Everything We Know About the Apple Watch 3 Right Now

Apple watch
Apple

Just a few years after its debut, the Apple Watch is the most fashionable and, perhaps the most widely used, smartwatch on the market. That's thanks to its combination of style, functionality, and integration with the iPhone.

With the second-generation Apple Watch Series 2 having been on the market a while, attention is turning to what comes next for the Watch.

There are major new features coming to the Apple Watch, but the rumor mill is split on exactly when they will debut.

Some expect that the Apple Watch Series 3 will arrive in 2018 packing all kinds of futuristic tech. On the other hand, some observers say that the Series 3 is coming in 2017 and will sport just a few small improvements, with the 2018 Series 4 delivering the major boosts.

Because of that uncertainty, the main part of this article covers the rumored changes to the Apple Watch that seem most likely. For a glimpse into the more-exciting, but maybe further-away, future of the Apple Watch, check out the end of the article.

What To Expect from the Apple Watch Series 3

  • All features present in the Series 2 model
  • Micro-LED Screen
  • Faster processor
  • Smaller and thinner
  • Somewhat improved battery life
  • Sleep tracking
  • Smart watch bands 

Expected Release Date: Late 2017 or Early 2018
Expected Price: US$269 and up

More Information on the Apple Watch 3 Rumors

After the original Apple Watch, Apple introduced (in Fall 2016) the Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2.

The Series 1 was really just an original Apple Watch with a much-improved processor and a much lower price. The Series 2 added a better screen, the faster processor, and serious waterproofing. We fully expect the next watch to keep those features and to continue the naming tradition and be called the Series 3.

 

Screen: Brighter and More Efficient

Expect the next-generation Apple Watch to use a micro-LED screen. This technology is a better version of the OLED screen in the current models and should offer a brighter image and require less battery life. A longer-lasting battery is always good for a wearable, and a brighter screen is a big help when using the watch in sunlight.

Better Brains: Faster Processor

Just like every new iPhone is built around a new processor, each new version of the Apple Watch gets a smarter brain. Expect to see the Apple Watch Series 3 sporting an Apple S3 chip. The jump from the S1P in the first-generation Apple Watch to the S2 in the Series 2 delivered a noticeable improvement in speed and power. Don't expect the same gains this time around, but even a small speed boost never hurts.

New Design: Smaller, Thinner Body

Because the Apple Watch Series 2 was heavier than the original Apple Watch, it was a rare instance of Apple being un-Apple-like. To be clear, we're talking about 3 to 4 grams here (a gram is roughly the weight of a standard paperclip), so it's doubtful many people even felt a difference. Expect those grams to disappear with the Apple Watch Series 3. While it might not be thinner or lighter than the original model, we'd bet that the Series 3 will tilt the scales less than the Series 2.

Battery Life: Improved, But How Much?

Battery life was a major area of improvement for the Series 2 compared to the original Apple Watch. The battery went from needing a charge every day to needing power closer to every other day. That may not sound like much, but that's about a 100% improvement. Battery life is a major asset for Apple devices, so we should expect the Series 3 to last longer than the Series 2. How much longer is a big question, though. Another 100% improvement in battery life seems very unlikely.

New Features: Sleep Tracking

The Apple Watch is great for fitness tracking—steps, calories, heart rate, etc.—but modern exercise science shows that getting good sleep can be vital to getting good exercise.

Apple seemed to agree with this view when it bought the sleep-tracking app Beddit. Expect to see Beddit, or at least its features, working with the Series 3 to help you understand whether you're getting good rest.

New Features: Smart Bands Deliver More

There have been plentiful rumors that future Apple Watch models will have bands that do more than hold the watch on your wrist. These "smart bands" would actually deliver some kind of features. Some of the popular rumors include a band with a battery in it for extra life, moving the haptic engine (the hardware that makes the Watch vibrate) into the band to make the watch itself smaller, or even a band that can display things like the time. Health features like the blood glucose monitor mentioned below could even be delivered through a smart band. This could easily have been categorized in the unlikely features below, but there's a chance at least some version of these features will arrive with the Series 3.

Very Cool—But Unlikely—Features

These features are rumored to be included in future versions of the Apple Watch, but we think they're unlikely to show up in the Series 3. 

  • FaceTime—Being able to make phone and video calls from your Watch would definitely make it feel like the future is now, but it would require a built-in camera. That would be tough for such a small device, and if it only worked over Wi-Fi, is that much of an improvement over a phone, tablet, or Mac?
  • 4G LTE—An Apple Watch that can place phone calls over a 4G LTE network is a dream. It will probably stay a dream until Apple can figure out how to get a much longer-lasting battery into the Watch, though.
  • Blood Glucose Monitoring—Apple is reportedly working on features that would check blood sugar level through the skin, without needles or blood. This would make the Apple Watch a must-have device for diabetics. With substantial testing and FDA approvals necessary for this feature, the jury is out whether we'll see it anytime soon.