2016 Apple Watch will be internal 's' upgrade, major design changes to wait until 2017, insider say

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited April 2016
This year's second-generation Apple Watch will feature improved internal components, but its external design will be largely unchanged from the first-generation model, according to well-connected insider Ming-Chi Kuo.




The KGI Securities analyst dished details on the next-generation Apple Watch in a research note issued on Monday, a copy of which was obtained by AppleInsider. Kuo claims that the 2016 Apple Watch will feature "spec improvements with limited changes to form factor design."

Those expecting a new look for the Apple Watch, such as a thinner profile, will have to wait until the company's anticipated 2017 upgrade, he said. This year's model is expected to be much like the iPhone tick-tock upgrade schedule, with an "s" update focusing on the internal components rather than the external design.

The claims are consistent with a rumor dating back to last July, which claimed the second-generation Apple Watch would feature an essentially identical design to the first model, focusing on internal components such as a larger battery and a display with improved outdoor visibility.

Kuo, however, did not share any further details on what he believes the improved internal components of a second-generation watch might be. But he is bearish on Apple Watch sales, predicting that only 7.5 million total units will ship in 2016, citing an "immature" market for wearable devices.

He believes only 10.6 million Apple Watch units were shipped in all of 2015, falling short of market consensus. Apple has declined to reveal any shipment numbers for the Apple Watch, but has said that sales have grown each quarter since it launched in the spring of 2015.




Also unknown is when the next Apple Watch might launch. Incorrect predictions had pegged it for a March launch, while others forecast a June launch that might coincide with Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference. It's also possible the company could showcase an "Apple Watch 2" alongside the anticipated "iPhone 7," which is expected to be unveiled this September.

Apple gave its fledgling wearable device a $50 price cut last month, with the 38-millimeter Apple Watch Sport now starting at $299. The larger 42-millimeter version can be had for $349.

Kuo has a proven track record in predicting Apple's future product plans. Most recently, he was first to peg the $400 to $500 pricing range and all of the hardware specifications for Apple's newly launched iPhone SE.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 85
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 950member
    Hold on didn't he just say it would be 20-40% thinner? As I said on the last article with this apparently "well-connected insider" as the source, I don't understand why anyone listens to this bloke. He changes his mind on a weekly basis, and these for some reason aren't seen as guesses but "updates". As if Apple changes their mind from week to week this late in the game on whether they're changing the design or just a spec bump.

    Anyway, I don't think a spec bump would do much to spur sales. The watch isn't particularly slow for stock apps at the moment, they just really need to fix third party apps. I don't even bother with them now, they don't launch 90% of the time. Also if history is anything to go by, the iPhone had a complete redesign for the 3G, as did the iPad 2. So perhaps the Watch will too.
    ireland1983brian green
  • Reply 2 of 85
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,106member
    This is breaking news? Anybody with half a brain would know the external design isn't going to radically change. Apple isn't releasing all these new bands so they become incompatible in 3-6 months. And anyone who has a watch knows what it needs most is reduced latency. Open an app or glance and it launches immediately not 10-30 seconds later (or never at all).
    mejsricbrometheus1983nolamacguyredgeminipa
  • Reply 3 of 85

    "Well-connected" … 

     Does that mean he has nice tendons? 

    edited April 2016 ration alSpamSandwichirelandbdkennedy10021983nolamacguyargonautbestkeptsecretmagman1979AirunJae
  • Reply 4 of 85
    roakeroake Posts: 642member

    "Well-connected" … 

     Does that mean it has nice tendons? 


    Creepy!
    monstrosity
  • Reply 5 of 85
    levilevi Posts: 344member
    elijahg said:
    Hold on didn't he just say it would be 20-40% thinner? As I said on the last article with this apparently "well-connected insider" as the source, I don't understand why anyone listens to this bloke. He changes his mind on a weekly basis, and these for some reason aren't seen as guesses but "updates". As if Apple changes their mind from week to week this late in the game on whether they're changing the design or just a spec bump.

    Anyway, I don't think a spec bump would do much to spur sales. The watch isn't particularly slow for stock apps at the moment, they just really need to fix third party apps. I don't even bother with them now, they don't launch 90% of the time. Also if history is anything to go by, the iPhone had a complete redesign for the 3G, as did the iPad 2. So perhaps the Watch will too.
    Kuo wasn't credited with the 20-40% depth reduction rumor - simply written as unamed source.

