The Apple Watch Series 2 was announced on 7 September 2016, bringing new features such as GPS, a dual-core processor, water-resistance and a brighter display. The Series 2 is a healthy step forward and we’re really fond of it. See also: Apple Watch deals 2017
However, a few hoped-for features did not materialise, and optimists (supported by some promising Apple patent activity) expect these to appear in the next version of the Apple Watch. In this article we sift through the evidence and predict what new features and technologies the Series 3 will offer, as well as discussing what we would like to see next.
So far we’ve heard rumours about modular straps for improved heath monitoring – for example, blood sugar monitoring for diabetics. As well as a camera, a better battery and an even brighter, more power-efficient ‘always on’ display. Read next: Apple Watch vs Apple Watch 2
We expect the Apple Watch Series 3 to come out in September 2017, one year after the Series 2, but we can’t be certain: Apple hasn’t yet settled into a regular launch pattern, having released only two generations, and there was more than a year between the original Apple Watch (April 2015) and the second one (Sept 2016). It’s possible we could be waiting until 2018.
Would this be a disappointment? Perhaps. Although we don’t suppose most people update their watches on a yearly basis or anything like it.
That said, anyone looking to purchase a new smartwatch will want the best technology on offer, and if the Apple Watch can’t compete with other, more up-to-date offerings it may lose out on customers. And there are a number of new technologies appearing in competitor watches that we think will could make the Apple Watch 2 pale in comparison.
We aren’t the only ones expecting a September 2017 launch. A report in China’s Economic Daily News predicts a third-quarter release for the next hardware iteration of the Apple Watch. As, for that matter, does a report in Taiwan’s DigiTimes.
That second report also claims Apple is moving away from a touch-on-lens display to a glass-film touch system. This won’t make any appreciable difference to the user, but the interesting element is that the touch panels will begin shipping in the second half of 2017 – just in time for a September release. This is the first solid rumour yet about the Apple Watch 3 supply chain kicking into action. You can read more about the new screen technologies in the Apple Watch 3 below.
However, there is also a rumour that Apple could release a Series 2 ‘S’ sooner than that. The new S version would add extra storage options to the current Apple Watch Series 2 line-up, which has 8GB of storage, but most of that is given to the operating system, leaving just 2GB for photos and 75MB for music.
With Apple’s focus on music and images we think it’s a logical step for the company to offer more storage for this. We’d also like to see storage for apps – more on this below.
How much will the Apple Watch 3 cost?
We expect the Watch Series 3 to start from £369 for the 38mm and £399 for the 42mm. These are the current prices of the Series 2 watches. The Apple Watch appears to have sold only moderately well at this point (Strategy Analytics reckons3.5 million were sold in the second quarter of 2017, compared to an official figure of 50.8 million iPhones) and a significant price rise would be a surprise; equally, Apple is not usually the sort of company to drop its prices in response to soft demand.
However, Apple does tend to drop the price of older generations when new products are launched, thereby reducing the cost of entry. In September 2017 we would expect the original Apple Watch to be discontinued, and for the Series 2 to get a price drop of around £100.
There is also a possibility that Apple will start to offer an even more expensive model with cellular/mobile capabilities. We can see Apple introducing this technology at the top of the line, with a price to match. See below for more information about an Apple Watch with cellular capabilities.
You might not have to pay full price for the Apple Watch – here are some Apple Watch deals and our Apple Watch buying guide so you can avoid paying more than you need to.
So, will the design of the new Apple Watch change much from what it is currently?
We’d say… maybe. After all, the iPhone has gone through multiple design iterations. We expect that over time the Apple Watch will get thinner, but will the shape change? Read on for more information.
Modular straps or smart bands
This is one of the more prominent rumours we’re hearing. The idea is that Apple is considering producing new multi-function smart bands that it will sell with the Watch.
By moving some of the technologies from inside the watch face and into these smart bands Apple would be able to add new features without being as limited by the small size of the Watch face. This would enable Apple to add such features as a camera, or a bigger battery.