Ap­ple Watch

Mac Format - - 2016 -

The Ap­ple Watch is rather like the orig­i­nal iPhone: a flawed, frus­trat­ing hint of what’s to come rather than a fully evolved prod­uct. The release of watchOS 2 made it bet­ter, but it’s a work in progress.

The sec­ond gen­er­a­tion is likely to be an­nounced in late spring. It should ad­dress some, but not all, of the cur­rent Watch’s fail­ings: we would ex­pect a faster pro­ces­sor and more re­li­able apps, though not sig­nif­i­cantly im­proved bat­tery life or a rad­i­cally re­designed case. Ap­ple is more likely to ex­pand the range of cases and straps, pos­si­bly in­clud­ing cheaper op­tions and a range of pre­mium met­als for more af­flu­ent cus­tomers, than to go back to the draw­ing board. That doesn’t mean it won’t change at all – a slightly thin­ner, more wa­ter­proof Watch with im­proved sen­sors is likely – but we think any changes will be evo­lu­tion­ary rather than rev­o­lu­tion­ary. A thin­ner screen to make room for more bat­tery? Sure. A round Watch? Don’t hold your breath.

The big­gest prob­lem with the orig­i­nal Watch is its de­pen­dence on the iPhone; even with na­tive apps run­ning on the Watch, which was en­abled in watchOS 2, the Watch loses most of its pow­ers when it can’t con­nect to your phone. A built-in LTE ra­dio is un­likely, but the abil­ity to con­nect to Wi-Fi net­works with­out re­quir­ing an iPhone would be a valu­able new fea­ture. That would also en­able Find My Watch, and if it’s teamed with a small front-fac­ing cam­era it would en­able FaceTime video call­ing from any­where your Watch can find a Wi-Fi con­nec­tion.

The most tan­ta­lis­ing ru­mour is sup­port for Smart Straps, watch straps that add ex­tra func­tion­al­ity. That’s some­thing Peb­ble smart­watches of­fer, with straps adding ex­tra bat­tery power, no­ti­fi­ca­tion LEDs or ex­tra sen­sors. Imag­ine the ecosys­tem that could cre­ate.

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