Don't Expect a New Watch Every Year

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by iBreatheApple, Sep 9, 2014.

  1. iBreatheApple macrumors 68030


    Sep 3, 2011
    This is just speculation, of course, but I can't see them upgrading the watch every year. Thoughts?
  2. sportello macrumors member

    Sep 6, 2014
    I actually think they've left a lot of easy-to-implement software and hardware improvements for the next few years. For one, I think they intend to include more health sensors in the future. Heart-rate and motion tracking alone are kind of a letdown, and you know Apple is aiming higher.

    Apple likes to iterate, and I can't see it being any different with this. The consumer-oriented versions of these devices are generally less expensive than iPhones (or similar in price), so it's not like they're being framed as an investment for the future, as some speculated prior to release.
  3. Patriot24 macrumors 68030


    Dec 29, 2010
    I agree. I think we are looking at 2-3 year cycles. Don't know why, just a feeling.
  4. sportello macrumors member

    Sep 6, 2014
    I find it highly, highly unlikely that they are going to open up a new category like this and then leave it to stagnate while their other products get updated yearly. Especially in the fickle world of wearable anything, where things go out of style both technologically and stylistically at a constant rate.
  5. Kiju macrumors member

    Jul 18, 2010
    I'd actually be surprised if this were the case. I understand that apple is trying to brand this as a premium watch, and an integral part of premium watch culture is longevity and timelessness. This thought process makes it seem like this isn't a product that's supposed to be updated or replaced every year. Under traditional circumstances this would make sense.

    The problem with this is that tech is a very fickle market. As soon as products go on the shelves theres already something way better being developed around the corner. Wearables are a massive market right now, everyone big is trying to get in on it. There's a giant trend in more localized, targeted, integrated products and it really is where we see the future going at the moment. That being said, apple was comparatively late to the game. We already see huge companies on second and third generations of these products. And everyone's only getting better at it.

    For apple to just release one attempt and not touch it for 2 - 3 years seems insane to me. 2 - 3 years from now the tech in the current watches of the time are going to be much better from now and with the market being a bit more aged, the direction for those products will be more focused. For apple not to keep up with the pace of the market just seems like throwing in the towel in an arms race for overload of the wearables market.

    I predict a 12 - 18 cycle for this.
  6. Squid7085 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 14, 2002
    Charlotte, NC
    For my wallets sake, I really hope not. This doesn't seem much like a watch that needs the "tock" part of the cycle. I really only want a new one when they can make it thinner and pack in a bigger battery.

    However, I think for the next few years, that could happen pretty quickly. So I'm under the impression we might be seeing yearly upgrades, particularly until Apple gets it where they "want" it to be. I have no doubt in my mind there is a reference model in Cupertino that is what they "want" the watch to be, and will be when they can fit the components in it.
  7. iBreatheApple thread starter macrumors 68030


    Sep 3, 2011
    I am somewhat interesting in pursuing the gold option; but I will be a little perturbed if the Apple Watch is on a yearly refresh cycle. If I cough up $1200 for this thing, and it's outdated by numerous generations in just three years... I just can't justify it. Many people will ask; Does a refresh render yours useless, or less functional than when you bought it? The answer is, of course, no. But I think you can see where I'm coming from.
  8. mariotr87 macrumors regular

    Aug 12, 2011
    They need to update it every year if they want to stay in the game. This is no less true for other devices, but this in particular is a new market and so there's lots of room for improvement.

    Some examples:
    -Include GPS - This is a must have.
    -More sensors
    -Reduce the thickness
    -Although related to the previous one, overall improvements in the design (this is actually the first product where design inherently matters)
    -Improve battery life (they haven't commented on this...for a reason). This is not only for convenience, sleep tracking is not possible if we need to charge it every night.
    -Make it water proof

    The list goes on really...Tim Cook may not be as charismatic as Steve was but he is very smart, I would expect annually updates, at least for the first 3-4 iterations.
  9. swedefish macrumors 6502

    Feb 12, 2008
    The design is stunning. I guess none of the people who criticise it actually know who Marc Newson is or what his works looks like. The man designed a $25k+ hourglass, not to mention the price points of the ikepod watches he has designed which approach the same levels.

    I do not expect annual hardware updates, but I do expect some components to be replaceable.
  10. C64 macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2008
    But they can't just rely on first adopters to drive future sales. And if they want new customers after the first year, they can't keep selling old hardware.

    Seeing as how little space they have, and the battery life is so important, the year-over-year upgrades will be very incremental anyway, and they'll be relying more on software changes at first.


    It's a water-resistant watch that's completely sealed with high end machinery. Apart from the straps nothing will be replaceable.


    Probably a difficult one, because of battery life. But it sucks for everyone who wants to use this on a run without dragging their iPhone (6 Plus!) along.

    Keep in mind that they didn't design this in a few weeks. It might get a bit thinner if they can build more efficient batteries, but this is the design they envisioned. Don't expect that it'll change much in future generations.

    This isn't the kind of watch you wear to bed anyway. I think they just want you to rely on the iPhone's M8 sensor and use sleep tracking apps.

    Might be difficult because the taptic engine needs to move up and down. So there has to be some kind of moving part that can't be completely sealed.


    I agree. They might be confident enough that Samsung can't even come close to copying this even when they pre-announce it now, but in a year most companies in this space will have similar watches, user interfaces and comparable straps. Maybe not with the precision and finesse of Apple, but Apple will have to keep renewing something.
  11. swedefish macrumors 6502

    Feb 12, 2008
    And you know this how?
  12. C64 macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2008
    Nobody knows anything about what Apple will do, but do you really think this is the kind of device you can just pry open to replace some RAM? Jony described it as a complete computer on a single chip, that was then completely encapsulated.

