Apple Watch 2 rumors: launch date revealed by manufacturer

Apple Watch 2 rumors: launch date revealed by manufacturer
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Apple’s first plunge into the wearable world is just getting started, but rumors of the Apple Watch 2 are already heating up. Even though the launch of a second-generation Apple Watch is clearly in the distant future, Apple is presumed to be hard at work on the project, so no doubt the rumors will come pouring in about the device over the coming months. Updated on 11-13-2015 by David Curry: Added in report that the Apple Watch 2 may launch on Q2 2016. 
Here are all the first rumors about the next Apple Watch:

Launch date confirmed?

Apple has its contractors sign strict non-disclosure agreements when building new products, but Quanta Computer’s chairman Barry Lam may have accidentally revealed the launch date for the Apple Watch 2. In minutes of an investors’ meeting, spotted by G4Games, Lam said the Apple Watch 2 was already in development, with a planned launch in the second quarter of 2016.
Quanta is the sole manufacturer of the original Apple Watch, so it does seem likely Apple would continue to use the Taiwanese manufacturer for future wearable projects. Lam said that while stores will start selling the Apple Watch 2 in the second quarter, mass production will not start until the third quarter next year. That fits with analyst predictions for the Apple Watch 2 launch date.

 Launching in the second quarter means that Apple will most likely reveal the Apple Watch 2 at its new March event, where it announced the original Apple Watch and 12-inch MacBook last year. Either that, or it announces the Apple Watch 2 at WWDC 2015, but that seems unlikely since WWDC is a software event for developers.

No big design changes planned

A new report out of South Korea, which was spotted by G4Games, states that the next Apple Watch will stick with its original design and form factor. The Apple Watch 2 will supposedly sport the same rectangular screen sizes with the same resolution, and the body of the watch will be identical to the current model.
The report claims that the Apple Watch 2 won’t be any thinner — even though the display thickness is said to be shaved down — because the battery will be made larger. Apparently, both LG and Samsung are creating the displays for the next Apple Watch. This might allow the Apple Watch 2 to be compatible with all of the straps made for the original Apple Watch.

A camera for FaceTime calls

Apple wants to make the Watch 2 appealing even to those that already own the Watch, and plans to add some new features to make the wearable more appealing. That’s according to 9to5Mac’s intrepid Marc Gurman, who writes that future Apple Watches will sport a front-facing video camera for FaceTime conversations and much-enhanced wireless capabilities.
Sources told 9to5Mac that it’ll sit near the top of a future Apple Watch’s display and enable wearers to make and receive video calls right from their wrists. That wouldn’t make the next-generation Apple Watch the first smartwatch to pack a camera — that dubious honor goes to the Samsung Galaxy Gear — but it’d be the first with camera placed in an orientation suited to video calling on a smartwatch (the Galaxy Gear’s faces outward).
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Samsung Galaxy Gear 2
Samsung’s Galaxy Gear with camera.

 The feature, should it make it to market, would be a surprising but not entirely unexpected addition. Apple arguably laid the groundwork for a camera with FaceTime Audio audio integration in watchOS 2.0, the forthcoming Apple Watch update. However, many believe that the report won’t actually prove true.

More iPhone-free activities

However, video calling is no good without solid connectivity. That’s where making the Apple Watch “tether-less” comes in. Allowing the Apple Watch to do more without a Bluetooth connection to your phone is part of an internal Apple initiative, 9to5Mac claims.
Apparently, a “more dynamic” wireless chip will let next-generation Apple Watches perform tasks without needing to be connected to an iPhone over Bluetooth. The current-generation Apple Watch already uses Wi-Fi for app updates and simple messaging, but the report implies that the new chip will enable features like heavier data transfer and router triangulation for improved location accuracy.
Of course, FaceTime video and more powerful wireless connectivity will come at an unsurprising cost: power. In fact, 9to5Mac says the increased consumption will largely negate any battery improvements. It’s a trade-off that Apple may be comfortable with, Gruman reports. Through the course of market research, the company found that the majority of Apple Watch owners are satisfied with its current one-day battery life.

 The FaceTime camera and improved wireless are as of now slated for a second-generation Apple Watch, which is expected to be introduced in 2016, but 9to5Mac reports that plans may change depending on the “roadmap” and “component availability.”

More expensive models and new materials

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Apple Watch Faces
One apparent certainty for the next Apple Watch, though, is more expensive models. The company is exploring price points between the $1,000 stainless steel Apple Watch and $10,000 18-karat gold Edition. 9to5Mac suggests the material used to make the watch casing and strap will still dictate the price, and materials like titanium, tungsten, palladium, platinum, and so on may be introduced to the lineup.
Some may question the wisdom of wrist-based video calling and platinum smartwatches, but others might call them the inevitable march of progress. Whatever your opinion, Apple’s plans are undeniably ambitious, and it’ll be interesting to see just what form they ultimately take.

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