The Apple Watch went on sale only two months ago, and Apple Inc. is still playing catch-up with orders. But fans are already looking for what's in store for the next model, the Apple Watch 2.
For now, there haven’t been any photos or physical sightings of the successor. And Apple hasn't officially announced a new model. But that hasn't stopped the rumor mill from getting an early start. Here's a closer look at what you can expect from Apple's next smartwatch.
Apple has considered adding a FaceTime camera into the top bezel of the Apple Watch 2, according to unnamed sources speaking to 9to5Mac. This would enable wearers to take FaceTime video calls without whipping out their iPhone or hopping on their Mac. The company is already planning to integrate FaceTime Audio into its WatchOS 2.0 update, which is slated for release this fall.
The feature is one of many prototypes that Apple is testing at this time, 9to5Mac reports. So it’s possible that the video camera may not make it into the final release. But if the camera does make it in, hopefully Apple can avoid promoting it like Samsung did with a tone-deaf ad released for the Galaxy Gear smartwatch.
New Material Options
If choosing between three tiers and dozens of bands wasn’t enough, Apple may also explore materials to fill the gap between the stainless steel Apple Watch, which starts at $549, and the $10,000 Apple Watch Edition. Apple’s current lineup of watches consists of aluminum, stainless steel, 18-karat yellow gold and rose gold. But it has also explored other materials such as platinum, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Right now, the Apple Watch runs some features without a phone nearby, such as Apple Pay, fitness tracking and playing music through Bluetooth headphones. But for tasks that require a data connection and running third-party apps, it’s still reliant on a tethered iPhone. With Apple Watch 2, that could become a thing of the past.
Apple is already taking steps toward this with WatchOS 2.0, which will enable third-party apps to run directly on the watch. But to bring the smartwatch closer to what it calls a “tether-less” experience, the company is considering using an improved wireless chipset so the watch can rely more on Wi-Fi for basic functions instead of routing them through the iPhone. Cowen and Co. analyst Timothy Arcuri said in March that Apple must move the watch toward an iPhone-free experience, according to a research note obtained by Barrons.
Similar Battery Life
One thing that isn’t likely to change much is the Apple Watch's battery life. So if you were hoping that Apple would significantly boost the smartwatch’s battery life, keep waiting. Most Apple Watch owners don’t actually mind charging their smartwatch each night and are often left with a 30 percent to 40 percent battery charge by the end of the day, according to Apple research cited by 9to5Mac.
Apple hasn’t officially announced its follow-up Apple Watch, but if it follows the trends of its previous product launches, customers are likely to see a new model debut sometime in 2016. But analysts, including Arcuri, have also said that Apple may even consider launching an updated model later this year.