It shouldn’t shock anyone to hear that new Apple Watch models are coming soon. But a bit of confirmation is nice. That confirmation is buried in iOS 12 beta 2, released today.
There are four additional Watches in the offing. Their internal identifiers seem to indicate that Apple isn’t shaking up its wearable offerings this year.
Although an Apple Watch can somewhat operate on its own, it’s nevertheless tied in many ways to an iPhone. Software updates have to come from the handset, for example. That’s why iOS 12 has information about all Watch models embedded in it, including some future ones.
The new identifiers in iOS 12 Beta 2 are Watch4,1, Watch4,2, Watch4,3 and Watch4,4. They line up perfectly with the identifiers for Apple Watch Series 3: Watch3,1, Watch2,2, Watch3,3, and Watch3,4.
In last year’s devices, these corresponded to the four main differences between models: built-in 4G LTE or not, and either a 1.65-inch (42mm) or 1.5-inch (38mm) display.
It seems likely the 2018 Apple Watch offerings will break out in the same way. Even so, there have been rumors and speculation that Apple is planning some changes.
Apple Watch Series 4 rumors
Reliable Apple savant Ming-Chi Kuo predicts the 2018 Apple Watch display will be 15 percent larger than the current one. That would give it a 1.9-inch screen.
Another unconfirmed report indicates that Apple’s next-gen wearable will have solid-state buttons with haptic feedback. This will reduce the number of moving parts.
In addition, the company is reportedly moving from OLED screens to microLED technology. The new type of screen uses inorganic components for its tiny LEDs. They can be even thinner than OLEDs, and also don’t need a backlight.
Earlier this year, Apple received a patent for a wearable with a round screen. This restarted the debate on whether an Apple Watch with a circular display is possible or desirable. Whether that will happen in 2018, later, or not at all is anyone’s guess.
There have been reports for years that Watch bands with additional features are in development. A band with an external battery is an obvious possibility, or one with a camera.
New health-monitoring features are almost a given. Fitness is one of the top uses for Apple Watch, and additional tools to look for heart problems and other maladies has been expected for some time.
We’ll know for sure in September, when Apple is expected to launch Apple Watch Series 4.