Watching what prognosticators think of Apple’s Watch future is fun to watch. No matter how hard we try to envision or predict the future, what actually arrives is different than what we thought in the past.
Watch is no different. Today, Watch is an accessory to iPhone. That’s it. It’s cool. It works. Notifications are a wonderful enhancement on the whole Apple ecosystem thing that we fan folk buy into, but today’s Watch needs today’s iPhone. What about Watch tomorrow (actually, more like September)?
Watch Me Now!
Somewhere deep within the bowels of Apple’s HQ in Cupertino, CA there sits Watch 2; a prototype of things to come. And, if you know anything about Apple, you know it’s not a singly prototype, but multiples. And, typical of Apple, know one– even at Apple– knows which one of the prototypes will hit manufacturing later in the summer.
That’s how Apple rolls.
Nearly 18 months after the original Watch became available a version 2.0 of Watch will make a public appearance. From that new device we will get a sense of Apple’s direction for the future. Watch 2.0 will be an incremental version, but likely to contain enough that’s new and different and compelling that many Watch 1.0 owners will upgrade to 2.0, and many of those who sat on sidelines in 2015 and half of 2016 will rejoice because 2.0 is destined to be a notable improvement.
It must be.
So, what’s coming from Apple in Watch 2.0?
It’s very possible that Watch 2.0 will look and feel exactly like Watch 1.0, but do more. Much more. More sensors. More notifications. More bio-feedback. Longer battery life would be a plus, but that’s almost a nit as my Watch makes it through every day, every day, and still has 30-percent of so of battery juice left inside.
What I expect, beyond a sensor that can read blood pressure (do you know how cool that is?) or, even better, blood sugar (instantly, Watch would sell by the gazillions) is a list of incremental upgrades– full on Wi-Fi so the Watch can be almost a standalone device.
It should be obvious to anyone who’s used Watch for more than an hour, actually used apps instead of staring at the time, that Apple’s idea of using applications is a little whacko. For example, how do you even find the app you want? None of the apps are labeled as apps are in the iPhone and those little circles breed into more circle icons which makes the whole mess a mess. Apple can make Watch 2.0’s app icons work like the iPhone; important ones upfront, swipe to windows of other apps, and let you control the mess from the iPhone’s Watch app.
But what could be even better is better Siri for Watch 2.0. Siri isn’t bad now, but just needs to improve and become a better listener. Here’s an example. On my iPhone 6s Plus, a simple ‘Hey Siri…’ gets Siri’s attention right away, even when the screen is off and locked. It’s that good. Watch? Not so much. Tilt Watch, and yell, ‘Hey Siri…’ about six times does the job. Some of the time. Most of the time a Watch owner looks stupid yelling into their wrist.
There’s talk that Watch 2.0 might have full on 4G LTE capability, and could answer calls and make calls without the iPhone being nearby. That would be cool, but probably a big battery drain, and more likely the bedrock of Watch 3.0, the real design change, sometime later in 2017.
So, I expect more Siri, Wi-Fi, HomeKit and HealthKit, different navigation (read this), more sensors, but the same design. Watch 3.0 would bring more sensors, 4G LTE, and a different design (of the thinner, lighter, faster variety, and one thing many of us want to see.
A round Watch screen.