As has been an annual tradition for several years now, Apple is expected to announce its latest Watch in September. As usual, we expect it to be revealed alongside a new iPhone family, too.
We haven’t seen much in the way of leaks for the Series 6 just yet, but a lot remains on the table. A design change is possible, given the Series 4 and 5 are identical, and we expect to see a range of new features via Apple’s new watchOS7 software.
Apple has stuck tightly to the same naming system since the second generation of Apple Watch, which was called the Series 1. As such, we’ve no reason to believe the new model will be called anything other than the Watch Series 6.
Apple Watch Series 6: Release Date
This is usually an easy question to answer, as Apple has announced a new watch alongside the new iPhone for the past few years now. However, with the coronavirus first affecting Apple’s Chinese supply chain, and now causing the company to close all of its retail stores until further notice - not to mention millions of people being in lockdown - it’s difficult to say when the watch will actually arrive.
Apple managed to launch an updated MacBook Air and iPad Pro this month, suggesting its supply chain is approaching normality. But we suspect an increased need for companies to work from home will affect the development of products due later in 2020, like the Watch Series 6 and new iPhone.
Apple Watch Series 6: What we want to see
As we mentioned earlier, the Watch Series 4 and 5 are visually identical, so it could well be time for an aesthetic refresh with the Series 6. We wouldn’t want to see the Watch get any larger, as we think the current 40mm and 44mm are spot on, but perhaps the body could be made slimmer, with reduced bezels and a slightly larger display.
Speaking of the display, it has been reported that the new Watch Series 6 could use a microLED display in place of the OLED one used today. This would use less power and potentially mean an extended battery life.
We would also love to see Apple install a Touch ID fingerprint reader under the display. Such technology is already used by smartphones from Samsung and others, but is yet to appear on any Apple product. We hope this arrives on the Watch Series 6, as it would make for a simpler and more secure alternative to typing in a PIN on the display, and we can’t see Face ID coming to the smartwatch any time soon.
Apple Watch Series 6 expectations: A new Digital Crown
An Apple patent made public in February this year revealed how the company is experimenting with a new firm of Digital Crown for a future model of Watch. Instead of freely rotating, the patent describes a crown that moves less and is touch-sensitive, for swiping and scrolling.
Separately, the patent also talks about a light sensor which passes ambient light information to the watch’s processor. This could be to adjust screen brightness based on lighting conditions, but that isn’t entirely clear for now.
Apple Watch Series 6 specs: More power and improved waterproofing
Back in December 2019, just a couple of months after the last Watch went on sale, the often-reliable Apple Ming-Chi Kuo had news on the Watch Series 6. He stated that the new Apple wearable would have a faster processor and improved waterproofing.
Although Kuo can be applauded for making predictions so far in advance, power and waterproofing improvements are fully expected for products like this, and it would be a surprise if Apple didn’t do this for the Series 6.
Apple Watch Series 6: Software and features
While we still don’t know much about the hardware of the Watch Series 6, we have a much better understanding of its software. Code from Apple’s upcoming iOS 14 iPhone software, leaked earlier in March, revealed the foundations for a sleep-tracking Watch app.
Although there are numerous third-party sleep tracking apps for the Watch, this is the first we have seen of Apple making its own. This would suggest Apple is confident enough of the Series 6’s battery life, as previously it hasn’t offered sleep tracking due to the battery struggling to last a full 24 hours for heavier users of the Watch.
The leaked code also revealed a new watch face with tachymeter complication, and a way to set custom watch faces to friends, and a tool called Schooltime to help parents manage the apps of their child’s Apple Watch.
There was also evidence in the code of a new health and fitness feature for tracking the wearer’s blood oxygen level, and improvements to the existing ECG app.
Will the Apple Watch Series 6 have a circular display?
Finally, while somewhat unlikely for now, we can’t help but entertain the idea of Apple switching to a circular display for the Watch Series 6.
To be clear, there is no indication that this will happen. But renders published online in late-February show how such a device might look.
We think some of the models shown in the render video look great, but worry that shifting from a square display would limit how much of notifications (and text generally) could be seen without constant scrolling.
Hopefully, we’ll get a clearer idea of what Apple has planned in the coming weeks. Although the company’s WWDC event will not take place in person due to the coronavirus, we are hopeful that new software for the iPhone and Watch will still be shown off by Apple in June as normal, ahead of a public release in September.