Apple says it is very bullish about the prospects for its first-ever smartwatch as we head into the holiday season, but the company is already preparing to launch the second generation of its wearable in five months.
Apple has yet to reveal any sales figures for its Watch because it says this is sensitive information that could be used by its competitors, but CEO Tim Cook has been very bullish in his appraisals of sales to date: "I think it’s going to be a huge holiday season. We’re extremely optimistic. We shipped the Watch first in the June quarter and we sold a lot. We sold even more than that in the September quarter. And we’re looking for a big holiday season.”
One thing, however, that could dent these sales is the knowledge that a second (presumably improved) Apple Watch is due to be released just four months into 2016. Buried deep within a report from DigiTimes about a boom in wearables from manufacturers in Taiwan is this line:
Quanta, the maker of the Apple Watch, is expected to see related orders surging in 2016 and the ODM reportedly has also received orders for Apple's second-generation Apple Watch for the second quarter of 2016.
The report also says that the Apple Watch has helped ODMs (original design manufacturers) like Quanta report a significant surge in related orders for wearables as companies look to cash in on what could be the next big consumer electronics boom.
While Apple has a yearly update cycle for its big products like the iPhone and iPad, it is unclear if it will follow a similar path with its smartwatch, considering people typically don't buy a new watch every year and considering that the more expensive versions of the Watch cost over $10,000.
Previously, the chairman of Quanta, Barry Lam, reportedly told investors and analysts that limited stock of the Apple Watch 2 would appear near the end of the second quarter of 2016, with more stock becoming available in the third quarter. This suggests that the Apple Watch won't be available until June 2016, which is a date also mentioned in a research memo by Cowen and Company put together following a tour of Asian suppliers.
Details of what updates the Apple Watch 2 will bring of the original Apple Watch are pretty thin on the ground at the moment, but rumors suggest we could be seeing a FaceTime camera included, less reliance on the iPhone and some new designs that will attract those looking to pay more than the cost of the most expensive steel Watch ($1,000) but less than the Watch Edition ($10,000).
One of the most intriguing aspects of the Apple Watch 2 will be to see if Apple can improve the battery life, which is currently between one and two days depending on how much you use it. Reports suggest Apple is working with companies like LG and Samsung to produce a thinner OLED display which would help improve battery life, but unless Apple has made some top secret battery breakthrough, don't expect anything close to the 10 days you can get from the Pebble smartwatch.