Rumor: Next-gen Apple Watch to feature GPS, other improvements, will be released this fall

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Date: Friday, August 19th, 2016, 05:40
Category: Apple Watch, Hardware, Rumor, Watch OS, Wearables, wireless


The next-gen Apple Watch may still be somewhat dependent on the iPhone.

Sources have stated that Apple is planning to launch a next-gen Apple Watch this fall with integrated GPS and improvements to health tracking.

Apple shipped its first watch in April 2015, hoping for a new blockbuster product amid slowing iPhone sales, which contribute almost 60 percent of revenue. While the company shipped 1.6 million watches from April to June, that was less than half as many as during the same period in 2015, according to IDC.

Since its inception, wireless network carriers have been urging Apple to create an Apple Watch variant that can connect to data networks without the aid of the iPhone, thereby untethering it. Apple had been in talks this year with mobile phone carriers in the U.S. and Europe to add cellular connectivity to the watch, according to people familiar with the talks. A cellular chip would have theoretically allowed the product to download sports score alerts, e-mail and mapping information while out of an iPhone’s reach.

Apple executive have apparently stated that cellular models of the Apple Watch may not be ready for 2016 and could be pushed back to a later generation. Apple has apparently suggested, via internal communications, that this feature would be ready by December 2016 at the very earlier.

The source of the delay is that current cellular chips consume too much battery life, reducing the product’s effectiveness and limiting user appeal, according to three of the people. Apple has begun studying lower-power cellular data chips for future smartwatch generations.

Even without cellular connectivity, Apple still anticipates shipping models of the watch that can more precisely determine a user’s location by way of GPS chips that communicate with satellites. This technology would allow the device to track running and walking distances more precisely and improve the accuracy of data submitted to health tracking applications, two of the sources said. The GPS would also make navigation on the watch more accurate.

As of June and the WWDC event, Apple has been focusing on health-based features, including a new app to track breathing, for the next generation of watchOS this fall. The updated watchOS is expected to launch apps more quickly, allow users to more easily move between different watch faces and adds a new swipe-up menu to access battery and audio controls.

While Apple’s ultimate goal seems to be to untether the Apple Watch from the iPhone, there may still be a ways to go where the technology is concerned.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Via Bloomberg

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