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Apple Watch 2 Rumor Review: let us loop you in

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After a protracted development process and months of speculation, Apple finally revealed its long-anticipated Apple Watch in September 2014, with its release following in April 2015. Rumors about a potential next-generation Apple Watch introduction have been heating up recently. And besides, the original Apple Watch has been on sale for close to a year, now, meaning it's due for an update pretty soon. It's time we had a look at the rumors surrounding the second-generation wearable. This is all the intel we currently have on the new Apple Watch 's design, features, hardware, release date and price.

TL;DR


  • Design – reportedly, the new-gen watch is going to be 20% to 40% thinner. Apple may be experimenting with new materials for the body and straps in hopes to bring the wearable to additional price points.

  • Features – a new health-related feature will use the Apple Watch 2 (and possibly the original)'s array of biometric sensors and connectivity options to automatically send out alerts in case the wearer falls into an accident.

  • Specs – Apple is looking to untether the Watch 2 from the iPhone and simultaneously increase its performance and battery life, addressing common user complaints about the original device. There's a strong possibility for the addition of a FaceTime video camera.

  • Release date and price – analyst reports and industry talk hint towards a June reveal at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, with a possible release in the third or fourth quarter of 2016. We suspect Apple will keep the new Apple Watch's prices same as those of the original, while also introducing a new collection that slots between the most expensive Stainless Steel Apple Watch and the cheapest Apple Watch Edition.

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Design

Apple is experimenting with new materials and a magnetic wristband in order to attract new buyers and improve the watch's portability.

Rather than introducing radical changes, such as making the timepiece circular, Apple is said to be making the new wearable thinner by 20 to 40% and experimenting with new models designed to attract customers looking to spend between $1500 to $12,000 on a premium watch. These models will sit in the untapped price niche between the most expensive Stainless Steel Apple Watch ($999) and the cheapest Apple Watch Edition ($10,000). It's been said that the new category could see Apple explore materials such as tungsten, palladium, titanium and platinum, possibly both for cases and wrist straps.

Created by ADR Studios for 9to5Mac.

Additionally, Apple has patented a new Magnetic Wristband that upgrades the traditional strap with added flexibility. Like the Milanese Loop band, the magnets on the new band serve to hold the Apple Watch in place while it's worn. When the watch is taken off, the strap could be wrapped around the watch, protecting the screen as the device is stored or carried around. It can also double up as a stand, rolling up behind the watch and propping it up.

source: USPTO

Features

Apple is making the Watch automatically call doctors when it detects the wearer is in peril.

Health and exercise is a lucrative niche to punch into, which explains Apple's focus on medical and wellness technology. The original Apple Watch can already track the user's heart rate, steps, and burned calories burned. The Apple Watch 2, or an upcoming software update could introduce a new feature that lets the Watch call out when it detects the wearer is in need of urgent care.

A patent application titled “Care Event Detection and Alerts” (link) revealed a new Apple invention which uses the sensors of an Apple Watch or another device with specific health-tracking features to send alerts when the wearer is in critical need of help or medical assistance. Apple refers to such incidents as “care events” and proposes the feature in cases such as a car crash, bike accident, heart attack, kidnapping, mugging, and other mishaps.

After detecting an emergency event, the Apple Watch could tailor its alert based on the severity of the wearer’s condition. For example, in the case of an elderly person falling over, the watch could send out an alert to immediate family members. If the watch doesn’t detect a heartbeat, though, it can skip the first tier alert contacts altogether and call emergency services via 911 or other emergency contact numbers.

Since the Apple Watch doesn’t have a modem of its own, which is something Apple is looking to address in the second-generation watch, Apple could use a paired iPhone’s data connection to send out the alert. The watch could also send alerts through a "mesh network," by connecting to a nearby device. And if no means of communication is available via phone or wireless data, the alert system could default to sending an SOS alert via a GPS device signal.

Specs

Apple is attacking the original Apple Watch's performance and battery life pain points.

