Apple Watch 2 release date, news and rumors

Apple Watch 2 may launch in two months with iPhone 7

Apple Watch 2

Update: Apple Watch 2 release date rumors suggest a September launch alongside the iPhone 7, and the latest leaks point to a new screen and price. More news and rumors below.

Watch OS 3 beta for the first Apple Watch tweaks the software to our liking, but Tim Cook and his team really need to reinvent the iPhone smartwatch with new hardware to jumpstart the category.

Good news: The Apple CEO recently promised that the Apple Watch will get "better and better" and it'll be something you can't imagine having lived without.

That's a tall order for just software, meaning this the biggest Apple Watch 2 hint we've seen on the record in 2016. But when will we see anything at all in terms of credible photos and facts? We know someone on the inside: Siri.

Apple Watch 2

But the Apple Watch 2 release date is shrouded in so much mystery that not even Siri knows the answer, though she gave me a heads-up about the dates for WWDC 2016, where watch OS 3 was announced.

Asking my Apple Watch "When does the Apple Watch 2 come out?" only gets me to this message: "Apple.com should be able to answer that question. Continue on the iPhone."

There are two important things you should know about this answer. First, of course Apple's official website doesn't reveal such juicy information. I've checked. Everyday.

Second, this is one of the many areas in which the Apple Watch throws you to the iPhone instead of handling tasks itself. Obviously, there's plenty of room for improvement and a need for a sequel.

Siri, apps and fitness tracking need a serious tune up. While some of that's coming with Watch OS 3, more sensors and even greater waterproof guarantees should be added in Apple Watch for 2016.

There's growing evidence that such an iPhone-compatible smartwatch for 2016 is in development at the Cupertino company. Let's get into the latest rumors point-by-point.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The second generation Apple Watch
  • When is it out? Likely at September's iPhone 7 launch
  • What will it cost? Probably a lot, similar to the current Watch

Apple Watch 2 release date

Although Siri didn't answer my question about the Apple Watch 2 release date, there's now only one likely point in 2016 in which I could see the company's next wearable launch.

Apple Watch 2

Unsurprisingly, we didn't see next iPhone-compatible smartwatch announced on March 21, as some had previously thought. An annual cycle for the wearable is a bit overeager for even diehard Apple fans.

Instead, iPhone SE and iPad Pro 9.7 graced the stage. Oh, yes, Apple Watch was there, too - and not just the white one on CEO Tim Cook's wrist. New Apple Watch bands and a lower price were all we got.

We also didn't see it or any hardware alongside iOS 10 at Apple's WWDC 2016 event. That just leaves us with September along with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus debut as the only likely point in 2016.

Apple Watch 2

Sources from the upstream supply chain previously suggested the Apple Watch 2 would go into production in Q2, suggesting it would be launched before the expected iPhone 7 launch in September.

But that's now unlikely and more recently sources in the supply chain have reported that it will actually go into production in Q3, which could lead to a September launch.

This would give Apple enough time to tinker with its smartwatch and not make early adopters feel too cheaped with a rigid 12-month-upgrade schedule.

Whether it's a true reinvention or an incremental Apple Watch S upgrade remains to be seen, though interestingly, the same sources claim that around two million units will be shipped each month, which suggests Apple has ambitious sales estimates for the device and could point to it being a major upgrade.

Apple Watch 2 price

There may be some wiggle room with the Apple Watch price, considering US retailers had the iPhone smartwatch on sale for some time before the company recently lowered the official price.

Apple Watch 2

It launched at a hard-to-justify starting price of $349 (£299, AU$499), and the unofficial price drop during Black Friday took it down to $299 at some stores. Four months later, Apple made it official.

Introducing the Apple Watch 2 at this new price from the get-go would put the gadget in more hands and on more wrists. Just don't expect the gold Apple Watch Edition price to budge from $17,000 (£13,500, AU$24,000).

Of course, this is Apple and this is reality. It doesn't often do price drops, it adds "magical" features. Adding the suspected Micro-LED panel as the new Apple Watch 2 screen instead of an AMOLED display used in Apple Watch 1 is likely to raise the cost and only cements Apple pricery stereotype.

