A next-gen Apple Watch could come with more style options but no battery improvements

The Apple Watch has only been widely available for two months, but the rumor mill about next-generation models has already been fast and furious.

According to a 9to5Mac report, a second-generation Apple Watch will be able to do much more without requiring a tether to an iPhone. In fact, we might see a substantial Wi-Fi upgrade, a FaceTime camera integrated into the bezel and more premium models priced at $1,000 and up as early as 2016.

The report noted, however, that an upgraded Apple Watch — which could be known as the Apple Watch 2 — would not get any sort of battery improvement, even though the watch currently requires a nightly charge. Instead, Apple is prioritizing upgrading the hardware because current watch owners tend to have about 30% to 40% battery at the end of the day (with limited active use), the report stated.

With a new OS for the watch coming this fall, owners will be able to update its software to receive FaceTime Audio calls and accept FaceTime video calls that are re-routed to their mobile devices. The inclusion of a FaceTime camera on a next-gen Apple Watch makes sense; it gives users less of a reason to have to reach for their phones.

The current Apple Watch relies heavily on a Bluetooth connection with an iPhone, which is something that the company reportedly wants to change. Currently, the Apple Watch can make a mobile payment (via Apple Pay), activity tracking and music playback, thanks to a Wi-Fi receiver. But it only utilizes it when Bluetooth isn’t available or if a 2.4 GHZ Wi-Fi network is available.

A watch equipped with a stronger internal Wi-Fi receiver would be able to do much more without an iPhone, like emailing, messaging and receiving weather updates. This would also enable a Find My Watch feature like the one that the iPhone and iPad already include.

More premium models are also planned with Apple targeting the space between the regular watch, which tops out at $1,099, and the Watch Edition, priced between $10,000 and $17,000. Apple has a lot of room to close this pricing gap.

Source: Mashable