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 6
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
58 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)
Avatar
58 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)
Avatar
58 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)
Avatar
58 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)
Avatar
58 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)
Avatar
58 months ago
I'm more interested in being 400% more useful and functional.
Score: 38 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iPhone 12 Lineup Rumored to Be Named 'iPhone 12 mini,' 'iPhone 12,' 'iPhone 12 Pro,' and 'iPhone 12 Pro Max'

Monday September 21, 2020 5:24 am PDT by
Leaker known as "L0vetodream" has today shared the alleged naming for the upcoming iPhone 12 lineup on Twitter. The tweet proposes that the upcoming iPhone 12 models will be titled "iPhone 12 mini," "iPhone 12," "iPhone 12 Pro," and "iPhone 12 Pro Max." The names likely correspond to the three expected sizes of iPhone 12, with the 5.4-inch model being the iPhone 12 mini, the 6.7-inch model ...

iOS 14 Widgets Offer iPhone Users Creative Home Screen Ideas

Sunday September 20, 2020 8:43 pm PDT by
Updated on September 22nd with hands on video. In iOS 14, Apple introduced ‌the concept of Home Screen‌ widgets, which provide information from apps at a glance. Widgets can be pinned to the Home Screen in various spots and sizes, allowing for many different layouts. Despite the relative lack of...

Hands-On With iOS 14 Widgets, Custom Icons, and Home Screen Setup

Tuesday September 22, 2020 3:25 pm PDT by
Apple with iOS 14 introduced widgets on the Home Screen, leading to unprecedented levels of customization for the iPhone. Combined with Shortcuts that let you change an app's icon, iOS 14 lets you create a whole new look for your Home Screen. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. We've been following along with some of the creative alternative Home Screen designs that M...

PSA: New Apple Watch Owners Have to Return Entire Device for Ill-Fitting Solo Loop or Braided Solo Loop

Monday September 21, 2020 3:26 pm PDT by
With the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple introduced two new band options, the Solo Loop and the Braided Solo Loop. These new bands are unique because they have no clasps, buckles, or other fasteners, and instead use a stretch design to allow them to pull onto the wrist over the hand. Because these bands are not adjustable, Apple sells each one in nine different sizes to make sure each person...

Apple's iPhone 12 Event Could Happen on October 13 Based on Rumors From Mobile Operators

Wednesday September 23, 2020 11:51 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone-centric event could perhaps be held on Tuesday, October 13, according to information shared with MacRumors by an employee at a UK cellular carrier. There's no way for us to confirm the dates at this point in time nor are we sure on the credibility of the source, but even without a rumor, Tuesday, October 13 is a good guess based on Apple's historic launch timelines, ...

New Images Leak of iPhone 12 Braided USB-C to Lightning Cable

Thursday September 24, 2020 2:37 am PDT by
Rumors suggest Apple's upcoming iPhone 12 models will ship with a new Lightning to USB-C cable that includes a braided fabric design. Images of the purported cables were leaked in July, and today leaker Mr White has shared new images that give us a closer look at what we might get included in the iPhone 12 box. The photos show a USB-C to Lightning cable with a clearly braided design rather...

Interest in iOS 14 Home Screen Ideas Helps Pinterest Break Daily Download Record

Wednesday September 23, 2020 4:37 am PDT by
Apple's introduction of widgets on the Home Screen in iOS 14 has driven a surge in interest among users looking to customize their iPhone, and that has reportedly had a knock-on effect for Pinterest, whose iOS app has seen record downloads as users flock to its content seeking design inspiration. As reported by TechCrunch, App Store intelligence firm Apptopia was first to note the impact of ...

Apple Releases First Public Betas of iOS 14.2 and iPadOS 14.2 With New Shazam Control Center Options

Monday September 21, 2020 10:34 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the first public betas of upcoming iOS 14.2 and iPadOS 14.2 updates to its public beta testing group, a few days after seeding the first betas to developers and a little less than a week after releasing the iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 updates. Public beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing program can download the iOS and iPadOS‌ 14.2 updates over the air after ...

Apple Emphasizes That Solo Loop May Increase in Length Over Time, Updates Sizing Guide With More Specific Instructions

Wednesday September 23, 2020 8:26 am PDT by
Apple on Tuesday updated one of its support documents to emphasize that the new silicone rubber Solo Loop for the Apple Watch may increase in length over time, as mentioned in fine print at the bottom of the Solo Loop product page. Apple has also updated its printable Solo Loop sizing guide with more specific instructions, as noted by 9to5Mac's Michael Steeber. The guide now advises users to ...

Microsoft Announces Outlook for Mac Redesign, Improvements to iOS and watchOS Apps

Tuesday September 22, 2020 8:56 am PDT by
Microsoft has today announced plans to bring a new design to its Outlook for Mac app along with several other improvements and features for Outlook on iOS and watchOS. In preparation for the public release of macOS Big Sur, Microsoft has been testing a new design for Outlook on Mac. The design includes Microsoft's Fluent icons and several design cues from Big Sur such as rounded corners....