Expect an Evolution, Not a Revolution: Apple Having Difficulty Making Improvements to Watch

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The Apple Watch launched to minimal fanfare, and sales have been less than impressive. But it’s the first generation of the device, so many consumers are patiently waiting for the second version—you know, the one where Apple gets more things right.

We’re fairly certain a new Watch is coming this year. After all, Apple can hardly afford to delay an update to the Watch, which came out 15 months ago. But it may not be the major upgrade we have been hoping for.

Earlier reports looked at stronger battery life, GPS, and cellular connectivity. All of these things combined would make the device significantly less reliant on an iPhone to get things done. But as time goes on, it seems some of these improvements are not likely to occur until a third-gen launches late next year.

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This year’s update may, like the iPhone 7 is expected to be too, an incremental one. Marginally superior battery, improved health tracking, and little else. According to Bloomberg, it is because Apple has run into a roadblock.

Apple Inc. has hit roadblocks in making major changes that would connect its Watch to cellular networks and make it less dependent on the iPhone, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The source of the delay is that current cellular chips consume too much battery life, reducing the product’s effectiveness and limiting user appeal, according to three of the people. Apple has begun studying lower-power cellular data chips for future smartwatch generations.

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