Up to 40% Thinner Apple Watch 2 Predicted to Debut at WWDC in June

Apple-Watch-trioApple analyst Brian White of Wall Street firm Drexel Hamilton, who is currently on a Chinese tech tour, today issued a pair of research notes highlighting his upcoming Apple Watch and iPhone expectations through the end of 2016.

Foremost, White cites a source who believes only the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus will feature a dual camera system, echoing the same prediction made by often-accurate KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo earlier this week.

The analyst claims that iPhone 7 production is expected to begin in July, and the next-generation smartphone is expected to help Apple and its suppliers return to smartphone growth in the second half of 2016, just months after the iPhone likely experienced its first year-over-year quarterly sales decline ever. Apple announces its Q2 2016 earnings results on Monday, April 25 at 2:00 p.m. Pacific.

Our meeting with a tech supply chain company highlighted a rough end to 2015 with significant forecast reductions from Apple; however, forecasts have been stable since then with 2Q:16 expected to be the trough. After a YoY sales decline in 1Q:16, our contact expects to return to growth in H2:2016. Production of parts of the iPhone 7 are expected to begin in July.

Meanwhile, White predicts that the Apple Watch could be refreshed within the next two to three months. He believes that a 20% to 40% thinner Apple Watch 2 could be unveiled by June, possibly at Apple's annual WWDC, which could take place between June 13-17 based on scheduled availability at Moscone West, the San Francisco convention center where the developer event is typically held.

Finally, we walked away with the sense that the Apple Watch refresh will not occur in September with the iPhone 7, but is more likely to occur within the next 2-3 months, and thus we believe an unveiling at WWDC in June makes sense. We believe Apple Watch 2 could be 20-40% thinner than the current Apple Watch.

Early rumors suggested that the Apple Watch 2 could debut at Apple's "Let Us Loop You In" event in March, which saw the introduction of the iPhone SE and 9.7-inch iPad Pro, but multiple sources have now reported that the next-generation wearable could debut around September. The original Apple Watch was announced in early September 2014 and released in late April 2015.

A few reports do line up with the June timeframe. In November 2015, a Chinese report surfaced indicating that Taiwan-based supplier Quanta Computer was developing the Apple Watch 2 in time for a late-second-quarter launch, with volume shipments beginning in the third quarter. In January 2016, another Chinese report said Quanta would begin trial production of the Apple Watch 2 by the end of that month.

Moreover, in September 2015, Cowen and Company analyst Timothy Arcuri claimed that the second-generation Apple Watch will launch in mid- to late-2016 and be thinner than current models. Few other details are known about the upcoming device beyond a June 2015 report that said it will feature a FaceTime video camera and expanded Wi-Fi capabilities, while new bands and finishes are always a possibility.

Whether the Apple Watch 2 is introduced in June or September, it appears clear that Apple may be elongating the wearable's release cycle beyond one year to avoid consumer exhaustion. Many customers only received the Apple Watch in December during the holiday shopping season, so a new model launching this spring may be considered too soon. A closer to year-and-a-half refresh would seem more appropriate.

Brian White is a longtime Apple analyst that currently serves as Global Head of Technology Hardware & Software at institutional brokerage firm Drexel Hamilton. He previously worked at investment bank Cantor Fitzgerald, where he held the same title, and Topeka Capital Markets. Like many analysts, he has both hits and misses in regards to Apple's upcoming product plans.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 9
Related Forum: iPhone

Popular Stories

iPhone 16 Pro Sizes Feature

iPhone 16 Series Is Just Two Months Away: Everything We Know

Monday July 15, 2024 4:44 am PDT by
Apple typically releases its new iPhone series around mid-September, which means we are about two months out from the launch of the iPhone 16. Like the iPhone 15 series, this year's lineup is expected to stick with four models – iPhone 16, iPhone 16 Plus, iPhone 16 Pro, and iPhone 16 Pro Max – although there are plenty of design differences and new features to take into account. To bring ...
Apple Watch Series 9

2024 Apple Watch Lineup: Key Changes We're Expecting

Tuesday July 16, 2024 7:59 am PDT by
Apple is seemingly planning a rework of the Apple Watch lineup for 2024, according to a range of reports from over the past year. Here's everything we know so far. Apple is expected to continue to offer three different Apple Watch models in five casing sizes, but the various display sizes will allegedly grow by up to 12% and the casings will get taller. Based on all of the latest rumors,...
iPhone 16 Pro Left Side Feature

iPhone 16 Pro Again Rumored to Come in New 'Rose' Color

Tuesday July 16, 2024 3:53 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max will be available in a new "Rose" color, claims a rumor out of China, corroborating previous claims. Chinese Weibo-based leaker OvO Baby Sauce OvO, a relatively new source of supply chain leaks, said on Tuesday that the new color code for the iPhone 16 Pro models is simply "Rose," not the previous "Rose Gold" color that Apple first offered ...
New MacBook Pros Launching Tomorrow With These 4 New Features 2

M5 MacBook Models to Use New Compact Camera Module in 2025

Wednesday July 17, 2024 2:58 am PDT by
Apple in 2025 will take on a new compact camera module (CCM) supplier for future MacBook models powered by its next-generation M5 chip, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Writing in his latest investor note on unny-opticals-2025-business-momentum-to-benefit-509819818c2a">Medium, Kuo said Apple will turn to Sunny Optical for the CCM in its M5 MacBooks. The Chinese optical lens company...
tinypod apple watch

TinyPod Turns Your Apple Watch Into an iPod

Wednesday July 17, 2024 3:18 pm PDT by
If you have an old Apple Watch and you're not sure what to do with it, a new product called TinyPod might be the answer. Priced at $79, the TinyPod is a silicone case with a built-in scroll wheel that houses the Apple Watch chassis. When an Apple Watch is placed inside the TinyPod, the click wheel on the case is able to be used to scroll through the Apple Watch interface. The feature works...
macbook pro january

Best Buy's Black Friday in July Sale Takes Up to $700 Off M3 MacBook Pro for Members

Monday July 15, 2024 11:05 am PDT by
Best Buy's "Black Friday in July" sale is in full swing today, and in addition to a few iPad Air discounts we shared earlier, there are also some steep markdowns on the M3 MacBook Pro. You will need a My Best Buy Plus or Total membership in order to get some of these deals. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Best Buy. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small...

Top Rated Comments

MacGod Avatar
108 months ago
How about they don't make it any thinner, but use that 'extra' space to put in better battery!

Now that would be great!
Score: 122 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Porco Avatar
108 months ago
Apple to finally release a thinner product? It's about time!*

*this joke contains up to 100% recycled materials.
Score: 105 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Shanesan Avatar
108 months ago
I'm a Watch owner. The Watch doesn't need to be any thinner. It needs to be faster with more HealthKit tie-ins other than movement and heartbeat.

It needs to be a LOT of things, but the LAST thing it needs to be is thinner.
Score: 103 Votes (Like | Disagree)
profets Avatar
108 months ago
Of all products, especially first generations, the Apple Watch is one where I truly don't mind the size and don't think it needs to get thinner. I was so hoping for some extra sensors or GPS and keeping the same battery life.

And most importantly, SPEED!
Score: 79 Votes (Like | Disagree)
arggg14 Avatar
108 months ago
Good, it needs to be thinner. However, until they can make it functional without having to have your phone nearby, I don't see the point.
Score: 70 Votes (Like | Disagree)
levitynyc Avatar
108 months ago
I'm more interested in being 400% more useful and functional.
Score: 38 Votes (Like | Disagree)