Read next: 15 best smartwatches of 2016
Last update (29/02/2016): Updated to include new release date information
Apple Watch 2 release date rumours: When is Apple Watch 2 coming out?
There’s no official word on when a new Apple Watch 2 might arrive, and rumours are few and far between, but we’ll be updating this article with all of the information we find as soon as it emerges so watch this space.
The latest rumour suggests the new Apple Watch will be here in mid- to late 2016, according to Apple Insider. However, the rumour has arisen from a Cowen and Company report, and it’s unclear whether it’s based on any research or purely speculative.
Rumours then suggested that the Apple Watch would enter trial production by the end of January 2016. The report, first picked up by GforGames, suggests that first-generation Apple Watch manufacturer Quanta is set to enter trial production for the second-gen werable by the end of the January, with a potential April 2016 launch date. If true, it means that we’d see the second-generation Apple wearable a year after Apple introduced the product to the market (in a similar way that it upgrades its iPhones and iPads).
If the latest rumours are to be believed, we may not be seeing the Apple Watch until later on this year, possibly not until September 2016. However, it seems that Apple is planning to host an event on 15 March 2016 where it’ll be announcing the iPad Air 3 and its 4in iPhone, coined the iPhone 5se. Alongside these two new products will sit a number of new Apple Watch bands – according to a 9to5Mac source, we’ll be seeing the announcement of new Sports band colours as well as a black Milanese Loop band and a completely a new band, created from a new material.
Update (29/02/2016): Rumours originally suggested that Apple was to host an event on March 15 to showcase the iPhone 5se along with a number of new Apple Watch bands, although now it seems to have changed. Don’t fret, though, as according toAppleInsider, you won’t have to wait much longer. Sourcing UnderKG, the publication claims that Apple has pushed back the announcement by a week, and the event will now take place on Tuesday 22 March 2016. The source doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to leaks, although it did get its hands on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus before they were announced by Apple.
Apple Watch 2 rumours
We put together a wishlist of the features we want to see in the Apple Watch 2 just days after we got our first glimpse of Apple Watch last year, but now we’ve got some actual rumours to add to it, which allegedly come from sources familiar with Apple’s plans, according to9To5Mac.
New details indicate that the Apple Watch 2 will be packed with new improvements, which could include a front-facing video camera for FaceTime chats, and a wireless chipset that will make the watch capable of standing on its own.
According to Digitimes, Apple is currently seeking a second manufacturer to help it build the Apple Watch 2. “With a plan to release a second-generation Apple Watch in 2016, Apple is currently talking to Inventec, Wistron and Foxconn Electronics (Hon Hai Precision Industry) to seek another manufacturer aside from Quanta Computer,” it reports.
The latest patent to hit the internet regarding the highly-anticipated Apple Watch 2 is an interesting one. Instead of focusing on the design of the Watch or its hardware, this latest patent is more software orientated. The patent is entitled “Volume Control for Mobile Device Using a Wireless Device” which was filed back in 2015 along with a slew of other Apple Watch related patents. The patent describes a device that can adjust the alert volume of the iPhone based on the level of sound generated.
But how would this be achieved? According to the patent, Apple would use the smartwatch’s built-in microphone to grab a sample of the iPhone ringtone, analyse it and adjust the volume of the iPhone accordingly. Though it seems a bit pointless, it could mean the end of missing notifications – if the iPhone’s alert volume is too low, the Watch would notice and increase its volume. It could also work the other way around too, with loud alerts being turned down in quiet situations, such as in the office or a library.
Apple Watch 2 rumours: Camera
With a FaceTime camera on the second-generation Apple Watch, users would be able to make and receive video calls via their wrists. It’s apparently designed to sit in the top bezel of the Apple Watch 2. When WatchOS 2 arrives later this year as an update for the current Apple Watch, FaceTime audio calls will become available on the smartwatch, which could be an indication that the company will soon move on to video calls.
Apple Watch 2 rumours: WiFi chip for tetherless
In addition to the rumours about a camera in the Apple Watch 2, 9To5Mac’s sources also say that the next Apple Watch will rely less on the iPhone, thanks to a new feature it’s dubbed tetherless.
The current Apple Watch relies heavily on the iPhone for almost every feature, aside from limited activity tracking, music playback and mobile payment. Should the rumours be true, the Apple Watch 2 should be more capable when your iPhone isn’t connected, thanks to a new wireless chipset that should allow most tasks to be handled directly from the smartwatch.
Apple Watch 2 rumours: Design
Another rumour to come from 9To5Mac’s report suggests that Apple will add one new design to the Apple Watch 2, which will sit between the steel Apple Watch (£949) and the Apple Watch Edition (£8,000).
