As Apple customers, we're accustomed to seeing the most popular consumer products updated annually. Like the iPhone and iMac. However, there are very good reasons why we won't see a new Apple Watch in March.
This thesis is derived from my Particle Debris standout article of the week. It's an exceptionally astute analysis by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes at ZDNet titled: "Apple Watch 2 probably won't land until September, and that makes perfect sense." In this article, Mr. Kingsley-Hughes makes the following important points.
- There us little in the way of competition that would force Apple to rush Apple Watch 2. [However, see below.]
- The Apple Watch is a luxury item that has enduring value, not something that must be updated on a schedule.
- It's more important, right now, to accumulate sales of this product than to upgrade current owners. Many of whom, by the way, paid a pretty penny for their original Apple Watch.
- The rate of change of technology and the limits of technology for this product preclude a quick, dramatic update.
This is a great list. It also complements my own previous argument, an expansion of item #4. "Can the Next Apple Watch Be Any Thinner?" In that article I looked at the conflict of user desires: more features, faster apps, a thinner design, and longer battery life. We can't have them all.
It's like all the US defense projects: You always want your system Faster, Better and Cheaper. The fact is, you can only have two at a time. Pick any two.
In a small device like this, making the battery last longer, to first order, is in conflict with making the the watch thinner and more powerful. And so, I concluded, that it will be several more years before the electronics and battery are small enough to make the watch both more powerful and thinner.
All these arguments, by Mr. Kingsley-Hughes and myself, are another way of saying that it would be unrealistic and unproductive for Apple to release a new Apple Watch after roughly a year. The technological leap would be modest and a new Apple Watch at this point would only serve to alienate Apple's current customers.
Not only that, but many Apple Watch customers, who didn't get up in the middle of the night on April 10th, 2015 to pre-order, weren't able to acquire a watch until mid-May or perhaps later. That makes March of 2016 only a 10 month anniversary. That's so soon, it would only serve to offend the early adopters and luxury smartwatch aficionados.
However, Apple's can't go too long without an update. See, for example, "Smartwatches now more popular than Swiss watches, thanks to Apple." The smartwatch competition will watch for signs of weakness or complacency by Apple, and the Swiss will most assuredly get into a higher gear—the more time they have to work with.
And so there's a middle ground for Apple. The best estimates I've seen are for an announcement in September, 2016 with, perhaps, delivery in time for Christmas. And what's even more interesting? Apple had to be thinking about all of this last summer, planning the hardware, while we were still oggling the first version.
Next: The Tech News Debris for the Week of February 15th.