now available iPhone SE, but this didn’t really make sense for Apple considering that it needs to demonstrate that each Apple Watch 2 release will have a significant shelf life.
Indeed, in many ways Apple is still grappling with the whole concept of a smartwatch, on the one hand realising that it must offer something significantly different to a smartphone, but yet also failing to define precisely what this something is. What it will hope to demonstrate with the Apple Watch 2 is that the smartwatch is now a truly independent performer, and not one which continues to be reliant on an attendance iPhone.
Shipment in Q3
DigiTimes believes that shipments of components for the Apple Watch 2 will occur towards the end of the third quarter of this year, meaning that Apple will begin to assemble the final Apple Watch 2 at around that time. The report from the publication indicates that Apple has been ambitious with orders for the second generation Apple Watch, believing that the Apple Watch 2 will indeed be the commercial success that it desires.
The original Apple Watch is something of a curate’s egg, on the one hand largely dominating the smartwatch marketplace, but also being subjected to some criticism. Many believe that the original Apple Watch failed to deliver a valid purpose, and was little more than an extremely expensive fashion device. However, the fact that the Apple Watch shifted enough units to control what estimates believe to be 95 percent of the smartwatch marketplace indicate that it was something of a qualified success for Apple.
Apple clearly imagines the Apple Watch 2 as a luxury wristwatch, competing with some of the established manufacturers of these products, but also delivering functionality that a standard wristwatch could obviously never produce. Thus, the Apple Watch has been marketed in a noticeably different fashion to existing smartwatches, with most of its competitors on the marketplace having placed an emphasis on health-tracking functionality, in an attempt to sell their wares to lively and athletic individuals. These are very much affordable and practical devices.
By contrast, although Apple did feature athletic endeavors rather prominently in its original advertising campaign for the Apple Watch, it also very much branded the smartwatch as a luxury item. This was exemplified by the Apple Watch Edition, which retails at a price point of $10,000; expensive even for the wristwatch marketplace. When one considers that it is possible to pick up an entry-level Rolex for around half this figure online, the original Apple Watch was certainly launched at a lofty price point.
Apple is expected to address this aspect of the Apple Watch when the Apple Watch 2 is released, with a new model of the smartwatch anticipated. This mid-range luxury Apple Watch 2 will retail at around $4,000, and be expected to compete with the more affordable offerings from the likes of Rolex, Omega and TAG Heuer.
However, the emphasis with the Apple Watch 2 will also be on assuring consumers that the second-generation smartwatch is a far more practical device. Apple is expected to unveil a range of health-tracking functionality which was not included in the original Apple Watch for logistical and technical reasons. This would open up the smartwatch to a new audience, and potentially make it a much more mass market device.
Additionally, Apple will arm the Apple Watch 2 with full Wi-Fi functionality, meaning that it is far less reliant on being paired with an iPhone. This should help to answer accusations from both consumers and the critical community that the original Apple Watch was rather light in functionality.
Aside from this, the basic design of the Apple Watch is expected to remain fairly similar to the first-generation of the smartwatch. However, reports have suggested that the next wearable from Apple could be in the region of 30 percent slimmer. Indeed, this has been indicated by Apple analyst Brian White, of Wall Street firm Drexel Hamilton, who makes the prediction that the Apple Watch 2 will be “20 per cent to 40 per cent thinner” than the first generation release.
An Apple Watch 2 with a circular face had been suggested in some quarters, but this is now deemed increasingly unlikely.
Elsewhere, the Apple Watch 2 will feature a FaceTime camera for the first time, and coupled with the new Wi-Fi functionality this will mean users are able to make and receive video calls. It has also been suggested that Apple will double the battery life of the Apple Watch, meaning that this smartwatch will run for 48 hours on a single charge.