Apple Watch 2 Gaining More iPhone Independence, FaceTime Camera, Longer Battery Life

The Apple Watch was announced back in September 2014, but it was just released to the public two months ago. Those who were able to get their pre-orders in early have had plenty of time to assess the pluses and minuses of Apple’s first wearable. Now that product availability is beginning to improve, even more people are getting a taste of what the Apple Watch has to offer.

With that said, information is already starting to trickle out about the next generation Apple Watch, and it looks as though it will address some of the strongest criticism leveled at the current generation wearable. This information is coming from a source that has been incredibly accurate when it comes to previous Apple product leaks, so we’re pretty confident in the reports accuracy — it also helps that the features mentioned are either no-brainers or make a whole heck of a lot of sense for a second generation Apple Watch.

Apple Watch Sport

The Apple Watch 2 is expected to gain more independence from your iPhone, which should be a boon for those that don’t want to lug their iPhone around when running or exercising. The Apple Watch currently relies on Bluetooth connectivity for short range connectivity to an iPhone or Wi-Fi (while on the same network) when you’re out of Bluetooth range. When you’re out of Bluetooth or Wi-Fi range of your iPhone, the Apple Watch is little more than a heart rate monitor, step counter, and glorified watch (albeit one with Apple Pay support). The Apple Watch 2, however, will have expanded Wi-Fi capabilities (similar in concept to the recent Android Wear update) which would allow the the device to handle text messaging, emails, update weather data, and Wi-Fi-based location triangulation without the need of an accompanying iPhone.

Another feature that makes a lot of sense is the inclusion of a front-facing camera to enable FaceTime calling from your Apple Watch 2. FaceTime video calls functionality would be an extension of the video playback and FaceTime audio support that was announced with watchOS 2. Other features are gimmes like improved battery life — something that isn’t as terrible on the current Apple Watch as originally reported. I’ve personally been using a 38mm Apple Watch Sport paired with an iPhone 6 for the past week and have been seen the battery meter hover at 50 percent or higher before hitting the hay (I usually wear the watch for 16 hours per day). The one time I fell asleep with the watch on, it was at 44 percent when I woke up the next morning. While this is perfectly adequate for my needs, improving upon this performance would be the icing on the cake.

The Apple Watch 2 is expected to launch in 2016, which should give early adopters a bit of breathing room before they inevitably chuck their current generation wearables for the “new hotness.” Will we see the new hardware this September when the new iPhones are announced? Only time will tell.