Apple Watch 2 release date, news and rumors
Even those that didn’t really fancy a smartwatch have been keeping an eye on how the Apple Watch has performed to see if the wrist-based technology will actually become a thing. And it’s done well, even though it’s not perfect.
There are good reasons that it should be considered the best smartwatch beyond just being something from Apple – it’s got a genuinely stylish design, there are two size options and there’s a new innovative interface.
But it’s also clearly a first generation device with plenty of room for improvement, so we’re already itching for the Apple Watch 2.
We’ve had a good old think here at techradar Towers to work out what we want to see from the new Apple Watch, so head over to page 2 for our wishlist.
Rumors surrounding the Apple Watch 2 are also beginning to surface, and we’re collecting all the latest right news here so you can get the best picture of what to expect.
- Read our in-depth review of the Apple Watch
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The second generation Apple Watch
- When is it out? Current estimates point to March – although that’s a little early
- What will it cost? Probably a lot, similar to the current Watch
Apple Watch 2 release date
Some believe Apple may be readying the second Apple Watch for a release alongside the iPhone 7 in September – but others are claiming it’s going to come quite a bit earlier.
Apple used a supplier called Quanta for the original Apple Watch, and the chairman has now come out and hinted at a Q2 2016 release date for the updated wearable.
Barry Lam from Quanta said, “Quanta and Apple are currently developing the second-generation of the Apple Watch, expected late next year in the second quarter.”
The rumors of an Apple Watch 2 launch in March 2016, to match last year’s release, are starting to gather pace with whisperings of an event that will also launch the iPhone 6C / iPhone 5SE. It might be a little early for the device though, and if it did appear there’s a good chance it wouldn’t be on the shelves for a few months yet.
Apple Watch 2 news and rumors
With Watch OS 2 here it’s bound to feature the improvements that brings (if not be the poster child for Watch OS 3), including native app support, tetherless Wi-Fi and the ability to watch videos, reply to emails and make FaceTime audio calls direct from the Watch.
Apparently a new wireless chipset will allow for basic communication tasks to be handled without a paired iPhone and the same technology may also mean that lost Apple Watches could be found using Wi-Fi triangulation.
A source talking to Phone Arena went on to claim that the Apple Watch 2 will have a video camera, allowing users to make and receive video FaceTime calls rather than just audio ones.
New models might be launched too, providing users with more than just the standard, Sport and Edition versions available now. It’s not clear exactly what form these new models will take, but new materials could be on the cards, such as titanium, platinum and perhaps even Liquidmetal.
But if you’re hoping the appearance will change or we’ll see a circular smartwatch from Apple you might be out of luck, as another leak suggests that the Apple Watch 2 will have the same screen size, shape and resolution as the first Apple Watch – this is the way the Cupertino firm does things, after all.
One thing which will apparently change according to the same source is the thickness of the screen, which will be made thinner to allow for a larger battery. Yet that clashes with previous rumors that the juice pack will be staying the same, albeit with possible software improvements to improve its life.
It could also have a new breed of smart band to go along with it, as a recent patent application has been filed for a strap that has light fibres woven in, meaning you’ll be able to get notifications from your wrist all the way around.
Hopefully it won’t flash or be too overt – simply function as a second screen that could give more information than the smaller screen could.
Overall we’re really not sure what to expect from the Apple Watch 2 just yet and we’re sure it will hold plenty of surprises and features beyond what we’ve heard so far and beyond what the original Apple Watch (which will be getting Watch OS 2) is capable of.
Apple Watch 2: what we want to see
Now we’ve spent a decent chunk of time with the original Apple Watch it’s got us thinking – how can Apple improve on its first wearable? Well, in a number of ways it turns out and most of them haven’t been addressed by Apple Watch OS 2.
So without further ado, here’s what we want to see from the Apple Watch 2.
1. Longer battery life
We never expected the Apple Watch would have great battery life, after all few smartwatches outside of Pebble do really, and with around a day and a half manageable on a single charge we’d like to see a bit more.
Charging a phone once a day is bad enough, but having to charge your watch that frequently (or at all really) is a bit much and the prospect of having your watch run out of battery when you’re away from a charger isn’t terribly appealing either. So we really, really hope that the Apple Watch 2 has better battery life.
