We didn't see the new Apple Watch SE 2 at the September Apple event – apparently our crossed fingers weren't enough to will it onto the stage alongside all the new products – which means we might not see it until 2022 or even later.
At the event we saw the iPhone 13, iPad 10.2 (2021), iPad Mini 6 and Apple Watch 7, so we can't exactly complain about a lack of tech, but some people were hoping the Watch SE's successor would debut at as an affordable counterpart to the Watch 7. Clearly, it didn't.
We first saw the Apple Watch SE in 2020, and it was something of a surprise, as an affordable counterpart to the Apple Watch 6 in the spirit (and naming convention) of the iPhone SE (2020). It's something of an updated version of the Apple Watch 3 with the same health tracking capabilities but a newer chipset that should make it compatible with new watchOS versions for years to come.
Likewise, we expect the Apple Watch SE 2 to be a more affordable wearable with enough of the recent bells and whistles (like, hopefully, the always-on display) from recent flagship watches, but we haven't heard specifics on what it will include.
As the Apple Watch SE hasn't been around long enough to get a new version, and we haven't heard about the Watch SE 2, it's no wonder we didn't see it at the September event. Assuming an Apple Watch SE 2 is in the works, we'll likely see it 2022 at the earliest, and below we’ve included some predictions as to when it might launch and what it might cost, along with a list of the improvements we want from it.
And as rumors start to roll in we’ll be including all of those in this article too, so check back often to stay up to date on the Apple Watch SE 2.
Apple Watch SE 2: cut to the chase
- What is it? The next affordable Apple Watch
- When is it out? Probably 2022 or even later
- What will it cost? Less than the Apple Watch 7
Apple Watch SE 2 release date and price
So far there’s no news on when the Apple Watch SE 2 might launch, but the original Apple Watch SE was announced on September 15, 2020, so we thought there was a fair chance the Apple Watch SE 2 will land in September of this year – clearly that didn't pan out.
Instead, we'll likely see the watch come out in 2022, possibly at the beginning of the year but more likely alongside the iPhone 14.
Then again, since Apple has only launched one Apple Watch SE model so far, there’s not much to go on, so there’s a chance the Apple Watch SE 2 won’t even land ever.
There aren’t any price rumors yet either, but the original Apple Watch SE starts at $279 / £260 / AU$429, with prices rising for LTE, a larger size, or different strap types. There’s a fair chance that the Apple Watch SE 2 will have a similar starting price, but we can’t be sure for now.
News and leaks
We haven’t heard anything specifically about the Apple Watch SE 2 yet, but Tim Cook has spoken about the future of the Apple Watch on the Outside podcast, saying that “there’s a ton of innovation left to go in there” and "We are in the early innings… think about the amount of sensors in your car. And arguably, your body is much more important than your car.”
That suggests a continued focus on health and fitness for future Apple Watch models, and we’d expect the Apple Watch SE 2 would be included in that.
What we want to see
There are some key improvements that we want from the Apple Watch SE 2, including the following.
1. An always-on display
The Apple Watch SE doesn’t have an always-on display, which is one of the main things it lacks in comparison to the Apple Watch 6.
That’s fair enough, as Apple would have wanted to save some features for its more premium wearable, but by late 2021 when the Apple Watch SE 2 will hopefully land, we’d like the always-on display to be a standard feature across the range.
2. A longer-lasting battery
The Apple Watch SE actually has better battery life than most Apple Watch models, but at around a day and a half it still doesn’t match a lot of other wearables, and also doesn’t really cut it for sleep tracking, since you’ll likely find you want to charge it at night.
So for the Apple Watch SE 2 we’d like to see life extended to at least two days, and ideally three or more.
3. A bottom of the range price
While the Apple Watch SE is positioned as a relatively budget option in the Apple Watch range, it’s actually not the cheapest wearable that Apple sells. That’s the Apple Watch 3, which is still on sale.
To simplify things, we’d like to see the Apple Watch SE 2 have the lowest price of any currently available Apple Watch, so it’s clear what the wearable’s position is in the range.
4. A wider range of colors
The Apple Watch SE is only available in gold, silver, and space gray shades, and while there’s nothing wrong with those colors, we’d like to see a wider selection available for the Apple Watch SE 2, including perhaps something flashier, like the red color that you can get the Apple Watch 6 in.
You can of course get a lot more color from the strap, as we’re only talking about the body here, but we’d still like more options.
5. Blood oxygen monitoring
Beyond the always-on display, one other feature the Apple Watch SE lacks that the Apple Watch 6 has is blood oxygen monitoring.
This is a useful health monitoring feature, but probably not a big selling point for most people, so while we’d like to see it, we wouldn’t mind too much if Apple keeps this for premium models.
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