Everything We Know About The Next Apple Watch

Everything We Know About The Next Apple Watch

Apple Watches
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Apple is rumored to be launching a new Apple Watch later this year, most likely announcing the wearable at the same event as it unveils the iPhone 7 in September. When it comes to the Apple Watch, there’s a lot of speculation on how the newest version of the wearable will differ from the model currently on the market.

Not knowing any of the differences in store for sure, many people have answered survey questions suggestion that they plan to upgrade, or buy for the first time, when the newest version of the Apple Watch is finally unveiled, whenever that may be.

Despite not know any specifics for sure, the rumor mill has picked up steam over the past few month, and we have a bit of insight from experts on what could possibly happen when the curtain is finally taken off the new Apple Watch.

Here’s a rundown on what we think we can expect to happen in September. Keep in mind that Apple hasn’t announced or unveiled anything (besides watchOS 3, the version of the Apple Watch software the new Apple Watch will likely ship with), so really anything could happen.

watchOS 3

One thing we know for certain about the next version of the Apple Watch is that it will come running the next version of Apple's software for the Apple Watch, called watchOS 3. At its developer conference (WWDC) earlier this year, Apple showed off watchOS 3 as well as some of the features that it has in store for it. Check out our write-up on the watchOS 3 announcement for a full rundown of the new features, but here's a quick look at a few of the highlights from the update:

Apps in watchOS 3 launch 7 times faster than those launched in watchOS 2. Apps are updated i the background, so they’re always up to date, and ready to launch. A new dock allows you to scroll through a number of apps, the same way multi-tasking on your iPhone works. Apps in the dock are live, so you can view them directly while you’re scrolling through, with no need to launch the app to see things like how far you’ve come on your activity progress.

If you use a lot of apps on the Apple Watch then you know how killer this feature is going to be. Oftentimes apps can take so long to load that you're better off reaching for your phone than trying to access them from your wrist. With watchOS 3, that wait time is going to be eliminated, which is going to make using apps much more pleasant.

With the next generation of Apple's desktop software, macOS Sierra, your Apple Watch will allow you to unlock your computer. Instead of having to type in your password when you open up your MacBook, simply wearing your watch will authenticate you as the user of the computer, allowing you bypass the login screen and get straight to working.

With text messages now instead of touching reply, you can just respond directly from the message. The watch will show you pre-set messages, and a new feature called “Scribble” will allow you to respond by writing out a response. As you write a letter, a typed version will appear on top of the page. Responses in scribble can be written in either English or Chinese and will default to the same language your Apple Watch keyboard is currently set to.

What Will It Look Like?

The general consensus is that the next version of the Apple Watch will look exceptionally similar to the current version.

Recent rumors point to the next generation of the wearable being slightly thinner than the current model ( a common theme when it comes to generational upgrades among Apple products). 

Despite being thinner, the next generation of the Apple Watch is thought to be more durable than the current version. While today’s Apple Watch can certainly withstand some bumps and bruises along the way, the next version is anticipated to be able to handle life even easier and be able to withstand more taps and tumbles. My Apple Watch Sport, for instance, cracked within the first few months of owning it along the top corner of the display.

I wasn’t aware that I had broken it — in fact, I couldn't even tell you what incident occurred to cause the crack —  but it happened with moderate use, something that hopefully won’t happen with the next generation of the device. Important to mention: despite that crack early on in its life, my Apple Watch has remained working perfectly, and the crack has yet to spread, even after over a year of daily wear.

The next version of the Apple Watch is also thought to have a built-in FaceTime camera, which will alter the look of the front of the device slightly but shouldn’t lead to any major overhauls when it comes to design.

How Much Will It Cost?

No one knows for sure how much the next version of the Apple Watch will cost, but expect it to be priced similarly to models of the device that are currently on the market. Apple isn't known for lowering the price of its devices, even with a new version.  When the next generation of the Apple Watch is announced, we should expect the current version to go through a bit of a price drop, in part as a way to clear out older inventory.

If the updates to the Apple Watch are significant, as many anticipate they might be, then we may also see a situation where Apple continues to offer the original version of the Watch for another year or so but at a price cut from the current model. So, purchasing the original Apple Watch Sport, for instance, might be $100 cheaper than purchasing the next generation.

In March, Apple opted to lower the price of the Apple Watch by $50, a move that many felt was a way for the company to increase sales before introducing a new model. When the price cut announcement was made, many had thought that Apple was going to use the event to announce a new model.

According to a recent survey, two-thirds of current Apple Watch owners plan on upgrading to the newest version of the Apple Watch when it is released to the public, even though they currently have no idea when that will be, or what improvements might come to the device. That same survey asked those who had yet to purchase a smartwatch what was keeping them from making the purchase. By in large, those customers indicated that price was the main barrier to them deciding to buy, even after the recent price drop for the Apple Watch.

Cell Connectivity

Sources familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal recently that Apple plans to add cell network connectivity to the next version of the Apple Watch, along with a faster processor. Cell connectivity would be a huge improvement for the device and would allow it to function somewhat like your iPhone, even when your smartphone isn’t around.

The current version of the Apple Watch relies of Bluetooth for its functionality. That works, but it means that your iPhone has to be within Bluetooth range of the Apple Watch in order for many of the Apple Watch’s functions to work correctly. Adding cell connectivity would be great for allowing the Apple Watch to run independently from your smartphone, but will also likely require you to purchase service for the Watch separately for the wearable from your traditional phone service, a move that many iPhone owners might be reluctant to make.

More Health Features

It looks like the Apple Watch might eventually have a lot more health features baked in.  Speaking at Startup Fest Europe recently in Amsterdam, Cook said that he thought that the Apple Watch had “enormous” potential when it comes to healthcare, and could ultimately be used as a warning system of sorts for health problems, similar to how the check engine light works in your car. That way you might know something is wrong before you ever experience any physical symptoms.

"If you think about some of society's biggest problems and challenges, one of the ones that we are really focused on is health,” CNBC reports Cook saying at the conference. "And arguably the health care system can be made much simpler, can have much better results, you can have patients that really feel like customers...and have systems and applications that bring out the best in the medical professionals...I think the runway there is enormous.”

He goes on to talk about how much he enjoys using the Apple Watch, and how he feels the device might one day become even more common.

"I love the watch. One day, this is my prediction, we will look back and we will wonder: how can I ever have gone without the Watch, ” Cook said. “Because the holy grail of the watch is being able to monitor more and more of what's going on in the body. It's not technologically possible to do it today to the extent that we can imagine, but it will be,”