    I don't understand the general animosity towards Kuo. His comments on product release cycles and specs are the most accurate by a mile. His sales projections less so. 
    jetpilotafrodrigatorguyredgeminipa
  • Reply 6 of 85
    levilevi Posts: 344member
    This is breaking news? Anybody with half a brain would know the external design isn't going to radically change. Apple isn't releasing all these new bands so they become incompatible in 3-6 months. And anyone who has a watch knows what it needs most is reduced latency. Open an app or glance and it launches immediately not 10-30 seconds later (or never at all).
    Agreed. There are maybe two third party apps I use, and only sparingly. So far, health tracking, Apple Pay, messages, and music are the primary features I'm using. Also, I find myself using the home screen very little. I find glances and complications work best. Just my thoughts. 
    redgeminipa
  • Reply 7 of 85
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 750editor
    elijahg said:
    Hold on didn't he just say it would be 20-40% thinner? 
    Nope, that was analyst Brian White. We didn't cover that note, because it was purely speculation.
    jetpilot
  • Reply 8 of 85
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,106member
    nhughes said:
    elijahg said:
    Hold on didn't he just say it would be 20-40% thinner? 
    Nope, that was analyst Brian White. We didn't cover that note, because it was purely speculation.
    And this isn't?!?
    SpamSandwichnolamacguymagman1979
  • Reply 9 of 85
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,106member

    levi said:
    This is breaking news? Anybody with half a brain would know the external design isn't going to radically change. Apple isn't releasing all these new bands so they become incompatible in 3-6 months. And anyone who has a watch knows what it needs most is reduced latency. Open an app or glance and it launches immediately not 10-30 seconds later (or never at all).
    Agreed. There are maybe two third party apps I use, and only sparingly. So far, health tracking, Apple Pay, messages, and music are the primary features I'm using. Also, I find myself using the home screen very little. I find glances and complications work best. Just my thoughts. 
    People are hating on 3rd party apps because they take forever to load. I'll bet most people saying they have no use for 3rd party apps would feel differently if they loaded instantly. Apple probably should have waited with 3rd party apps but I get why they probably felt they needed to get developers on board right away and didn't want Android Wear or something else to become the platform of choice for developers.

    I see on Twitter tech writers still complaining about battery life. I don't get it. I wear my 38mm watch go bed every night. I charge it for maybe a half hour before I got to bed and when I wake up it's about 80% so by the time I shower and get ready for the day it's fully charged again. Are these people spending 4 hours at the gym every day? Or is it just not wanting to have to charge another thing? I think that's a lame complaint.  Takes 2 seconds to slap the watch on its charger and it doesn't take that long to charge at all.
    redgeminipamagman1979AirunJae
  • Reply 10 of 85
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 750editor
    nhughes said:
    Nope, that was analyst Brian White. We didn't cover that note, because it was purely speculation.
    And this isn't?!?
    Someone citing sources is not speculation. Someone speculating, and saying they are speculating, is speculation. I realize you don't like Kuo, and he may very well end up being wrong on this one. But he has consistently nailed Apple's future product plans months before anyone else, time and time again, for years. As long as he keeps providing accurate information, we'll keep covering him.
    jetpilotpatchythepirateafrodriargonautgatorguymacgui
  • Reply 11 of 85
    Regardless of the accuracy of the rumor (it's fun to read the guesses, that's why I'm here), I wonder about the form factor thing. Especially compatibility of existing straps / bracelets. They've been pushing those accessories pretty hard, and many people have several of them they swap out. It'd be a shame if the new ones were incompatible with last year's straps every year. I have the first Apple Watch and have spent a fair deal on straps, and personally, I will consider upgrading to the new one this year if it's the same form factor, but if it's an all new design, I will wait. I guess Apple has to figure out how many potential new buyers there are vs number of potential upgraders.
  • Reply 12 of 85
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,106member
    nhughes said:
    And this isn't?!?
    Someone citing sources is not speculation. Someone speculating, and saying they are speculating, is speculation. I realize you don't like Kuo, and he may very well end up being wrong on this one. But he has consistently nailed Apple's future product plans months before anyone else, time and time again, for years. As long as he keeps providing accurate information, we'll keep covering him.
    There's a difference between nailing product plans (which is debatable considering some of them are no brainier stat any one of us could nail) and sales projections. And considering Apple doesn't release sales figures for the Watch these predictions can never be proven right or wrong.
    SpamSandwichelijahg
  • Reply 13 of 85
    AI_liasAI_lias Posts: 300member
    This is breaking news? Anybody with half a brain would know the external design isn't going to radically change. Apple isn't releasing all these new bands so they become incompatible in 3-6 months. And anyone who has a watch knows what it needs most is reduced latency. Open an app or glance and it launches immediately not 10-30 seconds later (or never at all).
    Why do the bands not have to fit if the external appearance is changed? Can't they change everything else except the band connectors?
  • Reply 14 of 85
    sflagelsflagel Posts: 591member
    There are only so many things that people want to upgrade every year or two; while at the same time, no one wants to be seen wearing or using an old device. I would feel comfortable if the Watch design settles to four year upgrade cycles (after the next one in 2017, it could be a tad thinner and the two buttons got to go), the iPhone form factor changed every two years, and the Pad settled to four regarding its looks. Macs seem to be on a 5-6 year cycle? I am a pretty average person and feel that I could follow that upgrade cycle without breaking the bank, and feeling that I don't get pressured into buying the next gadget just for the looks.
    edited April 2016 applesidewinder
  • Reply 15 of 85
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,106member

