Apple Watch Series 2 may be selling like crazy, but it’s not able to stop the rumor mill from guessing about the upcoming Series 3. While Apple is hushed on its existence (as it usually remains), we’ve got to know a lot about the next big thing in the world of smartwatches, all because of rumor mill. So let’s take a look on what we’ve come to know so far about the upcoming version of this already awesome wearable device:
#1. Too Much Playing With Rectangles. Now It’s Time to Get Rounded.
While there’s nothing wrong with a rectangular watch face, there’s no doubt that some people prefer round watches more than the rectangular ones. And it seems that this year those round face lovers may be in luck, because two patent filings discovered by Apple Insider in December last year revealed that Apple has finally figured out how to make a smartwatch with round face. The patents also revealed that Apple was working on non-rectangular shapes for its watch since early 2016, so it shouldn’t be a big surprise if those patents comes to life in Series 3.
#2. LEDs Are Things of Past, Let’s Go Micro LED Now. Because Apple Displays Always Get Better.
Apple has a tendency of breaking the mold when it comes to display technologies. It was the first player to pack ultra high resolution retina display in a tablet, and it dedicates a section solely to displays in almost every major keynote address. So no surprise that major changes are being expected in display technology of Apple Watch as well with rollout of Series 3.
Analysts believe that with its Series 3 smartwatch Apple may move from glass panel based displays to more energy efficient micro-LED displays. There’re two reasons why this belief is taking shape. First is because Apple acquired a company called LuxVUE in 2014, which specializes in mass production of micro-LED displays. Secondly, a report in Taipei Times also suggested that company is about to start mass production of micro-LED-based displays in a Taoyuan based plant by the end of this year.
So we can safely assume that a micro-LED-based display may find its space in next round-faced Apple watch!
#3. Smart Bands. Because Watches Should Get Smarter Truly and Totally.
It also seems that changes coming to Apple Watch with Series 3 won’t be limited to its dial, shape and display tech alone – the watch bands may also get smarter by then. A BGR report published recently said:
Apple also plans to introduce interchangeable “smart watch bands” that add various functionality to the Apple Watch without added complexity, and without increasing the price of the watch itself.
The idea is similar to that of modular smartphones, where modules are used to extend the functionality of phones. For Apple Watch, one possibility is that company may provide the feature of glucose monitoring through a smart band.
#4. Glucose Monitoring and Sleep Tracking. Because Your Health Matters.
Since we’re on the topic of glucose monitoring, let’s talk a bit more about that one first. By now it has become very clear that smartwatches are becoming more popular than standalone fitness trackers and bands. Fitbit saw its sales decline by more than 30% this year with 2.9 million of its wearables sold worldwide, while Apple claimed the top spot in global wearable market with 3.5 million Apple watch shipments. In simple words, people are finding smartwatch better than a standalone fitness tracker, and they’re willing to shell out the bucks for it.
With market going through such a shift, there’s no reason why Apple will not want to pack even more health tracking features into its watch. So with step counting and heart beat monitoring already present, what’re the next major health features that Apple can add to its smartwatch? Glucose monitoring. Why, you may ask. Well, because 30 million people suffer from Diabetes in USA alone. Plus, glucose monitoring always requires some sort of invasive mechanisms, which are, as you know, painful. So if Apple can find a non-invasive way of doing that without substantially increasing the price of watch, there’s no reason why people won’t want it. And it seems that Apple has figured out how to do that, because BGR report cited above also said that:
Apple has identified the right part of the body and there’s so much more they can and intend to do with the watch. While glucose monitoring would be a huge first step in Apple’s goal of continuing to make the Apple Watch indispensable, it’s not hard to imagine a near future where the watch is the hub of our digital and physical lives.
Now as far as sleep tracking is concerned, Apple’s interest in that thing became evident when it acquired Beddit, a company behind some popular sleep tracking hardware and apps. So it should’t be a surprise if a sleep tracking watch band also comes along with Series 3.
#5. And May be, LTE support.
While I’m a little skeptical about it, Susquehanna Financial Group semiconductor analyst Christopher Rolland believes that next Apple watch may come with LTE support built right into it. He said:
We understand a model of the next Apple watch will include a SIM card, and therefore is likely to support LTE. We understand some issues remain, including battery life and form factor size, but significant progress has been made. Apple may be employing VOIP and data across a CAT-M1 connection for superior battery life. Apple will tout interoperability with the company’s AirPods (now on back order till May) to make and receive phone calls (perhaps a small win for Maxim with amps in each ear bud).
If it turns out to be true, it can be another major game changer in the world of smartwatches. However, maintaining battery life and size will be a major challenge to implement such a technology, especially if it’s implemented in the form of removable SIM cards. Because the first thing a removable SIM card implementation will require is a lot of hardware – a tray, a reader and other required components. Plus, some more sealing to keep it water proof. But who knows, if they figure out some way of overcoming all these challenges! After all, they’ve the best track record of achieving things that people thought unachievable.
So Overall, What it May Look (And Work) Like?
Round shaped with a micro-LED display, interchangeable bands and of course, multiple colors. The new features may include glucose monitoring, sleep tracking, an external camera and an external battery, all of whom may be provided through the smart watch bands. As far as an in-build LTE radio is concerned, I don’t think that it’ll be done, because there’re substantial cost related challenges associated with it.
So there you’ve it – a possible picture of what Apple’s Series 3 smartwatch may look and work like, based on the rumors and details leaked till now. How many of these expectations and rumors come true will also become clear in a matter of few months, as Apple is expected to unveil its new shiny toy in 3rd quarter of this year. Until then we can expect the rumor mill to keep us updated, as they’re already doing their job perfectly!