We've grown accustomed to new Apple Watches debuting with iPhones every fall since Series 1 and Series 2 were launched in 2016, but does Apple Watch need a 'Series 5' this year to stay competitive? Probably not, and Apple waiting for 2020 to introduce the next-generation Apple Watch doesn't seem impossible.
No Series 4 Upgrade?
I have purchased a new Apple Watch every year since the original in 2015, and I will be first in line to buy the latest upgrade if it happens this fall. But I am also preparing for the possibility that there will be no upgrade to Series 4 this year.
Apple Watch Series 4 is very good. Apple sent a fast Apple Watch that does not feel impaired by the watchOS 6 software company, and the new design makes it age particularly well.
Series 4 has also evolved over time with new features such as ECG and advanced pulse detection that are still rolling out across the globe. This reflects the first year of the Apple Watch which took time to roll out and lasted 18 months.
Series 3 has also held up well to what could be a two-year lifecycle to be sold new in stores. Series 3 was the first Apple Watch with an optional mobile connection, and it still controls what competition you can find in the smartwatch space.
Fall lineup opportunity
So how could Apple refresh the Apple Watch lineup this fall without taking us to the next generation? One possibility is what we saw three years ago with Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2.
Apple Watch Series 2 was a compelling product, but Apple needed a cheaper alternative that was not held back by the first generation speed chip.
How we got the Apple Watch Series 1. Just like the first generation Apple Watch, but with a faster chip called the S1P as compared to the Series 2 chip minus GPS connectivity.
If Apple Watch Series 4 is not affected this fall, would it make sense for Apple Watch Series 3 to see a speed increase for longevity?
Another option would be to drop Series 3 from the lineup and lower the price of Series 4. The problem with this scenario is pricing, will almost certainly need to rise again for Apple Watch Series 5.
And even though Apple Watch Practically no competition, customers still expect the product line to stay healthy. Apple could address this point by introducing new aluminum case colors that match the latest aluminum iPhone colors.
Apple could also revive the ceramic white and gray versions at the end, remixing the entire lineup with new banding options – especially for stainless steel gold.
Why consider this now?
Maybe there will be a series 5 this year as generally expected, but rumors of what this upgrade might include are virtually nowhere. Cellular was widely expected for Apple Watch Series 3, and rumors were rumored for a physical redesign for Apple Series 4.
Reliable supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of TF International Securities predicted the return of the Apple Watch ceramic this fall, but it doesn't That doesn't necessarily mean a next-generation watch. Kuo also predicted that the ECG feature would reach many more countries, but it already happened quickly with Apple Watch Series 4.
There are rumors of what we should expect to see from Apple Watch in 2020. Bloomberg reported that natural sleep tracking may be coming to Apple Watch as soon as next year, and recent reports predict that the LED display can be replaced with a microLED display.
This is not to say that there are no more features that people will see from the Apple Watch now – as a display forever – but we just haven't seen any reporting on what's coming this fall for the clock.
Good or bad for Apple Watch?
We know that Apple Watch Series 1 and above will be enhanced with the watchOS 6 software update – one that further develops Apple Watch as an independent device from the iPhone – but we can also see that the Apple Watch launch also moves away from the iPhone- the event in the fall?
Personally, I would have taken speed improvements and other benefits that can be provided in an annual update to Series 4, but I have to admit that the current lineup is also very advanced.
If it turns out that there is no new generation watch this year, I would not consider it a warning sign for the future of Apple Watch. Rather, it will show that Apple is dragging the arrow even further back in the bow before releasing the next big Apple Watch.