Dec 10, 2019 – UPDATE: The Apple Watch Series 5 has turned out to be a massive success even though it lacked any major design changes. The next year’s Apple Watch Series 6 will be jam-packed with exciting new features, according to the rumor mill. A recent patent filed by the iPhone maker suggests that it would bring the advanced Face ID technology to its smartwatch.
Illustrations in Apple’s patent filing with the USPTO show that the facial recognition technology is intended for a smartwatch. It includes all the sensors the Apple Watch would need to securely unlock itself when you look at it. Since Apple uses a 3D TrueDepth camera system, it’s incredibly difficult to fool the Face ID technology. It works even in dark rooms.
Currently, the Apple Watch is secured by a four-digit passcode, which you have to enter on the screen. But you can also use the paired iPhone’s Touch ID or Face ID to unlock the smartwatch. Unlocking the Apple Watch will become easier than ever before if Apple implements Face ID in Series 6 Watch. It will also reduce the Watch’s reliance on the iPhone.
It’s worth pointing out that not every technology Apple patents is used in its products. Most of its patents never make it to the iPhones, iPads, Macs, or Apple Watch. But Face ID on Apple Watch is what consumers would love to see.
Apple unveiled the much-hyped Apple Watch Series 5 a couple of months ago. The device has received an overwhelmingly positive response from consumers. But the Series 5 Watch lacks major upgrades. It looks nearly identical to the Series 4 in terms of design. Some of its biggest new features are an Always-on display, international emergency calling, a new Compass app, and new titanium and ceramic casing options. The Apple Watch Series 6 is still several months away, but consumers and industry experts believe it would bring some big upgrades.
Apple is said to be working to develop a technology for non-invasive blood glucose monitoring. The technology is unlikely to debut with the Series 6, though the Cupertino company could bring it to the Apple Watch in the future. The Apple Watch Series 6 leaks and rumors are still in the early stages. Here’s what we think we know about the upcoming Watch.
Apple Watch Series 6 release date
The Cupertino company has traditionally announced new Apple Watch models in the month of September alongside the new iPhones. If Apple sticks to its annual upgrade cycle, we can expect the Apple Watch Series 6 to debut in September 2020.
The device is expected to run the watchOS 7 software, which would be announced at the WWDC in June 2020. The watchOS 7 would undergo a few months of beta testing before being rolled out to the public in September next year.
Faster performance, better wireless connectivity
According to reputed Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of TF International Securities, the Apple Watch Series 6 would boast faster speeds and better wireless connectivity. Kuo has learned from supply chain sources that Apple will switch to liquid crystal polymer (LCP) material for the flexible circuit boards in the Apple Watch Series 6.
The current Series 5 and older models use the polyimide or PI material. LCP is a low-cost organic flexible material with low resistance, which makes it useful for small connections between components. It will not only help improve the performance of the Apple Watch but also speed up the WiFi and cellular network.
Ming-Chi Kuo claims Avary Holding, Dongshan Precision, and Flexium Interconnect will be responsible for supplying the LCP. The Series 6 Watch is highly unlikely to support 5G networks, but you can expect faster WiFi and better 4G LTE speeds.
The Series 6 model is also said to pack a faster S6 chipset. The Series 5 runs Apple’s S5 chipset.
Apple has been working on the microLED technology for a long time. Rumors suggest the technology could debut with the 2020 Apple Watch models. The microLED panels would make the Watch slimmer, brighter, and more energy-efficient compared to the current OLED screens.
According to the Economic Daily News, Apple will start using the microLED screens as early as next year. Apple is said to be in talks with Taiwanese display manufacturers to use the microLED panels in its future smartwatches.
The microLED technology can produce same true blacks and excellent contrast ratios. It lacks the organic material layer, meaning it is not susceptible to burn-in issues that have affected millions of OLED screens on other phones.
The Apple Watch Series 5 and older models already offer water resistance. They can survive being submerged in up to 30 meters deep water. So, why would Apple want to further improve water-resistance?
According to Ming-Chi Kuo, the Apple Watch Series 6 could offer water-resistance up to a depth of 100 meters. It could make the Apple Watch more suitable for high-velocity activities such as water skiing and scuba diving.
Apple is also said to be testing the sleep tracking technology for its smartwatch. Folks at MacRumors reported they have discovered a ‘Time in Bed tracking’ technology in the internal iOS 13 code. The feature would track the length and quality of your sleep, and wake you up silently.
Patent hints new feature for Apple Watch Series 6
A new patent may be shedding light on what to expect from the Apple Watch Series 6. The patent suggests a future Apple Watch model could have Touch ID embedded in the display and Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 4G antennas embedded in the strap. Of course, we must emphasize that since this is just a patent, there’s no guarantee that this technology will ever make it into any Apple Watch model, including the Series 6 next year.
Most of the patent, which was spotted by Patently Apple, focuses on stretchable antennas that can be embedded into watch straps. The patent is actually entitled “Antenna assemblies for watch bands.” It describes how antennas can be attached to the watch strap, making room inside the case for a larger battery and possibly other components.
The patent also explains how Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor could be embedded in the device’s display. The patent states that the display could “provide an input surface for one or more input devices such as a touch sensing device, force-sensing device, temperature sensing device, and/or a fingerprint sensor.”
There’s been talk of Apple moving Touch ID to the display of the iPhone, although that hasn’t happened yet as the company has been relying on Face ID instead. Embedding Touch ID in the Apple Watch’s display would certainly speed things up a bit when it comes to purchases and other activities that require authentication, which is currently done by entering a PIN.
Other rumors about the Apple Watch Series 6
While the Touch ID and antennas in the straps are both from a patent, we are hearing other details about the Apple Watch Series 6 that are much more likely. According to Mac Rumors, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of TF International Securities said in a recent note that next year’s Apple Watch models will offer faster performance, better water resistance and improved Wi-Fi and cellular transmissions.
The analyst believes the company will switch to liquid crystal polymer for the flexible circuit boards in the Apple Watch Series 6, which is expected to be released in the second half of next year. It certainly seems like almost a guarantee that next year’s models will be faster than this year’s Series 5 line-up. Apple typically speeds up the performance in its devices every year.
The Apple Watch has already been water resistant since the Series 2 line-up was released, making it capable of being worn while swimming or showering and withstanding up to 50 meters of water. However, Mac Rumors suggests additional improvements could make the Apple Watch Series 6 be suitable for other water activities like water skiing or even scuba diving.
The Sleep app will give users recommendations on whether the Apple Watch is adequately charged before you go to sleep. A couple of years ago, Apple acquired the sleep tracking company Beddit. According to MacRumors, the Sleep app could be launched with an entirely new watch face.
As per recent reports, Foxconn and Compal Electronics will be manufacturing the Apple Watch Series 6 models for Apple. Luxshare Precision will be responsible for the manufacturing. Quanta Computer will likely stop making the Apple Watch models starting next year.
The Apple Watch Series 6 will also face tough competition from rivals such as Samsung, Google, and Huawei. Samsung’s Galaxy Watch Active will arrive in its third-gen avatar next year. Google has just announced the acquisition of Fitbit for $3.1 billion.