While the first Apple Watch has only been available for a short time, it is certainly not too early for rumors regarding what we can likely expect in the second version of the Watch, likely due for a 2016 debut.
A report from 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman says multiple sources have shared information with him, and the second-generation Apple Watch will feature a video camera, a new Wi-Fi system to give the Watch greater iPhone independence, and new $1,000+ premium models. The battery, oddly enough, will remain the same.
Gurman’s sources tell him that Apple is currently planning a video camera for the “Apple Watch 2” which will be integrated into the top bezel of the device. It will allow users to place and receive FaceTime video calls from their wrist. Apple’s unveiling of watchOS 2.0 at WWDC 2015 indicated Apple’s interest in this, as it allows users to answer FaceTime audio calls form the wrist, while also allowing users to route a FaceTime video call to their iPhone, or reject it.
Apple plans to make the Apple Watch 2 more independent of the iPhone, by integrating a new wireless chipset into the wearable device, allowing basic communication tasks to be conducted by the device without the need for a tethered iPhone. The new Wi-Fi chip could enable a “Find My Watch” feature for the device, via Wi-Fi triangulation.
Apple’s research indicates that a number of Apple Watch owners are pleasantly surprised at the device’s battery life, often finishing the day with 30% to 40% charge remaining on the wearable. Apple’s research also reportedly shows that most users are satisfied with having to charge their Watch nightly. This has enabled Apple to put battery improvements on the back burner.
Apple believes that it can satisfy second-generation customers by either standing pat, or just slightly improving battery life.
More Premium Options
Gurman also reports his sources tell him Apple is exploring expanding its line of premium Apple Watch models, possibly focusing on a niche that sits in between the highest-end stainless steel models and the entry-level model of the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition. The pricing would fall in the area between $1,000 – $10,000 giving the company plenty of room to play with pricing. The new tier could include new models with advanced bands, or new Watch materials.
While Gurman notes some analysts have hinted at hardware upgrades for the upcoming holiday season, its likely Apple will hold off until 2016 to debut the second-generation Apple Watch. Apple will release watchOS 2.0 for the device this fall, and the new features available in the updated OS will likely satisfy Watch users in the short run.
As always, it should be noted that development of the second-generation Apple Watch is likely in it’s early days, so any or all of these features could fall by the wayside before any second-generation Watch makes its debut.