My gadget-spending money is on Apple adding in enough new Apple Watch 2 features that it resets to the original Apple Watch price. In other words, the price is higher, but not really. That would be a smart stratgey.

Tim Cook promises Apple Watch will be better

Apple CEO Tim Cook just teased that "you'll see the Apple Watch getting better and better," and he soon expects "people will say, 'How could I have ever thought about not wearing this watch?'"

Apple Watch 2

He could be hinting at an inevitable watchOS 3 software update, but it'll take an Apple Watch 2 hardware announcement to meet those high expectations. Ipso facto, he just confirmed the new Apple Watch.

Right now, plenty of people can live without the Apple Watch, and even Cook acknowledges this: "We're still in learning mode. We're learning fairly quickly, though. We know a lot more than we did a year ago."

There's a lot of promise behind these statements, even if the Apple boss doesn't distinctly mention the Apple Watch 2 by name.

Apple Watch 2 news and rumors

Watch OS 2 was a small step forward with improvements, like better native app support, tetherless Wi-Fi and the ability to watch videos, reply to emails and make FaceTime audio calls.

New Apple Watch 2 features, coupled with a watchOS 3 update, are bound to let you do more directly from the smartwatch, too. The rumor of a GPS chip for running, without your phone in tow, persists.

Apple Watch 2

Most recently, we heard that the next Apple Watch will be thinner by measures of up to a 40% reduction in thickness. However, that could be meant for the Apple Watch 3.

There's a good chance that the next Apple Watch won't mix things up much in terms of design. Or at all, if Ming-Chi Quo's insider knowledge ends up becoming truth.

Apple's wearable won't boast any visual changes to the design, according to his sources, as reported to AppleInsider. A more significant Apple Watch refresh could happen some time after, possibly in 2017.

Apple Watch 2

While he suggests that the design might not change one bit in the next Apple Watch, the specs, as you'd imagine, will be getting a big boost. We're currently unsure of exactly which components will be improved upon, but it's relatively safe to assume we might see a bump up in screen resolution, onboard storage and battery life.

A new wireless chipset is said to allow for basic communication tasks to be handled without a paired iPhone, and the same technology may also mean that lost Apple Watches could be found using Wi-Fi triangulation.

Apple Watch 2

A source talking to Phone Arena went on to claim that the Apple Watch 2 will have a video camera, allowing users to make and receive video FaceTime calls rather than just audio ones.

New models might be launched too, providing users with more than just the standard, Sport and Edition versions available now. It's not clear exactly what form these new models will take, but new materials could be on the cards, such as titanium, platinum and perhaps even Liquidmetal.

The aforementioned Micro-LED display would be a step up from the AMOLED screen (generally a step up from any LCD panel, like those used on the iPhone), offering better brightness and battery savings.

But if you're hoping the appearance will change or we'll see a circular smartwatch from Apple you might be out of luck, as another leak suggests that the Apple Watch 2 will have the same screen size, shape and resolution as the first Apple Watch - this is the way the Cupertino firm does things, after all.

Apple Watch 2

One thing which will apparently change according to the same source is the thickness of the screen, which will be made thinner to allow for a larger battery. Yet that clashes with previous rumors that the juice pack will be staying the same, albeit with possible software improvements to improve its life.

It could also have a new breed of smart band to go along with it, as a recent patent application has been filed for a strap that has light fibres woven in, meaning you'll be able to get notifications from your wrist all the way around.

Place

Hopefully it won't flash or be too overt - simply function as a second screen that could give more information than the smaller screen could.

Overall we're really not sure what to expect from the Apple Watch 2 just yet, and we're sure it will hold plenty of surprises and features beyond what we've heard so far and beyond what the original Apple Watch (which will be getting Watch OS 3) is capable of.

While neither the March 21 Apple press conference nor WWDC 2016 ushered in the second coming of the Apple Watch, we'll be scanning the internet and reading between the lines of Apple's statements (and the lines of iOS 9.3 code) for even the smallest suggest of the Apple Watch 2.