We don’t expect miracles, but would two or even three days between charges really be so much to ask?
2. A round face
Some people are probably big fans of the Apple Watch’s square design and we’re not saying the Apple Watch 2 needs to ditch that, but just as the Apple Watch has multiple size options the Apple Watch 2 could offer multiple shape choices, so you can pick between a square and a circle.
That would instantly make it a lot more appealing to a lot more people and it’s a logical evolution of all the customisation options offered by the first gen model, giving you one more way to make the Apple Watch your own.
3. A less chunky design
The Apple Watch is actually a little smaller than most competitors, but it’s still big by wristwatch standards and it’s got a slightly chunky design, so we’d like to see Apple refine that a little.
Chunky is not a word that comes to mind when looking at most Apple products, but we’re hopeful that a change will come there, after all this is a first generation device, so Apple is presumably just focused on getting the basics right.
4. Android compatibility
This won’t happen, but wouldn’t it be amazing if it did? Right now no-one with an Android phone is going to buy the Apple Watch (though Apple is probably hoping a lot of people will switch to an iPhone as a result), but if, IF, the Apple Watch 2 got full Android compatibility then it could become very hard to compete with.
The first gen watch is already almost certainly going to become the bestselling smartwatch by far. If everyone without an iPhone could buy it too then it would surely dwarf the competition. Then again maybe that wouldn’t be such a good thing… we do like choice.
5. More sensors
One of the Apple Watch’s biggest selling points is as a health accessory, but while early rumors pointed to a sensor-packed device, many of those sensors haven’t made the cut.
A mix of hairy arms and inconclusive readings have caused sensors for blood pressure, blood oxygen and stress levels to be removed, so it would be nice to see Apple revisit them for the next version. Plus it turns out tattoos really mess with the heart rate sensor.
Right now the Apple Watch is a decent tool for tracking your health, but it could be a whole lot better.
6. Built in GPS
Similarly the Apple Watch is packed with fitness tracking tools, but one thing it lacks is built-in GPS. As such it can’t be classed as a full-blown running watch. So we’d like to see that added for the Apple Watch 2, enabling runners and cyclists to leave their smartphone at home.
7. Less clicks, more flicks
The digital crown on the Apple Watch is a great idea, but at the moment the interface is perhaps too focused on clicks, with not enough flicks. Which is to say you rarely touch the screen to navigate.
That’s not entirely a bad thing as the display is small and avoiding fingerprints is always a good thing to aim for, but in some ways it seems a step back, when most smart devices are all about interacting directly with a touchscreen. It’s also a little less intuitive than it could be, particularly if you’re used to tapping and swiping on an iPhone.
8. A sharper screen
Depending on which size model you opt for the Apple Watch has a screen resolution of either 340 x 272 or 390 x 312. Given its small size that’s not bad and it’s comparable with many other smartwatches, but right now no smartwatch has a pin-sharp display so that’s something we’d like to see on the Apple Watch 2.
For one thing the lack of visible pixels will make it look more watch-like when using an analogue watch face, but beyond that it’s just nicer looking at a crystal clear screen than a lower resolution one.
9. Lower price
Apple devices are always expensive and with the Apple Watch seemingly positioned as a bit of a luxury item its price is very much on the steep side. In fact is you opt for a Watch Edition version it costs up to a wallet-melting $17,000 / £13,500 / AU$24,000.
If you’re super-rich then that’s fine for a timepiece that won’t be out of date in a year, but even Mr Monopoly might think twice about shelling out that sort of money on a smartwatch.
Even at the lower end prices start at £299 / $349 / AU$499. That’s already more than just about any Android Wear watch and that’s for a sport model. To get a classy look that can compete with say the LG Watch Urbane you’re looking at a starting price of around £559 / $649 / AU$949. That’s insane, so we hope the Apple Watch 2 is little bit more affordable.
If it’s not, at least the current model will be dropped in price to make that the ‘budget’ Apple Watch we’re all craving.
10. More storage
The Apple Watch comes with 8GB of built in storage, which is pretty good by smartwatch standards, except that only 2GB of that can be used for music and just 75MB for photos.
Of course you’ll usually have it paired to an iPhone with far more storage space, but if for example Apple does add GPS so we can go running without our phone then it would be nice to have space for all our tunes.