Apple is rumoured to be launching its next-generation smartwatch — the Apple Watch Series 3 — in the autumn of 2017, according to a Chinese-language Economic Daily News report seen by DigiTimes.
The report says that the watch will be manufactured by Taiwan-based Quanta Computer and the company’s main task will be improving battery efficiency.
It sounds like apart from that, the device won’t have any radical changes — for the second year in a row. “Its other hardware will not see much change,” the report said, according to Digitimes.
Digitime’s report also said that “Quanta declined to comment on what it called market speculation” (it’s not clear whether Quanta declined to comment to Digitimes or to the Economic Daily News, which first reported the rumour).
It’s worth noting that Digitimes has a mixed track record when it comes to Apple rumours and predictions. But if the report is accurate, an autumn release would make it around a year since the release of the Series 2 in September 2016. It suggests Apple is settling on an annual release cycle for the wearable device, similar to the one it employs for the iPhone.
That would be an indicator of a degree of commitment towards the product — given there was an almost 18-month gap between the release of the first and second Watch Series. (The timing would also coincide with the expected launch of the eagerly anticipated iPhone 8.)
But this commitment is questionable at a time when estimates of people using wearable technology have been significantly revised down. eMarketer thinks the market grew 24.7% in 2015, versus its previous prediction of 60%.
This has weighed on Google’s ambitious smartwatch vision, which is failing to materialise as some analysts estimate that Android Wear sales plummeted 40% year-on-year in Q3 2016. And last month, The Verge reported that Android Wear partner Lenovo-owned Moto is pausing its smartwatch efforts “indefinitely.”
Although neither Google nor Apple provide a breakdown of smartwatch sales, analysts estimate that Apple accounts for nearly 50% of all smartwatch sales.