We have already laid out a few arguments as to why the Apple Watch Series 8 is likely to launch alongside the iPhone 14. We also think Apple will show us the Apple Watch SE 2, alongside the rumored Watch Pro, to make the 2022 lineup the most comprehensive refresh we’ve seen in a long time.
It’s a theory – Tim Cook didn’t drop us an email we’re just being coy about. But we do have some arguments as to why the iPhone 14 is the best time to show the world the new Apple Watch SE 2.
1. Analysts reckon it’s likely (and we know the date)
Apple has already confirmed its next launch is happening on September 7. And one of the more prolific and reliable Apple analysts, Ming-Chi Kuo, has claimed the Apple Watch SE 2 will launch this year – he was doing so as early as December 2021, shortly after the release of the Watch Series 7.
Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman, another reputable source for Apple news, has also claimed the Watch SE 2 will arrive alongside the Apple Watch 8 and iPhone 14 family.
2. It mirrors the release cycle of the original Apple Watch SE
Our brains love a good story. The folds of a t-shirt sat in a dark bedroom become a scary face. Recurring seasonal patterns become deep-rooted traditions saturated with narrative that some person made up at some point. A Watch SE 2 in 2022 gives Apple the chance to start re-weaving the SE story.
Apple announced the iPhone SE (2022) earlier this year. And both the original iPhone SE and Watch SE were announced in 2020.
Are you down for a cheaper watch/phone SE series that is renewed every two years, a duology of devices that still provide the fundamentals of the Apple experience? If this is to be the SE series narrative, Apple needs to launch the Apple Watch SE 2 in 2022.
3. The Apple Watch SE’s processor is getting old
The current Apple Watch SE is packing Apple's now-three-year-old S5 processor. This is older than the watch itself, and until this processor is bumped off the roster of currently-sold watches, Apple cannot discontinue support for that 2019 model.
By upgrading the S5 processor to a current-gen S8 processor with a new SE 2, Apple can stop selling the original Apple Watch SE and it no longer needs to continue providing support for the older S5 chipset. Apple will usually discontinue models packing earlier chipsets, with a few exceptions: for example, it still inexplicably sells the Apple Watch Series 3, which it has already confirmed will not get the forthcoming watchOS 9 update.
This is frankly weird. Apple is behaving like a local convenience store selling bags of potato chips that are about to go bad, but without the big discount you usually get for such snacks.
We don’t think it could get away with the same trick with the pricier SE series. The sooner it can get the older S5-powered watches off shelves, the better it would be for Apple, as it no longer has to offer support to geriatric tech.
4. An SE2 will allow Apple to address the cost-of-living crisis
Have you noticed the global economy is having a bad time of late? Inflation is worryingly high and the cost of producing electronics has been stressed by the cascade of nightmare conditions for the last couple of years — chip shortage, shipping container calamity, dramatic increases in the cost of energy and more.
Loss of consumer confidence means slightly more affordable tech like the SE series may be more appealing than ever for many. But we would not be surprised if, as some analysts predict, the price of the Watch SE 2 is at least a little higher than the Watch SE.
A price increase is likely needed to make the Watch SE 2 viable over its lifespan, but an affordable watch provides an opportunity for Apple to get itstechnology into the hands of more consumers on tight budgets.
Producing new tech is costly in itself. Tooling alone is super-expensive, but Apple does not necessarily need to add genuinely new tech to the Watch SE 2. For example, it could implement SpO2 readings, which would simply rely on an updated HR sensor array. Apple already has the technology in current-gen watches, so including it in a new model makes for a cheaper watch than one which breaks new ground.
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Andrew is a freelance journalist and has been writing and editing for some of the UK's top tech and lifestyle publications including TrustedReviews, Stuff, T3, TechRadar, Lifehacker and others.