Apple just launched the Apple Watch in April, but the company is already reportedly planning some new features for its successor.
The next version of the Apple Watch will come with a camera for video chatting among other additions, according to 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman, who claims to have spoken with sources familiar with Apple’s plans for the next watch.
The watch will likely launch in 2016, although Gurman’s source warns that the model referred to in this post could simply be a prototype. This means some of the features may not actually make it into the second-generation watch although Apple is probably testing them.
Here’s a breakdown of what to expect from the next Apple Watch, according to Gurman:
- The next watch will have a FaceTime camera. It will be embedded in the top bezel of the watch so that you can make and receive video calls from your wrist. The current Apple Watch mirrors the camera on your phone and acts as a remote control for your iPhone’s camera shutter.
- Apple wants you to be able to use the next Apple Watch without being near your iPhone. The Apple Watch 2 will come with a different chipset that makes it easier to perform tasks on the watch, such as text messaging and emailing, without being tethered to your iPhone. Apple is currently calling this initiative “tether-less” according to Gurman. You can already use some of the functionality in the Apple Watch without being tied to your iPhone via Bluetooth, such as music playback and activity tracking. But it sounds like Apple wants to make it even easier to use the watch without your phone by adding a Wi-Fi chip to it. This isn’t too surprising — in April, Google announced that Android Wear will support the ability to connect to Wi-Fi.
- New Watch models are coming. Apple is considering adding new Apple Watch tiers that fall between the regular Watch and the $US10,000 Edition. It’s unclear exactly how Apple plans to do this, though, but Gurman speculates that we could see Watch models made of different materials such as platinum or titanium.
- It doesn’t sound like Apple will make any battery life improvements. Apple has done some research that indicates its customers are satisfied with the watch’s battery life. Most watch owners still have between 30 and 40% of battery left at the end of the day and don’t mind charging it nightly, Gurman reports.