Apple Watch 6 – likely specs, rumours, news and release date

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Apple Watch 6

The Apple Watch 6 will have some surprises. Bigger than you think. Maybe even more More ‘Pro’ than you think.

We’ve just had a partial announcement of what watch OS 7 holds in store for us when fully released in September 2020. Let’s have a look at what we think will be added at the same time to the upcoming Apple Watch 6 (AW6), including other to-be-announced features on watch OS7 and the necessary hardware changes behind it all.

If we first look at the hardware in the current Apple Watch 5, we can set the scene for what is to the AW6 later this year because it is the hardware capabilities that provide the platform on which Apple can innovate with software

Background: Apple Watch 5 – Current model

There are 6 models of the Apple Watch 5, namely these

GPS: A2092 (40mm), A2093 (44mm)
GPS + Cellular: North America: A2094 (40mm) A2095 (44mm), Europe, Asia Pacific, and China mainland: A2156 (40mm) A2157 (44mm)

with each one requiring a separate FCC designation. However, most of us just see the ‘big’ version and the ‘small’ version as well as the ones with/without LTE/cellular. It won’t surprise you when I say that Apple is cleverer than that when it comes to differentiating between their products, thus there are cosmetic variants differentiated by combinations of cases, bands, and exclusive watch faces. Here’s a quick overview

Background: Apple Watch Evolution

I won’t go into too much detail here but the technical evolution of the innards of the Apple Watch over the last 5 years is surprising when considered holistically. There was more change than I expected to find. More interestingly the current Apple Watch 5 seems to coincide with the end of the life cycles of several of its components – change is coming. Here are some examples of what I mean

To me, all that is pointing towards a more powerful device for September, one which is a bigger incremental change than we saw last year with the AW5, perhaps with next-gen screen tech, Underlying the change will be components with less of an appetite for battery juice and perhaps a better battery in and of itself – all of which could signal a notable improvement in the overall battery life. And that would make sense as watch OS 7 enters into the realms of deeper sleep features…simply put, at the moment you cant sensibly charge the watch and deliver a proper sleep experience.

Current Considerations: Apple Watch at a Cross Roads?

You can be sure that Apple’s marketing team have modelled changes to the competitive landscape. But here are some facts and related speculation

These points mostly all support the annual update to the AW6 having the regular GPS and Cellular regional versions, a cut down 6 SE model to replace the AW3 and the possibility of a PRO model.

Known Futures

A fundamental driver in wearable tech right now is medical usage. Sure daily smarts, sleep and sports are all important but the key evolution now, and where much investment is being made, is into medical-grade tech.

Wearable tech is spreading through many demographics and Western populations are ageing. The elderly and the young will be ever-more important markets

Apple Watch goes through 2-year hardware cycles, with a notable hardware release one year being followed by a more modest improvement the next year. On that basis, AW6 will be a ‘notable’ release.

As a sports person, I know that SpO2 is of minimal interest to me yet Afib for the young and SpO2 (blood oxygen) for more vulnerable people is a key piece of tech and, more importantly, tech that’s used by the competitors. Apple has fallen behind.

We now know some of what will be in watch OS7 and Apple specifically said that the June 2020 announcement was only PART of what was coming in September with the full software release. Presumably, the full watch OS7 will contain features specific to the AW6 that are not intended for earlier models and perhaps also features that will differentiate a lower-cost SE model from a premium/Pro AW6.

The recent announcement of the addition of sleep tracking really was obvious and nevertheless represents a major update for Apple, although if and how it might link to a revamped Apple BEDDIT is anyone’s guess. Apple might have grand designs for sleep or they might just be playing feature catch-up with the competition.

Another interesting innovation that was announced is the ability to share watch faces. Nice, clever…but ‘shrug’.

A further leak has been that the ‘force touch’ screen action is removed in Wear OS7. Again supporting Apple’s change in screen tech that I am certain will come in September.

watch OS 7 – cycling directions, sleep & more added to Apple Watch

Unknown Futures

People have a strange way of finding out what Apple is up to. One thing that would be near-impossible to determine prior to launch would be the release of new sizes or shapes. With competitors like Zepp producing a rectangular and circular format smartwatch, Apple must realise that many people prefer round format watches, just as Garmin did even when a rectangular face is a superior sports format.

Similarly, it will be hard to determine exactly when the crown will go. Apple has patents for non-crown interfaces but the competition like Zepp and Oppo have already released Apple Watch Wannabees without a crown.

Apple Watch 6 – Predictions

Predictions with the percentage likelihood of them happening.

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Thoughts? Comments below, please

Here are predictions and leaks for pretty much every other GPS sports device available right now

October 2020: Sports Watch Update: All new & current Bike/Run/Tri/Fitness Models with GPS. Rumors + replacement dates for Garmin, Apple, Polar, Suunto, Wahoo, Samsung, Fitbit

More Info: wiki

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