Apple is expected to announce the latest version of Apple Watch on Tuesday, presumably called Apple Watch Series 5, if naming conventions are maintained. But where does Apple take the next watch? What improvements can make it become the type of product that Series 4 owners (or even Series 3 or Series 2) will rush and update?
Part of the problem is the lack of competition from the current Watch. Apple dominates the smart watch industry at an almost absurd level: last year, it accounted for more than half of the total sales of all smart watches, selling more than double than Samsung and Fitbit, the two and three places in the ranking , combined, according to Strategy Analytics.
Apple also comes from a major redesign for the Apple Watch last year, the first that has been made since the product was introduced in 2015, which means that the Series 5 models will surely continue to use the Series design 4 instead of something new. It is particularly revealing that the most important updates that are rumored for the Apple Watch this year are cosmetic, such as filtered titanium and ceramic cases, or software-based, such as the independent App Store and the rumored sleep tracking.
Watch's previous updates did not have the same problem, thanks to the long list of missing features, such as proper waterproofing, microphones and functional speakers, and an independent LTE connection that unleashed it from an iPhone. But now the watch already has all those things, and the list of missing features that Apple could add this year is starting to look increasingly thin.
That does not mean that the clock is perfect, of course. The battery life is still short compared to the one-week numbers reached by the Fitbit Versa line. Siri remains frustratingly inconsistent, which is a problem when it is also the only real means of text entry due to the small screen size. And, of course, the holy grail of any smartwatch, a screen always on that does not require hand contortions to show the time, is still far from Apple's reach.
But the rumored features that will come to Apple Watch this year may also show the way forward. As Apple announced when it launched the Watch for the first time, the fact that it is constantly on its wrist makes it "the most personal device of all time" of the company. New styles and materials that allow you to combine a new watch with its aesthetics is one way Apple can help you achieve that goal. New health features, such as sleep and period monitoring, are another.
Apple is so ahead that the only real competitor for a new Apple Watch is an old one, especially once the Software lock -in – Apple (naturally) allows its watches to integrate much more deeply with iPhones than any competitor, making it the de facto option for hundreds of millions of iPhone customers. In addition, Apple's industry-leading support for old hardware, with the next watchOS 6 available to everyone, except for the first generation of the Apple Watch, means that Apple needs to have compelling reasons to persuade current customers to buy a new one.
But without more significant competition to push it forward, it is possible that Apple can continue to cost with its huge market leadership and iterative updates. As the saying goes: if it's not broken, don't fix it.