Apple Watch 2: What is the story so far?

Apple Watch 2: What is the story so far?

 Apple's next generation of smartwatch has been the subject of rumours for several months, as is always the way with the Cupertino company and its devices. No sooner has one product launched, than its successor is being fantasised about and leaks are spreading across the internet like wildfire.

In the case of the second generation Apple Watch, it's forgivable because it's just shy of two years since the first generation was announced. Granted, it's only just over a year since it hit shelves, but still, we're getting impatient here. No one expected the Apple Watch 2 to be revealed at the iPhone 6S launch last September as that was only five months after the first generation went on sale, but there were some that were pinning their hopes on the March 2016 event. Sadly, they were left disappointed.

The big question we all want the answer to is when will Apple announce a new Watch and what will it feature. Apple has given nothing away of course, but there are plenty of those rumours and fantasies flying around so we've rounded them all up. Here's everything we know so far about Apple Watch 2.

Apple Watch 2: What will it be called?

As we've only seen one Apple Watch, it's hard to pinpoint Apple's naming convention for the smartwatch. The company tends to stick to numerical monikers for its iOS products, such as iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, iPhone 6S. The same can't be said for its OS X products however, with names like the MacBook Pro instead.

For the sake of this feature, we will refer to the second-generation Apple Watch as Apple Watch 2 or next Apple Watch.

Apple Watch 2: Release date

The Apple Watch 2 was originally thought to be announced at Apple's 21 March event. After the company only revealed new Apple Watch straps, alongside a smaller iPad Pro and a 4-inch iPhone called the iPhone SE, heads turned to June's WWDC.

Apple's developer conference has now been and gone though, and guess what, the Apple Watch 2 was nowhere to be seen. So where does that leave us? Well, Apple's next major event is likely to be September where the next generation of iPhones are expected.

Supply chain sources have claimed the next generation of Apple Watch will go into production in Q3, supporting a September launch. If accurate, it would put the Apple Watch on a two-year release cycle, which makes more sense than a yearly update. It would also makes sense to launch it alongside the new iPhones.

Apple Watch 2: Pricing

The original Apple Watch now starts at £259 ($299) following a price drop in March and comes in many different models, sizes, and materials. The models are called Watch, Watch Sport, and Watch Edition, and each one offers two different case sizes: 38mm and 42mm. You must first decide which model you want, then you choose your case size and the band material you prefer. There are plenty of options, which you can read about in our separate feature.

Pricing varies wildly depending on your choices. There are 20 Watch options, 22 Watch Sport options and eight Watch Edition models with prices ranging up to a whopping £13,500. We'd expect the next Apple Watch to follow similar pricing tiers - since Apple usually sticks to the original prices it sets for devices, but there could be a few more expensive models introduced.

According to 9to5Mac, Apple is considering additional price points between the $1,000 stainless steel Apple Watch and the $10,000 18-karat gold Edition. If that's the case, pricing will be based on materials, naturally.

Apple Watch 2: Design

Many of the rumours suggest the Apple Watch 2 will sport a very similar design to its predecessor, with Apple placing its focus under the hood instead.

A report from South Korea via G4Games claimed the next Apple Watch will sport the same design and form factor as the first Apple Watch. It'll have the same rectangular screen sizes, screen resolution, and body apparently, which therefore means your current straps might remain compatible. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities also believes the Apple Watch 2 will feature the same design as its predecessor.

It has been claimed the display technology might see a change however. Tech site Digitimes has reported that Apple will trade the OLED display for a Micro LED display in a bid to help with the battery life. In other display rumours, G4Games claimed Apple was working with LG and Samsung to produce thinner OLED panels in order to accommodate a larger battery so while it's not yet clear what Apple has up its sleeve, it looks like a focus is being placed on the display.

Other rumours have suggested the new smartwatch will come in new materials like titanium, tungsten, palladium, and platinum, supporting the claim of additional price points.

It has also been claimed that a new multi-functional strap might launch alongside the new Watch after Apple filed a patent for a Magnetic Wristband. Patents should be taken with a pinch of salt as many never see the light of day but should this wristband appear, it might be that it will be able to roll up and act as a stand when the device is not on the wrist, as well as transform into a protective case.

Apple Watch 2: Features

The next Apple Watch will apparently sport a front-facing video camera that will allow for FaceTime calls, according to 9to5Mac. The camera is said to be introduced near the top of the display on the Apple Watch 2. Additionally, the site claimed the new device is expected to feature improved wireless capabilities, including a "more dynamic wireless chip" and the ability to do more without a Bluetooth connection to your iPhone, thus enabling you to place and receive video calls directly from your wrist.

The first Apple Watch uses Wi-Fi for app updates and messaging, but it is claimed the new chip will be able to handle more data transfer and router triangulation for improved location accuracy.

The Wall Street Journal also believes Apple is definitely working on new features for the next Apple Watch. Two of those new features are said to be the possibility of cell-network connectivity and a faster processor. Many critics have lambasted the original Apple Watch because it's not useful when away from an iPhone. You can track activity and do some things on Wi-Fi, but that's it.

With cellular data on the new Apple Watch, you could leave your iPhone at home, then go out, and still get notifications and run apps. This idea is supported by a blog post from Apple that said all new WatchOS apps developed from 1 June had to be native. This means they need to be able to operate from the Watch itself, rather than the connected iPhone.

A faster processor would make the Apple Watch 2 run smoother and quicker than the original Apple Watch, and it's also something that would be highly expected given the two year gap between the devices.


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