Skip to main content

Apple Watch 6: what we want to see

The Apple Watch 5 (Image credit: TechRadar)

We’re not expecting to see the Apple Watch 6 for a long time yet, but it’s never too early to start hearing rumors or thinking about which features we want in the smartwatch, and you’ll find both of those things here.

We’ve collected all the current news and rumors about Apple’s next wearable, along with our expert analysis on when it might launch and what it might feature.

Below the known information, you’ll find our wish list of the things we want most from the Apple Watch 6 in order to make it a substantial upgrade on the Apple Watch 5. That wearable was good, but it wasn't a huge upgrade on the Apple Watch 4, so we're hoping for more this time around.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The next wearable from Apple
  • When is it out? Probably September 2020
  • What will it cost? Likely around $399 / £399 / AU$649

Apple Watch 6 release date and price

With the exception of the original Apple Watch, each new model has launched in September of their respective years, so while there are no Apple Watch 6 release date rumors yet we’re fairly confident that it will land in September 2020.

More specifically, based on the days and dates that Apple tends to release new models we’ll probably see the Apple Watch 6 on September 8 or 15. That’s not when you’ll be able to buy it though – expect to wait roughly 10 days from the announcement to the on-sale date.

As for price, it's likely to cost at least as much as the Apple Watch 5, meaning a starting price of at least $399 / £399 / AU$649.

Apple Watch 5 review

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Apple Watch 6 news and rumors

We’re already hearing a few rumors about the Apple Watch 6, including the possibility that it could switch to a new screen type. The Apple Watch 5 uses an OLED screen, but a report suggests the Apple Watch 6 might use microLED.

The main advantage of microLED is that it should be more power-efficient, which could mean the Apple Watch 6 would have better battery life.

Another possible change to the screen is the addition of a Touch ID fingerprint scanner. Currently the Apple Watch range doesn’t have any biometric security, but building a scanner into the screen would be a slick way to offer it.

Apple Watch patent

(Image credit: USPTO/Patently Apple)

This theory is based on a patent, and you can see a related image above. The patent explains that this could be achieved by moving the wireless antennas to the strap so there’s more room for other components under the screen.

It’s a change that as well as potentially creating space for a fingerprint scanner could also theoretically leave room for a larger battery. It would however limit the ability for third-party companies to offer straps, and likely mean that strap replacements would be very expensive.

One other feature the Apple Watch 6 might offer is native sleep tracking. That’s according to “people familiar with the work” speaking to Bloomberg.

The Apple Watch range already supports third-party sleep tracking apps, but surprisingly Apple still doesn’t offer its own, so it’s a believable addition.

And as well as new features, the Apple Watch 6 might also sport improved water resistance and wireless connectivity, as well as faster general performance. None of that is terribly surprising, except perhaps water resistance, since the Apple Watch 5 is already water resistant to depths of 50 meters.

This claim comes from Ming-Chi Kuo (a respected Apple analyst), who says a switch to liquid crystal polymer (LCP) materials in the circuit boards will allow for it.

What we want to see

Plenty more Apple Watch 6 rumors are sure to roll in, but in the meantime here’s what we’re hoping the wearable will offer.

1. Better battery life

The Apple Watch 5 actually has worse battery life than the Apple Watch 4, and while there’s a good reason for that (the addition of an always-on screen), we’d still like to see some big improvements for the Apple Watch 6.

At a minimum we want it to match the Apple Watch 4’s life, but ideally we want it to be even better, comfortably offering two or more days of life between charges. That would also make it more viable for sleep tracking – a feature that Apple is rumored to be adding.

2. More fitness features

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The Apple Watch is a great health and exercise device already, but we were disappointed to find that no significant new fitness features were added for the Apple Watch 5, so we’d like to see some for the Apple Watch 6.

What exactly they might be we’ll leave up to Apple, but possibilities include the ability to more accurately track more exercises, or additional sensors for monitoring your health. The more granular the health info, the more accurately we can track progress and personal development. 

3. A dimmer option for the always-on screen

The always-on display was a great new feature for the Apple Watch 5, but one significant issue with it is that it’s too bright to comfortably use at night in the dark.

As such we want an option to have it go very dim, without turning off completely. This would also likely improve battery life, so it’s a win-win.

4. Always-on for all apps

Apple Watch 5 review

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Another issue with the always-on screen is that it’s not properly supported by all apps, meaning that rather than a basic version of an open app being shown on the always-on display, it will in many cases switch to a basic digital clock, meaning you can’t view the app without properly waking the screen up.

We’d like to see this changed for the Apple Watch 6, so that every app is able to fully support the always-on screen.

5. Sleep tracking

We’ve been asking for sleep tracking on the Apple Watch for years and so far Apple hasn’t listened. There are rumors that sleep tracking might be in the works, so this might be something we finally get. But on the other hand, with third-party apps offering it, Apple might decide not to bother.

6. Improved syncing

We found syncing things (such as songs and podcasts) to the Apple Watch 5 was a lot fiddlier than it really should be, as not only do you need it to be charging and near your iPhone, it also just didn’t seem to reliably work even then in our tests.

Coupled with it being hard to see what’s saved on your watch, the whole process just lacks the polish we’d expect from Apple, so this definitely needs some work for 2020’s model.

7. A circular screen

While our other wishes are realistic, this one isn’t. We can’t see Apple ditching the current screen shape – and nor do we want it to – but we would love to see a circular option added alongside the square screens.

While it won’t happen, it would be a huge selling point for the new model if it did, especially since the Apple Watch 5’s design is very similar to the Apple Watch 4’s.