Apple's long-awaited next-generation Apple Watch 2 is now rumored to be unveiled in the second half of 2016 with a myriad of improvements, including built-in GPS, a barometer, improved waterproofing and a longer-lasting battery.
The latest rumors come from a research note issued to investors by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who regularly publishes his take on details about upcoming products based on supply chain orders and activity. Kuo's latest information was published in an Aug. 7 story by MacRumors.
The next Apple Watch, which could be called the Apple Watch 2, is expected to feature the same screen sizes and thicknesses as existing Apple Watches (pictured), even though they will incorporate thinner displays, the story reported. The next devices will not incorporate LTE cellular capabilities, despite earlier rumors, Kuo wrote in his note.
Kuo's predictions also say that "upgraded first-generation Apple Watch models will [also] debut in the second half of 2016 with similar processor and waterproofing upgrades, but likely without the Apple Watch 2's most significant additions like a GPS and barometer," the story reported. He also "expects another Apple Watch price cut once the new models are launched," the report continued.
The launch of an updated Apple Watch has been rumored since at least June of 2015, but has not yet appeared, according to earlier eWEEK stories. Rumors at that time suggested that an updated Apple Watch would include a built-in FaceTime video camera, more independence from accompanying iPhones and additional models at varying price levels.
The original Apple Watch, which went on sale in April 2015, starts at $349 for the Apple Watch Sport version, which is available with a silver or space-gray aluminum body and with wristbands in many colors. The standard Apple Watch starts at $549 for a 38mm-wide version or $599 for a 42mm-wide model. Prices for the 38mm version can rise to $1,049, while prices for the 42mm model can go up to $1,099, depending on the watchband selected. The regular Apple Watch can be purchased with a fluoroelastomer band or one of three different leather bands. Several luxury versions are also available.
Since its release, the Apple Watch has already received an updated operating system, watchOS 2, which delivers a wide range of new features and options as well as new tools to allow developers to add more future functions. The updated watchOS 2 software gives developers the ability to build faster, more powerful apps running natively on the Apple Watch, while also offering new watch faces and new communications capabilities in the device's Mail, Friends and Digital Touch apps.
In April, Kuo issued an earlier research note that predicts a 25 percent drop in Apple Watch shipments in 2016 as consumers wait for the next version and for the company to make the devices more independent of their accompanying iPhones, according to an earlier eWEEK report.
Kuo also said that his sales drop forecast was also due to a lack of killer apps for users and limited battery life.
In January, a Juniper Research report found that the Apple Watch quickly captured 52 percent of the global smartwatch market in 2015, even though the first Apple Watches didn't go on sale until April of 2015. The popularity of the Apple Watch eclipsed the shipments of competing products from rival companies in less than a year, according to an earlier eWEEK report. In comparison, smartwatches running Android Wear made up less than 10 percent of sales in 2015. At that time, the lack of a strong use case for smartwatches caused consumer sales to lag, the report stated.