It is fair to say that the Apple Watch did not quite live up to its pre-launch hype. A survey conducted by advertising technology company Fluent earlier this year found that less than half of Americans believed that the Apple Watch had been a success.
Of the 2,500 adults surveyed, only 8 percent were found to own an Apple Watch, while figures from research IDC suggested sales of the Apple Watch fell 55 percent in the second quarter of 2016.
So can a new, rejuvenated Apple Watch—presumably called the Apple Watch 2—reverse this trend and reignite interest in the flagging wearable? With Apple CEO Tim Cook promising the Apple Watch will get “better and better,” Newsweek takes a look at everything we know so far.
A Waterproof Apple Watch
Apple has often been criticized for not making its devices waterproof. While rivals like Samsung and Sony have met calls from their customers to add waterproofing, Apple has consistently refused to.
The original Apple Watch has a water resistant rating of IPX7, meaning it can handle very small amounts of water (ie. wearing the device while showering is OK, but not while swimming).
If rumours are to be believed, 2016 marks the year that Apple finally succumbs to consumer pressure. Both the iPhone 7 and the Apple Watch 2 are widely believed to be waterproof.
An investor note sent out by Apple analyst Ming-chi Kuo, seen by unofficial Apple blogs MacRumors and AppleInsider last month, predicted the Apple Watch 2 will be able to withstand more than just a shower. The note also suggested the smartwatch will feature a barometer.
GPS to Take Your Apple Watch Running
Another common complaint for the Apple Watch was its lack of a GPS chip. GPS functionality can be achieved on the device by tethering it to the iPhone. However, this isn’t always practical for runners and other fitness fans who don’t want to be burdened with the cumbersome smartphone.
With no GPS integration, the Apple Watch has been unable to compete with wearables like the Fitbit Surge when it comes to its functionality as a fitness tracker.
A report in Bloomberg last month suggested that the Apple Watch 2 could loosen its ties to the iPhone by integrating location tracking directly onto the wearable. Citing two sources, the publication said GPS chips that communicate with satellites would allow the device to track running and walking distances more precisely and improve the accuracy of data submitted to health tracking applications.
Thinner Apple Watch Display and Better Battery
Due to the amount of technology they pack in, smartwatches from all manufacturers are unavoidably chunky. The Apple Watch was no exception; however, its successor may be slightly slimmer.
British firm Byte released a video on September 1 appearing to show replacement parts for the second-generation Apple Watch. As well as a slimmer display, the battery is also seen to be improved.
The battery is shown to be rated as 1.28 watt-hours, suggesting a 334 mAh battery that is 36 percent larger than the battery in the original Apple Watch. It’s not yet clear whether this will equate to the smartwatch lasting 36 percent longer, as new features like GPS and the barometer could prove a drain on the power.
Apple Watch 2 Price and Release Date
The range in price of the Apple Watch is extraordinary. At launch, the wearable device could be bought for anything from $349 for a Sport edition, to $17,000 for deluxe editions with all the trimmings. The lower bracket has since dropped to $299, suggesting the Apple Watch 2 will slide in at the original price.
If Apple’s metronomic release schedule for new iPhones is anything to go by, the new Apple Watch will be unveiled on Wednesday, September 7, alongside the iPhone 7. Like in 2015, the Apple Watch is unlikely to be made available to buy immediately. Notorious Apple leaker Evan Blass believes the exact release date will be Friday, September 16.
How to watch the launch
The event will take place at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco at 10 a.m. local time (6 p.m. in the U.K.). You can stream the launch from Apple’s website on Safari on a Mac, and on Windows 10 using the Microsoft Edge browser.