Apple has many ways of improving the wearable, which means the smartwatch is due for major improvements across the board. But we'll have to see whether technology has finally gotten to the point at which it could turn the Apple Watch 2 into the example wearable many hoped the original would be. At a glance, Apple has a pretty good chance of furthering its ambition to make the Apple Watch "free people from their phones". Here's more about how this might work out.

Processor

Performance is a pain point of the original Apple Watch's, for interface stutter and an abysmal battery life are common user complaints. Apple might want to address that by upgrading to the latest wearable technology available. Thus, it's quite possible that Cupertino's chip engineers have designed the wearable's system chip on the basis of ARM's Cortex A32 CPU cores.

This is ARM's smallest, lowest-power ARMv8-A design, which improves efficiency (performance per mW) over the older A7 cores by 25%. It uses the latest ARMv8-A instruction set, but in a 32-bit computing environment, which is important for a 64-bit processor may be too power-hungry for Apple's needs. Additionally, the A32 core incorporates new power management features to minimize idle power consumption. Being faster and more power-efficient, it sounds just like what the doctor ordered for the next-gen Apple Watch.


According to a DigiTimes report, Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE) – the company which supplies System In Package (SiP) modules for the current Apple Watch – has already Samsung fabricates the Apple-designed central processing unit inside the SiP, and DigiTimes' sources say the Korean giant will fill in once again. Meanwhile, the most likely memory suppliers are Toshiba and Mikron, two long-standing business partners for Apple.

Connectivity

A spec sheet upgrade is certainly in order, for Apple is actively looking to un-tether the wearable from the iPhone. As present, the Apple Watch can only support activity tracking, music playback and mobile payments without being paired with an iPhone, but many convenient features like text messaging, emails and using third-party apps are impossible. watchOS 2 did bring about the ability to run native third-party apps on the Watch, but the data they send and receive still requires an iPhone to go through. Apple could solve that by adding 3G/4G connectivity to the wearable, letting it handle shorter data bursts itself. Larger data transmissions, such as software updates, could go over Wi-Fi.

Battery life

All of this is great, but it's also going to challenge Apple's ambitions to improve the wearable's battery life. Reportedly, the gang at Cupertino will tackle the problem by working with LG and Samsung to produce thinner OLED displays in order to accommodate a larger battery. This shall provide a battery life increase at the very best, and contain the Watch 2's battery life to its present level at worst. The same report also claims that the Apple Watch 2 won't bring changes to the screen size, resolution, or other technological aspects of the display.


Camera

Apple may add a FaceTime video camera to the new Apple Watch, enabling users to make and receive video calls right from their wrists. The camera is said to be integrated into the watch's top bezel. As another clue in support of this rumor, Apple's watchOS 2 already includes support for FaceTime audio calls, which means Apple might be ready to move the watch into video calls teritorry. Other camera-related material hasn't surfaced, but it's not like a watch can really be a camera device, anyway.

Created by ADR Studios for 9to5Mac.

Release date and price

The Apple Watch 2 could be introduced at WWDC in June and go on sale soon after, in July, or in the Fall. Prices will probably remain the same as for the original.

The original Apple Watch was released on April 24, and it would make sense for Apple to bring out a refreshed model exactly one year later.. This could very well be the case! According to Drexel Hamilton analyst Brian White, Apple will introduce a new Apple Watch at the annual WWDC conference, which is likely to occur between June 13–17. Although multiple sources have suggested a September announcement for the wearable, a fair amount of previous reports have been pointing towards June.

Reportedly, Taiwan's Quanta Computer, which manufactures the Apple Watch on contract for Apple, is scheduled to deliver volume shipments of the next-generation smartwatch in the third quarter (July – September). Indeed, Quanta chairman Larry Bam has told investors that limited stock of the Apple Watch will be ready to ship by the end of June, and more will be produced in the third quarter. Timothy Arcury, a Cowen Company analyst, also claimed that a thinner second-gen Apple Watch is due for an introduction in mid-to-late 2016.

There's no data on the price, but we suspect Apple will keep the Apple Watch 2's prices same as those of the original, which started at $349 (38mm) and $399 (42mm) for the Sport edition, $549 (38mm) and $599 (42mm) for the regular model, and up to $17,000 for the luxury Edition model.

source: Handy

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