One of the more common arguments I’ve heard against buying the Apple Watch in its current form is that you should wait for the second version. After all, everyone knows that the first model of any Apple product comes with limitations and missing features which will most certainly be addressed with a new model down the line. While that may have been true with some products in the past, it doesn’t necessarily hold true for the Watch however. For example, while the iPhone received criticism for not including 3g networking, and the iPad, was knocked for shipping without a camera, the Apple Watch seems fairly feature complete when compared to the competition. Still, we all know that Apple will eventually release an updated version at some point, and here are some ideas of what you can expect from the second generation Apple Watch.
The Apple Watch is currently powered by the S1 processor, which was specially designed by Apple to run Watch OS, the device’s operating system. It seems logical that Apple’s next generation wearable will ship with an S2 processor, which will no doubt be faster and more capable than the current model. As Watch apps become more complex and taxing on the hardware, and the OS grows in complexity too, a faster processor will eventually be needed. But by all accounts the current S1 is more than capable of handling any tasks sent its way. In fact, it is believed to be more powerful than the A4 chip that shipped in the original iPad.
The Retina class display that ships on the current version of the Apple Watch is bright, clear, and beautiful. It is easily the best screen available on any smartwatch today, and that’s before you take into consideration its Force Touch capabilities. It seems unlikely that this will be a component that Apple updates in a second generation Watch however, as any improvements to the screen would be minor at best, and could cause a hit to the device’s battery life.
Speaking of battery life, this seems to be the one area that Apple has room to improve dramatically. The Watch is said to have an “all day” battery, which Apple defines as lasting for roughly 18 hours of use. But depending on your interactions with apps, length of workouts, and number of notifications and messages, there could be times when the current battery simply isn’t enough to get you through a full day, although few have actually complained about this so far. On top of that, some people have criticized the Apple Watch for not having an always-on screen, something that simply isn’t attainable with current battery technology and Apple’s approach to wearable interaction. But I would expect the second generation Apple Watch to make some advances in this area, although I doubt it will be overly dramatic, and it certainly won’t make it possible to avoid having to charge the device each night.
Another area that Apple is sure to improve is Watch OS itself. The software that runs the device will continue to be refined and updated to make it a better all around experience. One only needs to look at the evolution of iOS over the years to understand just how important this will be to the future of the device. Watch OS 2.0 will surely add more features, improve the user interface in subtle ways, and possibly even shorten the learning curve for using the Watch too. It will also improve the native apps that come installed on the Watch as well, making them much better too. But that operating system will no doubt run on the first generation Apple Watch as well, bringing most, if not all, of the enhancements along with it.
Perhaps the biggest change we’ll see from the first to the second generation of Apple Watch will be in physical design. Apple will surely find ways to refine the look of their wearable, possibly making it thinner and more attractive. But the current model is actually surprisingly thin, and very lightweight already. Most people are quite surprised when they see it in person for the first time, as photos can make the device look deceptively large and clunky. That actually isn’t the case however, but expect Apple to continue to refine the look of the Watch over successive generations. After all, this is a fashionable product as well as a gadget, and we all know fashion evolves over time.
Beyond these elements it is hard to imagine what else Apple will do to make the second generation Apple Watch stand out from the first. We all know that improvements will come – that is the nature of any tech device. But I simply don’t believe that those changes will be as massive and dramatic as some people believe, and probably not nearly as impressive as the leaps we saw between early generations of the iPhone or iPad.