Even though it’s only been about two months since the Apple Watch Series 5 debuted, analysts are already talking about what next year’s version may hold.
For many users, the always-on display on the new Series 5 has been a game-changer, allowing Apple’s wearable to be worn and used a lot more like a normal watch than was previously possible. Still, it’s hard to argue that the Apple Watch Series 5 wasn’t that big of an upgrade from last year’s Series 4, since the only other new feature it added was a built-in compass, while other features, and even the CPU, stayed almost exactly the same as in the Series 4.
That said, of course, it was a much bigger upgrade from the Series 3, leading us to believe that Apple has settled into the same sort of bi-annual upgrade cycle for its wearable that it has for the iPhone. If this is the case, however, that suggests that next year’s Apple Watch Series 6 may bring even bigger and better things to your wrist.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo certainly seems to think so, and in a research note with investor firm TF International Securities, seen by MacRumors, he’s predicting that the 2020 Apple Watch will offer a performance boost across the board, along with improved water resistance.
Not only is Kuo predicting that the Apple Watch Series 6 will get a faster CPU — which would be a potentially useful bump considering this year’s S5 didn’t offer any improvement over last year’s S4 — but he’s also added that Apple plans to improve the wireless transmission speeds, both for Wi-Fi and for cellular.
While it’s debatable exactly how fast the wireless service on the Apple Watch needs to be — users aren’t exactly streaming 4K video or uploading large photo collections from their wrists — the improvements would have the more important benefit of delivering better connectivity in situations where the signal was weak or the network was more congested.
Kuo doesn’t elaborate on what specific improvements we may see in either the CPU or wireless performance, but these would most likely also be used to power other new features of the wearable, as Apple has already done in the past. For example, Siri voice feedback didn’t become an option on the Apple Watch until the Series 3 was introduced with a 64-bit CPU that could handle the voice synthesis.
Kuo’s claims of improved water resistance are similarly interesting, since Apple has offered a “swim proof” model of the Apple Watch since it released the Series 2 back in 2016. However, there are limits to this level of water resistance; the Apple Watch is currently only certified for submerging to a depth of up to 50 meters, and Apple also recommends that you avoid exposing it to “soaps, shampoos, conditioners, lotions, and perfumes,” as these could damage the waterproof seals and acoustic membranes. Steam is considered a bad idea for similar reasons.
So improvements to water resistance could simply address some of these limitations, but could also push the Apple Watch beyond, making it suitable for water sports activities like scuba diving and water skiing.
Apple is expected to switch to liquid crystal polymer (LCP) material for its circuit boards in next year’s Apple Watch, which Kuo believes will help it accomplish these new advancements.
However, Kuo didn’t offer any comments on other new features that could be coming to the Apple Watch. We’ve heard numerous other reports that a future model could include sleep tracking, although this could also come to the current Apple Watch lineup via a new ‘Sleep’ app that’s rumoured to be in the works.
Sleep tracking might also necessitate some battery and power management improvements, since users would be encouraged to wear their Apple Watch to bed rather than charging it overnight, and with Apple’s continuing efforts to eke more power out of its devices, it’s a safe bet that we’ll also see at least some improvements in this area in the Apple Watch Series 6.