    What kind of "components", apart from the strap, do you expect to be able to replace and how?
  13. Menel macrumors 603


    Aug 4, 2011
    More sensors.
    Ditch the display (I already have one in my pocket).

    And count me in.
  14. swedefish macrumors 6502

    Feb 12, 2008

    Did I ever say that I believed that it was user replaceable? I do not see why it shouldn't be possible to change the battery at an apple store, like you would go to a watch store to change your watch battery. And, why not the possibility to change the chip as well? That would be truly innovative. Either way, I was speculating, and you were writing in definitives, thus why I questioned you.
  15. Wishbrah macrumors regular

    Oct 20, 2013
    A lot of their devices are technically encapsulated: iPhones, MacBooks, iMacs, Time Capsules, etc. Obviously, none of these are closed to the point of being water resistant, but surely that comes down to gaskets and adhesives that prevent water from easily entering. Take one look at how to dismantle an iMac and you'd swear the thing is water-resistant as well (ignoring the vents on the back, and the plugs).

    A great majority of their products can be taken apart by those who are motivated. Apple can dismantle them and recycle components, why would they choose not to incorporate this into the Watch? Not only would they save cost on rebuilding devices, but they would save cost on repairs.

    As others have noted, it's hard to speculate how often a refresh cycle is needed. It's a brand new category for Apple, with different needs.

    -Based on some expensive pricing, I'm assuming the refresh cycle is much longer, and the Watch will fundamentally stay the same for quite some time.
    -Based on the time spent in R&D, I'd assume a longer refresh cycle.
    -Based on the internal CPU components, I'd assume shorter refresh times just because those are always advancing. In this case, I think they'd be best served to neglect a design change.
    -Based on the sensors, I'd assume longer refresh cycles (designs would need to change to some degree, and other physiological sensors may not even be likely to fit into a watch or are currently too invasive - EKG, BG measurements, blood pressure, blood measurements of Estrogen/Progesterone levels in women, to time their monthly ovulation (kidding - but probably will happen on a consumer level within 10 years)).

    I still have a 4S and was hoping to keep it until iOS support is dropped, but these Watches may convince me to upgrade earlier. I'll take one in stainless, please, and a couple different straps.
  16. C64 macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2008
    Sure, Apple will be able to recycle and probably repair certain components. Maybe that's what swedefish meant, but he implied that opposed to having new hardware each year, you could replace individual components:

    Having Apple replace a faulty battery is very different from upgrading internal specs.

    Also, these devices are really small compared to all the other Apple products you can open up with the right tools. Maybe (certain) Apple Stores will get specific training and the necessary machinery/tools to open them up, but even for something as "simple" as replacing the battery, I don't see that happening in the store.

    But it's not just about existing customers buying another watch, it's also about new customers buying their first. And each year you don't upgrade your device, even incrementally, it gets harder to sell because by then there will be tons of competitors who do bring out new products. Doesn't really matter if they're better or not, selling an x-year old device is difficult, and no new hardware means no press about that new hardware, which is bad for brand awareness.

    All of the big Apple products have had very long R&D times before their initial launch. The iPhone/iPad weren't created within a year either, but have a yearly refresh cycle.
  17. Wishbrah macrumors regular

    Oct 20, 2013
    All good points, C64. I think the primary concern stems from the casing or physical appearance of the device. People who are able to drop several hundred (if not, over a thousand) on a new Watch won't be thrilled if a redesign comes out every year or two. I'm sure they will hold their value well, but there's nothing like a redesign that places a nail in the "fashionable" coffin quite as quickly.

    That being said, if functionality is maintained for several years, maybe it wouldn't be a huge issue for most. Will be very interesting to see how it plays out. Personally, I'll probably buy one and just not worry about the what-ifs. I swear my 4S has been more buggy since the iPhone 6 event. :-$
  18. JayLenochiniMac macrumors G5

    Nov 7, 2007
    New Sanfrakota
    Not really. The Rev A MacBook Air with the SSD option was quite pricey at over $3k yet it had a refresh cycle consistent with the rest of the lineup. All it matters is it starts at $350 and that's likely low enough for mass adoption.
  19. in2tech, Sep 13, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2014

    in2tech macrumors regular

    Aug 23, 2012
    I think it will be a yearly cycle because people will get different models of the watch. Some people will get the 2015 watch and not buy another again until 2017, or even maybe 2020, and other people will be buying in different years just like other Apple products. For instance I have a 2012 MacBook Air and hope it last 3-6 years. Just like a few people just bought a new iPhone and are moving from the older models that are years old.

    Also, is the $349.00 starting price including the watch band? The way they appear to have made it you could buy all three watches and switch them out, and switch the bands, and even switch out different model years, right? A different band, (wait for the 3rd party bands too), a completely different year watch, thickness, design, color, etc...if they keep the strap part exchangeable.

    Personally I want the Dick Tracey watch (man am I old) and know I will be waiting a long time for that, if ever.

    I mean as long as the basic watch functions continue to work, battery, etc... couldn't you wear an Apple watch for a long time, and switch them out like a traditional watch? Say for instance one year they come out with a round version option, just to shake things up. So you would have a choice between the rectangular and the round. I don't think they will but who knows. This could be interesting or it could just be a niche market like the Mac Pro, or even fail, but I doubt it.

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