Apple’s first plunge into the wearable world is just getting started, but rumors of the Apple Watch 2 are already heating up. Even though the launch of a second-generation Apple Watch is clearly in the distant future, Apple is presumed to be hard at work on the project.
Most sources say the full refresh will arrive in September, but there’s some argument over how big of an upgrade the Apple Watch 2 will actually be and whether there will be an Apple Watch S refresh instead.
Here are all the first rumors about the Apple Watch S and the Apple Watch 2.
Initially, it was assumed that Apple would launch the second-generation smartwatch at its March event, but that didn’t come to pass. Now, reports are conflicted over when the new Apple Watch will arrive. Several sources suggest that Apple will reveal the device in the fall with the iPhone 7, but others say a refresh will hit earlier.
A report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggests Apple is thinking about new hardware for the next Apple Watch coming this year, and will redesign the entire device in 2017.
Related: Why all the smartwatch makers are waiting for Apple Watch 2
According to Kuo’s statement, which was obtained by Apple Insider, the supposed “Apple Watch S” will launch in the coming weeks. The supposed “best Apple analyst on the planet” believes that the company will offer a new Apple Watch much like the current one. It won’t have a major redesign, though. Instead, the new smartwatch will likely have new internal hardware and a software update, but stick to the current square design we already know.
Earlier on, 9to5Mac’s well-connected Mark Gurman claimed that a fully redesigned Apple Watch will arrive in the fall. His sources were correct that the March 21 event only highlighted new bands.
The Apple Watch S is expected to get a processor upgrade, but it’s unclear what that will mean for the device or which processor Apple will use. Reports hint that the new chip will speed the smartwatch up and perhaps lessen app load times.
Related: Smartwatch sales will hit 50 million this year, thanks to Apple
The battery could also get an update, though it’s unclear how much more juice the Watch will get or if the increased battery size will have a meaningful impact on the battery life of the device.
The next Apple Watch may come in even more styles and materials, multiple sources claim. One apparent certainty for the next Apple Watch, though, is more expensive models. The company is exploring price points between the $1,000 stainless steel Apple Watch and $10,000 18-karat gold Edition. 9to5Mac suggests the material used to make the watch casing and strap will still dictate the price, and materials like titanium, tungsten, palladium, platinum, and so on may be introduced to the lineup.
Related: Choose the Apple Watch that’s right for you
Multiple sources state that design changes are unlikely for the next Apple Watch. Now, Apple analyst Kuo states that the Apple Watch S won’t look any different from its predecessor, and Apple will wait until 2017 to completely redesign the device. Kuo claims we’ll see a new, redesigned Apple Watch next year. It’s unknown how much of a redesign it will be, but presumably, the Apple Watch 2 will have a thinner profile and smaller bezel.
Related: Apple drops the price of the Apple Watch to $299, rolls out new bands
A report out of South Korea, which was spotted by G4Games, states that the next Apple Watch will stick with its original design and form factor. The Apple Watch 2 will supposedly sport the same rectangular screen sizes with the same resolution, and the body of the watch will be identical to the current model.
The report claims that the Apple Watch 2 won’t be any thinner — even though the display thickness is said to be shaved down — because the battery will be made larger. Apparently, both LG and Samsung are creating the displays for the next Apple Watch. This might allow the Apple Watch 2 to be compatible with all of the straps made for the original Apple Watch.
Apple wants to make the Watch 2 appealing even to those that already own the Watch, and plans to add some new features to make the wearable more appealing. That’s according to an older report from 9to5Mac’s intrepid Marc Gurman, who writes that future Apple Watches will sport a front-facing video camera for FaceTime conversations and much-enhanced wireless capabilities. This is unlikely to arrive on the current Apple Watch at the March event, but it’s still a possibility for the fall event for the Apple Watch 2.
Sources told 9to5Mac that it’ll sit near the top of a future Apple Watch’s display and enable wearers to make and receive video calls right from their wrists. That wouldn’t make the next-generation Apple Watch the first smartwatch to pack a camera — that dubious honor goes to the Samsung Galaxy Gear — but it’d be the first with camera placed in an orientation suited to video calling on a smartwatch (the Galaxy Gear’s faces outward).
Related: Finally you can reserve an Apple Watch and pick it up in-store
The feature, should it make it to market, would be a surprising but not entirely unexpected addition. Apple arguably laid the groundwork for a camera with FaceTime Audio audio integration in watchOS 2.0, the forthcoming Apple Watch update. However, many believe that the report won’t actually prove true.
However, video calling is no good without solid connectivity. That’s where making the Apple Watch “tether-less” comes in. Allowing the Apple Watch to do more without a Bluetooth connection to your phone is part of an internal Apple initiative, 9to5Mac claims.
Apparently, a “more dynamic” wireless chip will let next-generation Apple Watches perform tasks without needing to be connected to an iPhone over Bluetooth. The current-generation Apple Watch already uses Wi-Fi for app updates and simple messaging, but the report implies that the new chip will enable features like heavier data transfer and router triangulation for improved location accuracy.
Of course, FaceTime video and more powerful wireless connectivity will come at an unsurprising cost: power. In fact, 9to5Mac says the increased consumption will largely negate any battery improvements. It’s a trade-off that Apple may be comfortable with, Gruman reports. Through the course of market research, the company found that the majority of Apple Watch owners are satisfied with its current one-day battery life.
The FaceTime camera and improved wireless are as of now slated for a second-generation Apple Watch, which is expected to be introduced in 2016, but 9to5Mac reports that plans may change depending on the “roadmap” and “component availability.”
We’ll keep you updated here on all the rumors about the next Apple Watch.
Updated on 04-11-2016 by Joshua Sherman and Malarie Gokey: Added new rumor that an Apple Watch S will arrive in the coming weeks. Removed outdated rumors.
Updated on 03-10-2016 by Malarie Gokey: Added in official Apple launch date of March 21, where the new Watch bands may be revealed.
Updated on 02-04-2016 by Malarie Gokey: Added in reports that the March event will be an “S” update to the Apple Watch. Also added analyst comments that hint at a new chip, battery, and features.
Updated on 02-02-2016 by Julian Chokkattu: Added in reports of a March 15 event for the Apple Watch.
Updated on 1-27-2016 by Malarie Gokey: Added in report that the Apple Watch will get new strap options, including more Hermes bands, sport straps in new colors, a black Milanese Loop band, and another one made in an entirely new material.
Updated on 1-22-2016 by Malarie Gokey: Added in report that the Apple Watch will get a light refresh in March and a full redesign in the fall.
Updated on 1-13-2016 by Malarie Gokey: Added in report that trial production of the Apple Watch 2 may kick off at the end of January.
Updated on 11-19-2015 by Malarie Gokey: Added in report that Apple will use a second supplier to make more Apple Watch 2 units.
Updated on 11-13-2015 by David Curry: Added in report that the Apple Watch 2 may launch on Q2 2016.
Updated on 07-02-2015 by Malarie Gokey: Added report that the Apple Watch 2 won’t change much design-wise, but it may have a bigger battery.