Rumours surrounding Apple's next iPhones are in full swing and have been for some time, but we're now starting to hear chatter about what would be the company's third generation of smartwatch.
There are by no means as many leaks surrounding the next Apple Watch as there are the iPhones, but no doubt more will appear in time. Here is everything we've heard so far regarding what we are calling the Apple Watch Series 3, mixed in with a little speculation for good measure.
Apple Watch Series 3: Release date and price
- Apple Watch has previously been on a two-year release cycle
- If announced this year, likely to be at iPhone event in September
- 7 September educated guess for Apple event
The first generation of Apple Watch was announced in 2014, though not released until 2015, while the second generation, the Apple Watch Series 2, followed two years later from the Series 1 announcement in September 2016.
Whether Apple will wait another two years before what we assume will be called the Apple Watch Series 3 is announced remains to be seen for now, though Bloomberg has suggested the company has plans to announce an Apple Watch with built-in LTE this year. Chinese news outlet The Economic Daily Times also claims Quanta Computing, the manufacturer of Apple Watch, has ramped up production in preparation for a launch later this year.
If Apple launches the third generation of its smartwatch this year, moving the cycle to one-year rather than one-and-a-half to two, we'd expect it to be revealed at the same time as the next Apple iPhone in September. Currently, we are guessing this date will be 7 September, though that's just our estimate based on previous event patterns so don't pen it in your diary just yet.
In terms of price, the Apple Watch Series 2 went on sale starting at £369, increasing significantly depending on material while the Series 1 model dropped to a starting price of £269. We'd expect a similar pricing structure for the next Apple Watch, though it wouldn't be too surprising to see it creep up slightly.
Apple Watch Series 3: Design
- All new form factor reported
- Interchangeable straps still expected
- Digital crown still likely to be present
Apple stuck to same design for the Series 2 model as the Series 1 model, though it added GPS and waterproofing to the mix with the newer model and introduced a ceramic model. The rectangular form features interchangeable straps, which are all compatible with both models, a digital crown on the right-hand side, another button on the left and a heart rate sensor underneath the face.
It has been rumoured the next Apple Watch will come with an "all-new form factor" though. Whether this will mean a change up from the rectangular shape is not yet known as the rumour provided no extra details but a new "form-factor" does suggest a new shape. We'd expect the same premium materials nonetheless, with aluminium, stainless steel and ceramic or some other limited edition material all likely to make an appearance again.
Many would be surprised to see Apple move to a round device like its competitors, but this wouldn't be an entirely ridiculous suggestion given Apple filed for patents in 2016 referring to a device with a circular watch face. One patent was titled "Electronic Device Having Display With Curved Edges" and presented an image of a circular-faced device though as we all know, patents are advised to be taken with a big pinch of salt as many never come to fruition.
No matter what shape the next Apple Watch is, we'd expect to still see a heart rate sensor, digital crown, waterproofing and interchangeable straps all still on board, even if it might be wishful thinking to hope the straps from Series 1 and 2 will still be compatible. We'd also expect the same 38mm and 42mm size options.
Apple Watch Series 3: Hardware and specs
- New processor and GPU likely
- Hopefully larger battery
- LTE suggested
The next Apple Watch will likely come with a new processor and hopefully a larger battery in both models. The Apple Watch Series 2 arrived with the S2 chip, so we'd hazard a guess the Series 3 models would come with an S3 chip, though again, we are just speculating.
Most succeeding devices improve on their predecessor's hardware specs though so a faster and more capable chip, as well as a faster GPU and a larger battery capacity would all be plausible requests.
As we briefly mentioned, the Apple Watch Series 3 is also rumoured to be launching with built-in LTE capability. It has been reported that Intel will be responsible for the LTE modem. If LTE is on board, we'd expect the Apple Watch Series 3 will need its own data plan and it is not yet clear if LTE will be an option, as it is with the company's iPad models, or whether it will be a feature of all Apple Watch Series 3 models.
Apple Watch Series 3: Features
- Built-in GPS likely
- Waterproofing likely
- Built-in LTE rumoured
Rumours surrounding the next Apple Watch have been few and far between so at the moment, it is not known what features the new smartwatch might bring with it. The Series 2 model offered built-in GPS and waterproofing over Series 1, both of which we would expect to continue through to the Series 3 model.
Should the rumour of built-in LTE come to light, it would allow the Apple Watch to offer full functionality without your phone. Currently the Apple Watch must be in range of your iPhone in order to deliver notifications and what not. Theoretically, LTE functionality would mean your watch could still function on your wrist while you're at the office, even if you've forgotten your iPhone at home, for example.
As we mentioned previously, we'd also expect the heart rate monitor to remain on board the next Apple Watch. Apple placed a big focus on fitness with the Series 2, with great swim tracking and other features present so we'd expect the same again for the Series 3 model.
Apple Watch Series 3: Conclusion
There is currently little to go on surrounding the next Apple Watch, though we'd expect rumours to pick up over the next few weeks, especially if a September launch is true.
As usual, we will update this feature as soon as we see anymore leaks or rumours appear so keep checking back if you're interested in what could be for the next Apple smartwatch.