Apple Watch is almost due for its annual hardware update, which comes like clockwork every September. First came the addition of GPS, then cellular, a thinner case with a bigger screen, a compass, and even an ECG heart monitor.
With each new model, Cupertino’s wearable creeps closer to perfection, which presents a bit of a problem. What do you add to the smartwatch that has everything?
Here’s my top 10 wish list of features I’m hoping Apple has up its sleeve.
Apple Watch Series 6 wish list
1. Qi wireless charging, so I never get caught short
I wear my watch all day, and log a daily two-hour workout. The battery lasts fine as long as I remember to charge it every night. But if I forget, I usually get caught short the next day. Which is a big problem, especially if I’m traveling.
The problem is that Apple Watch uses a proprietary wireless charger. If I forget to take the special cable with me on my travels, I’m screwed. That’s why I’m hoping Series 6 will switch to standard Qi wireless charging instead. That way, I could charge my watch pretty much anywhere.
This would presumably require the back of the watch to be flatter (see my next point). It might also finally enable Apple to release the AirPower charging mat, which, rumor has it, was scuppered by problems with Apple Watch’s non-standard charging.
2. A thinner design
The Apple Watch form factor has hardly changed since it was introduced five years ago. The design has stood the test of time, and it’s great that all the bands fit all the models. But maybe the time has come for a bit of a refresh. A less bulky case, with less bulge at the back, could make Apple Watch look sexier than ever. And it could allow the watch to sit nicely on Qi wireless chargers.
3. True Tone display to match your watch face to your strap
This might sounds like I’m being picky, but one thing that really bugs me about my Apple Watch is the way the color of the watch face doesn’t always match the strap. This is particularly noticeable when you have a special band that ties in with a watch face. For example, Nike‘s “Volt” color option (see photo), or the Pride band with rainbow stripes that seamlessly continue onto the face.
The problem is that the band color looks different depending on the lighting conditions, whereas the display always looks the same. Funnily enough, Apple already has a solution for this nit-picky problem. The True Tone technology used on iPhones and MacBook Pros would be perfect for Apple Watch. It could calibrate the display to match the color of the band.
You can expect to see loads more matching band and watch face combos if Apple adds True Tone support in Series 6.
4. U1 ultra-wideband chip to point the way
One of the less-hyped features of iPhone 11 is the new U1 chip, which supports ultra-wideband technology. This enables it to point out any other U1-equipped devices nearby. Trouble is, right now, unless you know someone else with an iPhone 11, it’s pretty much useless.
That’s why putting a U1 chip into Apple Watch would be so cool. If you lose your iPhone 11 somewhere around the house, an arrow on your Apple Watch display could literally point out where it is. Plus, if Apple ever gets round to releasing its much-rumored AirTags, your Apple Watch could point out where your keys are, too.
5. Get rid of water lock mode
Apple introduced water lock mode in Apple Watch Series 2. It’s handy if you want to take your watch for a swim or go out in the rain. But there are some major drawbacks:
– You have to enable it manually.
– It disables all the controls, so you can’t use your watch.
– It makes a weird noise to eject water from the speaker when you’re done.
We’ve come to accept these shortcomings, and celebrate them with slo-motion videos. But you know what would be better than water lock mode? Not needing it. I’d like an Apple Watch that works in water without the need to activate a special mode.
6. Global roaming and support for all LTE bands
The eSIM technology currently used in Apple Watch doesn’t support global roaming. So if you travel abroad, you’re out of luck. Series 6 could fix this with an upgraded eSIM solution that supports any roaming agreements you have with your network operator.
Apple Watches bought in the United States are not currently compatible with most European cellular networks and vice versa. So Apple would also need to address this by making one Series 6 model that works with all LTE bands.
7. Louder speaker
I’ll admit, I have profound hearing loss, so no speaker could ever be loud enough for me. But even for people with normal hearing, it can be tricky to take a voice call from your wrist when you’re out and about in a noisy environment. A louder speaker would be music to my ears.
8. A camera for FaceTime and quick snaps
A front-facing camera would be great for making FaceTime calls from you wrist. Plus, when you turn your wrist around, you could use it for taking quick snaps.
I realize it would be hard to frame pictures without a viewfinder. And the picture quality of a camera in such a tiny device might not be great. But even a quick snap is sometimes better than no picture at all.
I wish I could show you a photo of the amazing three-mast schooner I saw while I was out running yesterday. But I can’t because I didn’t have my iPhone with me and there’s no camera on my Apple Watch. So you’ll just have to imagine how cool it was.
9. More health sensors to save more lives
Apple Watch is more than just another gadget. It actually saves lives. Each time Apple adds another medical sensor, its life-saving potential increases.
It won’t be a surprise to see more health sensors added to Series 6. One likely candidate is a blood oxygen sensor, like the one already included in Fitbit wearables. A blood oxygen sensor also could be helpful for people with lung diseases like COVID-19. It could even be used by the Workout app to increase the accuracy of its VO2 max estimates.
10. More accurate GPS and workout distance
I go for a run every day and I always take the same running route. So I know that the distance I’m running is always the same. But the results I get from Apple Watch vary. Sometimes I just wear my watch and leave my iPhone behind. Sometimes I take my iPhone with me. This seems to make a huge different when it comes to the distance estimates I get. (They vary by as much as half a mile on a 7-mile run.)
The route maps my Apple Watch generates are also not very accurate. They’ve improved over the years with hardware updates, but they’re still not as good as the results I got from my TomTom watch 10 years ago.
I’m not sure exactly what the issue is here. Maybe the watch’s metal case attenuates the GPS signal, which gives cheaper plastic running watches an advantage. Whatever the problem may be, I’m hoping we’ll see an improvement in Apple Watch Series 6.
What features do you want in Apple Watch Series 6?
Those are the features I want to see in the next Apple Watch. What are you hoping for?