    joe28753 said:
    Regardless of the accuracy of the rumor (it's fun to read the guesses, that's why I'm here), I wonder about the form factor thing. Especially compatibility of existing straps / bracelets. They've been pushing those accessories pretty hard, and many people have several of them they swap out. It'd be a shame if the new ones were incompatible with last year's straps every year. I have the first Apple Watch and have spent a fair deal on straps, and personally, I will consider upgrading to the new one this year if it's the same form factor, but if it's an all new design, I will wait. I guess Apple has to figure out how many potential new buyers there are vs number of potential upgraders.
    At the last Apple event Cook said over 30% of Watch owners own multiple bands. Apple just released new nylon bands. If Apple released a new watch this summer or fall that was incompatible with existing bands there would be outrage (rightfully so) and I think it would kill the product and hurt Apple's reputation. My expectation is we'll see upgraded internals and the bands and software will be the area of focus. Maybe we'll get smart bands, maybe we'll see more partnerships like Watch Hermés, better watch face options. There's lots Apple can do to improve the product that doesn't involve a whole new case design.
  • Reply 16 of 85
    nhughes said:
    Someone citing sources is not speculation. Someone speculating, and saying they are speculating, is speculation. I realize you don't like Kuo, and he may very well end up being wrong on this one. But he has consistently nailed Apple's future product plans months before anyone else, time and time again, for years. As long as he keeps providing accurate information, we'll keep covering him.
    There's a difference between nailing product plans (which is debatable considering some of them are no brainier stat any one of us could nail) and sales projections. And considering Apple doesn't release sales figures for the Watch these predictions can never be proven right or wrong.
    If "anyone" could nail these product plans since they are "no brainers" then why don't we see articles quoting your statements on AppleInsider?  After all, it's so easy that you claim anyone could do it.
    ai46afrodrigatorguy
  • Reply 17 of 85
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 750editor
    More interesting to me is the fact that the second-gen iPad and iPhone both featured relatively significant changes from the first-generation hardware design. If Apple doesn't launch a Watch 2 until September, that'll be two years after the first Watch was announced, and if it keeps the same external design, that would actually buck Apple's own trend.
    patchythepirate
  • Reply 18 of 85
    macapfelmacapfel Posts: 506member
    I agree. Third party apps have lots of problems. It really is unclear why. Either they take ages to load, don't load, or crash. I also think, another design or thinner is not important. Make it faster. And once Apple has don this – speed it up.
  • Reply 19 of 85
    It's not Kuo but the elevation of Kuo to well connected insider that rubs us raw. So drop that superlative please
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 20 of 85
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 750editor
    Eezibleed said:
    It's not Kuo but the elevation of Kuo to well connected insider that rubs us raw. So drop that superlative please
    Name an analyst with a better track record.

    Our stories are written so that our large audience of casual readers, many of whom are not necessarily familiar with Kuo's name or past predictions, and who do not participate in the comments, get an idea of how reliable he is. Calling him a "well-connected insider" makes it clear to the reader that this isn't just some run-of-the-mill rumor. Doing so better informs our readers.

    This is the exact same reason that we continue to tell readers that Gene Munster was the "Apple is going to build an HDTV by 2010" guy when he makes claims about an Apple Car or virtual reality. It's an editorial decision we've made, and it's not going to change unless Kuo's track record changes. But our commenters are, of course, welcome to continue criticize Kuo in the comments.
    kpompatchythepiratetokyojimuafrodriargonautroundaboutnowgatorguy
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