Apple Watch 2 rumours: Better battery life
One of the biggest complaints about the Apple Watch is the battery life. It should last for a day, but in many cases users have found themselves unable to make the Apple Watch last past 6pm, sometimes even earlier. Plus, the drain it puts on your iPhone’s battery is quite significant too.
However, Apple has apparently deemed the Apple Watch’s battery life sufficient, so doesn’t intend to make any significant improvements there, according to 9To5Mac. That’s disappointing news!
We think Apple needs to improve the battery life in the second generation to address the issue, because it’s a pretty important one. In addition, if the battery was able to last a bit longer the Apple Watch could be used to track your sleep, something that many other fitness trackers are capable of.
When you compare the Apple Watch’s battery life to the likes of the Pebble Time Steel‘s 10 day battery life, it’s makes the Apple Watch’s ‘all day if you’re lucky’ battery life look quite terrible.
If you already own an Apple Watch and are struggling with the battery life, try some of ourtips for making the Apple Watch battery last longer.
You might also like: Best Apple Watch charging stands
Apple Watch 2 wishlist
The rest of the features in this article are features that we hope to see in the next version of Apple’s smartwatch.
Apple Watch 2 features: Smart Straps
This is something that Pebble has already allowed for the Pebble Time and Pebble Time Steel, so we’d like to see it arrive for the Apple Watch too. Third-party manufacturers could create Smart Straps that connect to the Apple Watch to bring additional features such as extra battery power, built-in LEDs that flash when you get a notification, extra sensors to improve workouts – the possibilities are endless.
Apple Watch 2 features: Built-in GPS
Another downfall of the Apple Watch is that it uses the iPhone’s GPS rather than built-in GPS, so you’ll need to have your iPhone with you if you want to accurately track a run, for example.
Apple Watch 2 features: More durable (and waterproof)
There are already reports of smashed and scratched Apple Watches appearing on the web, and while we’d love to say that Apple will definitely address this with the next Apple Watch, the history of the iPhone has made it clear that’s probably not the case.
The iPhone has yet to have been given the waterproof treatment either, but we’d think that making the Apple Watch waterproof is even more important, particularly if it means the device would be cable of tracking swimming activity too.
Right now, the Apple Watch does boast some water resistance that’s IPX7 rated, which means you should be fine if you’re out with your Apple Watch in the rain, but Apple doesn’t recommend wearing it in the shower so definitely not a swimming pool.
Apple Watch 2 features: Circular display option
We were slightly disappointed when the Apple Watch was unveiled with a rectangular display. We’d fallen in love with the LG G Watch R, and since then a number of other stunning round Android Wear smartwatches have surfaced including the Motorola Moto 360. In fact, a new circular smartwatch from Samsung is expected to launch very soon.
Now that we’ve spent some time with the Apple Watch and seen how small it really is in the flesh, the rectangular display has grown on us, but that doesn’t mean we’re completely satisfied. We’d like the option of a circular watch face in the future, and perhaps that’ll come with Apple Watch 2.
Apple Watch 2 features: Thinner
We’ve already mentioned that the Apple Watch is surprisingly small, particularly if you opt for the 38mm model, but it is a little bit on the thick side for our liking. It measures 10.5mm, which isn’t too bad but if we had to choose one design tweak for the next generation Apple Watch we’d probably suggest making it thinner. It can be tricky to fit it beneath snug shirtsleeves, which is less than ideal if you plan on wearing it every day.
Apple Watch 2 features: Cheaper price tag
This is probably a long shot but we’d like the Apple Watch 2 to be cheaper. Rival smartwatches tend to be priced at under £200, so the starting price of £299 is a fair bit higher and if you want the Stainless Steel model or the larger watch face you’re looking at an even bigger hole in your wallet.
Apple Watch 2 features: A simpler user interface
A complaint we’ve heard from many users of the Apple Watch is that the user interface is too complicated, and we can’t help but agree. There are several different ways to interact with the smartwatch and not all of them are obvious, so there’s a steep learning curve that we’re still getting to grips with after weeks of using it.
We’d like to see Apple take the time to simplify the UI to make it easier to use. We don’t want to be puzzling over a device that’s designed to be used in 10-second intervals. Glances should be just that but right now we’re finding that we’re spending up to 30 seconds looking at the Apple Watch and that’s probably one of the contributors to that poor battery life.
Apple Watch 2 features: Better third-party apps
We’ve yet to discover the killer app on the Apple Watch that would make us recommend buying one to everyone, but not only that, most of the apps we have found from third parties are slow and buggy.
So our final feature on the wishlist is for better third party apps, and it’s highly likely that our wish will be granted with this one. As Apple updates the Apple Watch software and developers get to grips with how to design apps that work well on the device, we’ll be seeing more and more great apps, even for the current Apple Watch model.
Here are 10 of the best looking third-party apps for Apple Watch that are already available.