Apple Watch 2 release date, news and rumours
WWDC is days away and new Apple Watch 2 rumors have begun to circulate about its release date, price and GPS running features. Even Tim Cook seems to be lauding its grand possibilities. Here’s what we’ve heard.
The Apple Watch 2 release date is shrouded in so much mystery that not even Siri knows the answer, despite her advanced knowledge of the company’s forthcoming WWDC 2016 conference dates.
Asking my Apple Watch “When does the Apple Watch 2 come out?” only gets me to this message: “Apple.com should be able to answer that question. Continue on the iPhone.”
There are two important things you should know about this answer. First, of course Apple’s official website doesn’t reveal such juicy information. I’ve checked. Everyday.
Second, this is one of the many areas in which the Apple Watch throws you to the iPhone instead of handling tasks itself. There’s plenty of room for improvement and a need for a sequel.
Siri, apps and fitness tracking need a serious tune up, and more sensors and even greater waterproof guarantees should be added in Apple Watch for 2016.
There’s tangential evidence that such an iPhone-compatible smartwatch for 2016 is in development at the Cupertino company. Let’s get into the latest rumors point-by-point.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The second generation Apple Watch
- When is it out? At WWDC on June 13 or September’s iPhone 7 launch
- What will it cost? Probably a lot, similar to the current Watch
Apple Watch 2 release date
Although Siri didn’t answer the question about the Apple Watch 2 release date, there are at least two distinct points in 2016 in which I could see the company’s next wearable launch.
Unsurprisingly, we didn’t see next iPhone-compatible smartwatch announced on March 21, as some had previously thought. An annual cycle for the wearable is a bit overeager for even diehard Apple fans.
Instead, iPhone SE and iPad Pro 9.7 graced the stage. Oh, yes, Apple Watch was there, too – and not just the white one on CEO Tim Cook’s wrist. New Apple Watch bands and a lower price were all we got.
Of the two release dates, the more cautious September launch sounds a lot like Apple’s slow and steady approach to new product categories.
However, a WWDC 2016 announcement would still go along with the Q2 2016 release date estimate that the chairman for Apple Watch supplier Quanta hinted at.
Barry Lam from Quanta said in 2015, “Quanta and Apple are currently developing the second-generation of the Apple Watch, expected late next year in the second quarter.”
A new report suggests that Apple Watch supplier Quanta will be responsible for all the production on the Apple Watch 2, as the company has lowered its order from its initial estimates.
Sources from the upstream supply chain suggest the Apple Watch 2 will go into production in Q2, suggesting it’ll be launched before the expected iPhone 7 launch in September.
This would give Apple enough time to tinker with its smartwatch and not make early adopters feel too cheaped with a rigid 12-month-upgrade schedule. Whether it’s a true reinvention for a incremental Apple Watch S upgrade remains to be seen.
Apple Watch 2 price
There may be some wiggle room with the Apple Watch price, considering US retailers had the iPhone smartwatch on sale for some time before the company recently lowered the official price.
It launched at a hard-to-justify starting price of $349 (£299, AU$499), and the unofficial price drop during Black Friday took it down to $299 at some stores. Four months later, Apple made it official.
Introducing the Apple Watch 2 at this new price from the get-go would put the gadget in more hands and on more wrists. Just don’t expect the gold Apple Watch Edition price to budge from $17,000 (£13,500, AU$24,000).
Tim Cook promises Apple Watch will be better
Apple CEO Tim Cook just teased that “you’ll see the Apple Watch getting better and better,” and he soon expects “people will say, ‘How could I have ever thought about not wearing this watch?'”
He could be hinting at an inevitable watchOS 3 software update, it’ll take an Apple Watch 2 hardware announcement to meet those high expectations. Ipso facto, he just confirmed the new Apple Watch.
Right now, plenty of people can live without the Apple Watch, and even Cook acknowledges this: “We’re still in learning mode. We’re learning fairly quickly, though. We know a lot more than we did a year ago.”
There’s a lot of promise behind these statements, even if the Apple boss doesn’t distinctly mention the Apple Watch 2 by name.
Apple Watch 2 news and rumors
Watch OS 2 was a small step forward with improvements, like better native app support, tetherless Wi-Fi and the ability to watch videos, reply to emails and make FaceTime audio calls.
New Apple Watch 2 features, coupled with a watchOS 3 update, are bound to let you do more directly from the smartwatch, too. The rumor of a GPS chip for running, without your phone in tow, persists.
There’s a good chance that the next Apple Watch won’t mix things up much in terms of design. Or at all, if Ming-Chi Quo’s insider knowledge ends up becoming truth.
Apple wearable won’t boast any visual changes to the design, according his sources as reported by to AppleInsider. A more significant Apple Watch refresh could happen some time after, possibly in 2017.
While he suggests that the design might not change one bit in the next Apple Watch, the specs, as you’d imagine, will be getting a big boost. We’re currently unsure of exactly which components will be improved upon, but it’s relatively safe to assume we might see a bump up in screen resolution, onboard storage and battery life.
A new wireless chipset is said to 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.
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.
While the March 21 Apple press conference didn’t usher in the second coming of the Apple Watch, we’ll be scanning the internet and reading between the lines of Apple statement (and the lines of iOS 9.3 code) for even the smallest suggest of the Apple Watch 2 and even a minor Apple Watch S upgrade.