“The go-to supply chain source for this stuff—KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo—likens the ‘Apple Watch 2’ to the ‘S’ generation phones Apple releases between major, numbered, iPhone generations. These ‘S’ series devices have some spec upgrades, but usually no major new feature or design innovations,” Mark Sullivan writes for Fast Company. “Kuo, who is usually accurate, cites supply chain sources to say that the new Watch will be roughly the same shape and size as the first Apple Watch, but will add a faster chip, a barometer (to measure elevation climbed), a GPS radio (for tracking runs), and some kind of waterproofing rating.”

“Kuo expects the Watch 2 to show up late this year, presumably in time for the holiday season,” Sullivan writes. “The analyst adds that Apple will continue selling the first version of the Watch, but with a faster processor inside and no GPS radio. He says Apple will probably cut the price of the original Apple Watch by as much as $100, which would drive down the cost of the low-end Sports model to under $200.”

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“The lack of GPS hardware has been a major grumble for current owners serious about fitness tracking. A GPS chip would mean the watch would morph into a more serious running mate, logging workouts and taking it one step closer to cutting its e-leash with the iPhone,” Jon Axworthy reports for Wearable. “‘I think Apple will continue to make the watch truly independent for certain types of use cases, including GPS,’ says Bernard Desernauts, CEO of Wristly, the largest independent Apple Watch research platform.”

Apple Watch will within weeks feature watchOS 3 is faster and simpler with breakthrough health features

Apple Watch will within weeks feature watchOS 3 is faster and simpler with breakthrough health features

 
“Taking the watch underwater has been the subject of a lot of the chatter ahead of launch – as well as numerous tests on YouTube, proving that the Watch performs better in the blue stuff than its current IPX7 rating would suggest,” Axworthy reports. “‘We’ve measured swimming as a key activity that Apple Watch owners engage with regularly, so obviously being able to include swimming activity is a natural expectation,’ reveals Desernauts. ‘7% of current owners, me included, swim with their Apple Watch despite warnings and potential loss of warranty and a further 14 percent regularly bathe and shower with it. So, all in all, it’s pretty clear that increasing from IPX7 to higher levels of waterproofness would yield improved market attractiveness.'”

“Access to cloud and internet will soon cease to be chaperoned from the iPhone, believes the Wristly boss,” Axworthy reports. “‘I don’t expect LTE to be available by default to all Apple Watch models,’ says Desernauts. ‘I see it more akin to iPad where an option for it could be made available, while it remains non essential for the base product. I also don’t think the technology is sufficiently advanced in terms of radio and power consumption to provide this without a ‘smartband’ extension of the product.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Built-in GPS is a major selling point. Built-in GPS with the option of adding LTE capability via and Apple Smartband for Apple Watch would be The Holy Grail of Smartwatches. And, current-gen Apple Watch Sport units starting at $199 or less will bring what is already one of our all-time favorite Apple products to the masses!