Apple Watch Series 2: Specs, straps and all you need to know

Apple is refreshing its smartwatch with three new features. Here are the details.

11 April

After the next generation the Apple Watch was a no-show at Apple's March keynote event, new rumours suggest it will be revealed at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference in June.

A research note from Wall Street investment firm Drexel Hamilton, obtained by MacRumors, claims the device could be refreshed "within the next two to three months" – making the conference a likely candidate for its debut.

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The same note also says it "could be 20-40% thinner than the current Apple Watch".

At first, rumours centred on March 2016 being a likely timeframe for the Apple Watch 2's introduction, given that the first generation went on sale in April 2015 and Apple tends to release new versions of products in yearly cycles.

Since it failed to materialist, expectations have turned to it being revealed alongside the iPhone 7 in September.

Regardless of when it is unveiled, says MacRumors, Apple may have to elongate the first device's life span "to avoid consumer exhaustion", as many wearers may have only just picked up an Apple Watch in December, making a year-and-a-half refresh cycle "more appropriate".

The site also lists several other sources who have also hinted at a late second-quarter reveal, including a Chinese report asserting that Apple trialled production of the Apple Watch 2 at the end of January.

While the latest word only suggests a release timeline and a slimmer device, we have come across specification rumours in the past.

Slashgear lists possible additions as including better battery life, something which now seems hard to believe if the watch is going to be much thinner, as well as a FaceTime camera, expanded Wi-Fi capabilities and GPS services.

A facelift should be on the cards, too, with new finishes and bands expected to accompany the device when it finally emerges.

Apple Watch 2: Patents hint at 'smart bands'

04 April

Rumours are building that Apple will unveil an Apple Watch 2 this year, with the most prominent whispers suggesting it could be introduced alongside the iPhone 7 in September.

AppleInsider have the latest news regarding the wearable, reporting on a trio of patents detailing potential "smart bands" that could feature on the next device.

The documents, titled "Modular functional band links for wearable devices", offer "an intriguing taste of a modular hardware ecosystem created to extend Apple Watch functionality well beyond its current limitations", the site says.

Put simply, the straps would break down the components currently housed within the watch face across the entire device, allowing wearers access to different hardware configurations, making use of the six-pin connector on the side of the device.

Doing this would open up many new potential features, such as additional battery life, extra processing power, GPS, a camera, blood pressure or sweat sensors, or even more ambitious additions, such as an extra display or speaker.

According to Forbes, it's "no surprise" that Apple is looking into modular technology for its smartwatch. Being a small device, the current hardware limitations make the Apple Watch a "harder sell", while modular devices are coming into fashion with the release of mainstream smartphones such as the LG G5.

How likely is it? Stuff says that regardless of the added flexibility such a design would offer, wearer comfort must be taken into consideration, with the danger being that the added hardware features could make the watch clunky and poor fitting.

They add that the patents don't make it clear if modular bands are intended for the current Apple Watch or the expected second generation device, "but at least it shows that Apple is considering how to make the Watch more useful in the future".

Apple Watch 2: Price cut hints at new model this year

22 March

Apple has slashed the price of its wearable Apple Watch, it announced at its keynote event in Cupertino, California, on Monday.

Saying the device was now "the top-selling smartwatch in the world", chief executive Tim Cook announced the starting price has dropped £50, making the entry level 38mm Apple Watch Sport just £259. There's also new colour options for the rubber and leather bands and a black Milanese loop, as well as a new woven nylon band.

Although no software update was announced, Watch OS 2.2 is now available to download, according to 9 to 5 Mac, bringing an enhanced maps app as well as making it easier to pair the device with multiple iPhones.

Early rumours had suggested Apple may introduce a second generation smartwatch at the event, especially considering the firm's fondness for yearly releases, and while no official news made it on stage, the firm's price cut hints strongly that an Apple Watch 2 is coming soon.

According to the Daily Telegraph, a new model is "reportedly in development", with the timing of the price cut suggesting a September reveal alongside the iPhone 7 is a distinctly strong possibility.

Phone Arena agrees that the Apple Watch 2 is now getting closer and could see a front-mounted camera setup for FaceTime calls as well as far greater abilities independent of being joined to an iPhone.

However, PC Advisor is a little less bullish, pointing out that while a September reveal makes sense, Apple cut the price of its smartwatch in the US in February – a move many at the time saw as surefire evidence the new version would be revealed at yesterday's keynote.

For now, the tech media is rounding firmly on a September reveal as the rumour mill for Apple's next smartwatch fires up again.

Apple Watch 2: What will March keynote introduce?

18 March

Two new devices are all but locked in to be revealed at Apple's keynote event at its Cupertino headquarters on Monday.

A four-inch iPhone, touted to be called the iPhone SE, is on the cards as well as either an iPad Air 3 or possibly a smaller iPad Pro.

But the Apple Watch is set to feature in some way, too. The wearable was revealed at an event in September 2014, before launching last spring. So what news can we expect?

Will the Apple Watch 2 be revealed?

The odds aren't favourable. Early rumours suggesting that the company could introduce a new version in spring 2016 have been quiet for some time now and expecting an Apple Watch 2 to make its way on stage is now a "long shot", according to Engadget, as the only thing the rumour has got going for it is the tech giant's love for yearly releases.

Phone Arena are a little more optimistic, saying Apple only "spilled all the beans" on its current device sometime after its initial unveiling and that it's possible the company could do a partial reveal to whet the appetite for a full disclosure in September.

TechCrunch had previously said Apple could debut a "minor revision" of the current watch, possibly with a FaceTime camera, but this is still out on a limb.

So what will be on show then?

Less exciting for the tech savvy but good news for the fashion conscious, the Apple Watch will probably get a selection of new bands, including multiple colours for the rubber Sport straps, new Hermes versions, a black version of the Milanese loop and an entirely new line of Nato bands, says 9 to 5 Mac.

A software update could be on the cards, too. Watch OS 2.2 is currently in its sixth beta, though it's not known if the event will see the latest software released or if Apple will merely tell us when it's coming.

The keynote event takes place at 5pm UK time on 21 March and can be streamed online through the Apple website.

Apple Watch 2: Does price cut suggest new timepiece is coming?

17 February

Several major US retailers have dropped the price of the Apple Watch by $100 (£67), fuelling speculation the tech giant could be preparing to launch a new version fairly soon – possibly even next month.

The price cut means US customers can now get their hands on a 38mm Sports model for around $249 (£173).

Such drops are typically followed by the introduction of a new device, but critics are divided as to whether this will happen.

"In the past year, the price of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus smartphones were lowered before the launch of the successor models, the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus smartphones", says The International Business Times, adding that the price drop is signalling a new product.

But more recent whispers go against this. Early rumours suggested the company would introduce an Apple Watch 2 at their much-talked-about keynote event touted to be held in mid-March. More recently, however, those rumours have morphed away from talking about a brand-new product release into just an Apple Watch with a FaceTime camera attached or simply just a software update.

Tech Crunch says the price drop is likely just part of an attempt by Apple to increase its market share in wearables with its first generation product in order to build a solid base to work from when it eventually introduces the Apple Watch 2. More smartwatches on wrists will mean more iPhones in pockets down the line as the two devices pair for some of the watch's functions.

Forbes says that despite the scepticism, it is still widely believed that the current generation Apple Watch will feature in some way at the rumoured event next month and that an Apple Watch 2 announcement could happen at some stage this year.

Apple is believed to be showcasing three devices at the March event. Some form of update for the Apple Watch is on the cards, while a new iPad Air and a fresh entry level iPhone believed to be called the iPhone 5SE are also rumoured to be set for a reveal.

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