The original model appeared in April 2015; the second generation, which included the Apple Watch Series 1 and Apple Watch Series 2, debuted in September of 2016.
It’s conceivable that Apple could bring out the next Watch this fall, but right now it’s pretty unclear. And a product introduction could come in a number of forms ranging from a major redesign to a minor, iterative upgrade. Plenty of other manufacturers will launch wearables during the second half of 2017, and it would be odd if Apple didn’t throw something new into the mix.
One major factor potentially impacting the timeline: the next iPhone. Apple usually unveils its new flagship during the first week or two of September. This year, however, supply chain sources are warning that the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 7S and 7S Plus, expected to be based closely on the current generation, are facing serious production challenges.
One rumored blockbuster upgrade is a cellular modem, which would enable calling and texting from the Watch without the need for an iPhone. In March, Barron’s published an article citing a semiconductor analyst’s research on the topic; he claims that the next Apple Watch will come equipped with a SIM card and support for LTE.
Since the run up to the second edition of the Watch, there has been (hopeful) speculation about a camera. According to 9to5Mac, Apple has considered building a camera into the Watch’s top bezel, making it the smallest device capable of running FaceTime.
Aside from giving the Apple Watch yet another competitive advantage in the market, this feature would finally fulfill the decades-old promise of George Jetson’s watch.
There are a few changes potentially coming to the Apple Watch’s display. One is a shift from the Apple Watch 2′s OLED display to Micro LED — a brighter and more efficient variation of the technology. Nikkei Asian Review has reported that Apple is piloting Micro LED technology for wearables, though it’s unlikely that the new panels would find their way into a final product until 2018. And DigiTimes has reported that Apple will move to glass-firm touch panels for the third edition of the Watch, leaving behind the touch-on-lens panels onboard the Apple Watch 2.
The original Apple Watch started at $349 for the 38mm model and $399 for the 42mm edition in the US. In March 2016, the company slashed prices by $50, dropping the entry-level price to $299. Today, the Watch Series 1 starts at $269 (38mm) and $299 (42mm) and the Watch Series 2 at $369 (38mm) and $399 (42mm). Barring a bombshell redesign, featuring cellular connectivity or an integrated camera, the consensus is that Apple will stick pretty close to the current pricing scheme with the Watch 3.