The launch of the Apple Watch in April brought the experience of iOS to the wrist with notifications, Apple Pay and even third-party apps. But there’s still plenty of room for improvements, some of which could find their way into the “Apple Watch 2," anticipated to launch in March.
Whether it’s battery life or more health-related features, there are a number of ways Apple could improve its smartwatch. To be clear, Apple hasn’t said a word about its next device or if it even exists. But here’s a look at a few things we think the company could improve on with the Apple Watch 2.
Greater water resistance: The Apple Watch is rated as water-resistant to an IPX7 standard, tested by submerging it in water for 30 minutes at a depth of 1 meter. Apple nevertheless warns against swimming with the watch, wearing it in a sauna and exposing it to pressure, since its resistance is not a permanent condition. It would be nice to be able to take the watch into the pool to track aquatic workouts, or perhaps in a future generation use the smartwatch in the same way divers' watches are used today.
Battery life: One area the Apple Watch needs some work is how long it lasts in a typical day of use. For now it’s good enough – on average it can last for an entire workday without being topped off. But it still needs to be placed into a charger at the end of the day, making it just one more thing to plug in.
Always-on screen: When you’re using the Apple Watch, it comes to life with bright colors and animations. But when not in use it can seem like just a black piece of onyx strapped to your wrist. An always-on screen would give wearers a little more reason to show it off, especially with the variety of watch faces available.
More sensitive accelerometer: One drawback to the current accelerometer-triggered screen is the watch can sometimes require a strong flick to wake up, which can look awkward, especially if you’re trying to discreetly check the time or notifications.
Faster performance: While the Apple Watch does a lot of things well, it can sometimes be painfully slow, especially when loading third-party apps or content that requires an Internet connection. While loading for most apps takes a moment, a couple of seconds here or there can seem like an eternity when you’re holding your wrist up to your face.
Dedicated GPS: The Apple Watch can track your runs and use your iPhone’s GPS to more accurately measure your distance and speed. But its lack of a dedicated GPS receiver means it can’t provide you with a map of where you’ve run if you leave your iPhone behind.
Advanced health features: While the Apple Watch can track your calories burned, steps walked, workouts and heart rate throughout the day, it doesn’t have sensors that have the ability to do more than that. It’s not that Apple didn’t want them in there, but concerns about regulatory oversight and half-working features kept it out of the final product, according to the Wall Street Journal. What could help the Apple Watch 2 would be additional fitness features, like the Microsoft Band’s VO2 max oxygen consumption calculator. Alternatively, it could find a way to use the undocumented diagnostic port of the watch to introduce new sensors through the watchband, according to 9to5Mac.