The Apple Watch was already the world’s best smartwatch line even before the Apple Watch 4 turned up and knocked it out of the park. So what could Apple possibly have in store for us with its successor, the Apple Watch 5?
Apple dominates the smartwatch space to a far greater degree than it does with smartphones or even tablets. Recent figures put Apple’s share of the smartwatch market at 46.4% − and its slice of the pie continues to grow.
This makes the Apple Watch 5 the most anticipated wearable device of 2019. Here’s everything we know about it so far.
Apple Watch 5 release date – When is it out?
Apple announces its smartwatches in September, without exception, and we’re expecting Tim Cook and co to pull the covers off the Apple Watch 5 on September 10, which is a Tuesday.
Apple’s September launch events usually kick off at 6pm UK time, so if you’re keen on the Apple Watch 5 (and new iPhone range), you might want to clear your schedule now.
That said, since Apple is yet to send out official invitations, a September 10 launch isn’t quite a certainty.
The only crinkle in the Apple Watch release roadmap came with the first model, which didn’t hit shops until April 2015. With all subsequent Apple Watch models, the release date was within the same month of September.
So it’s a pretty safe bet that the Apple Watch 5 will both launch in September and come out in September.
Apple Watch 5 price – How much will it cost?
Predicting the Apple Watch 5’s starting price is a little tricky, because we’ve seen some major fluctuations in the past.
The Apple Watch 4 starts at £399, which is more than the Apple Watch 3’s £329 starting price. That figures, you might think. But the Apple Watch 2’s starting price actually fell in between those figures, coming in at £369. Confusing.
That was a huge bump over the £259 starting price of the very first Apple Watch in 2015. This suggests that Apple is still looking for the sweet spot in a smartwatch market that it had a large hand in creating.
We’d love to say that the Apple Watch 5 will be cheaper than the Apple Watch 4, or that it will, at least, hold at the same price, but we can’t.
The general trend of smart-device prices creeping up, as well as the perilous economic position of the UK right now, doesn’t inspire much confidence. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Apple Watch 5 burst through the £400 barrier.
What’s more, there have been reports about a ceramic-finish Apple Watch 5 (more on this in the section below). However, the last ceramic finish Apple Watch cost a staggering $1299 (roughly £1070).
Apple Watch 5 – Design and display
One thing that’s remained consistent about the Apple Watch is its design. From the first generation to the fourth, you wouldn’t mistake its sleek curved-square (‘squircle’) build for anything else on the market. Okay, perhaps the Fitbit Versa.
That’s despite the fact that the Series 4 represented the biggest design shift yet, with a much larger, bezel-quashing display and a proportionally skinnier body.
Because of this recent advance, we doubt that the Apple Watch 5 will look dramatically different. Apple tends to like any design overhaul that it instigates to pay off over multiple generations.
This means that we’re expecting to see the Apple Watch 5 feature a 1.78-inch OLED display with the same crisp 448 x 368 resolution as Series 4.
One area that might enjoy a refresh, however, is the Watch’s casing material. Apple nixed the ultra-premium ceramic-bodied Apple Watch Edition pretty early on in the wearable’s life, in the move from the Apple Watch 2 to the Apple Watch 3.
According to noted Apple industry analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo, however, premium finishes are set to make a return (as reported by MacRumors in February).
In August, iHelp BR uncovered potential clues about the Apple Watch 5 in the WatchOS 6 beta release. It looks like titanium and ceramic options will be available, though the report doesn’t go into detail if the materials will replace the basic aluminium and stainless steel finishes seen on the Apple Watch 4.
As mentioned above, Apple has dabbled with uber-expensive Ceramic finish wearables in the past, but discontinued them – presumably due to their high cost and reported poor sales.
Apple Watch 5 – Performance
Apple has brought a new generation of its custom S chip to every model of the Apple Watch. The Apple Watch 5 won’t be any different.
As to what the Apple S5 chip will offer, we have no clear indication. You can bet that there’ll be a decent advance in speed and efficiency but this is unlikely to make a massive material difference in terms of real-world usability or battery life. And it’s the latter where we’d really like to see advances.
Apple Watch 5 – Additional features
Apple has really sunk its teeth into health and fitness features over recent years, so expect some kind of new related implementation in the Apple Watch 5.
Last year’s Apple Watch 4, for example, brought with it an electrical heart sensor, which is expected to become an active feature in more markets one the Apple Watch 5 arrives. Current availability is limited to the likes of the US, a handful of eastern markets, such as Hong Kong and Guam, and a select group of European locales.
Related: WatchOS 6
There have been rumours of a glucose sensor for years now, so Apple could finally choose to implement this diabetes-tracking component. Another rumour suggests that the Apple Watch 5 will be able to detect an oncoming stroke.
The Apple Watch 5 might be the first of the company’s wearables to officially embrace sleep tracking, with reports via Bloomberg that the company has been testing sleep tracking-capable Apple Watch prototypes for some time now. Expected sleep metrics include total sleep time and the ability to accurately differentiate between light, deep and REM sleep states.
If this is the one big omission that’s stopped you from picking up Apple’s technical timepiece thus far, don’t count your chickens just yet. There’s a chance that the feature won’t be ready for prime time until 2020, which in this instance would likely mean we wouldn’t see it until the Apple Watch 6.
Away from health and fitness, one Apple patent suggests that Apple might add a pair of integrated cameras into its next smartwatch. This could pave the way for Facetime calls from your watch, while a wrist-mounted camera could shoot footage in front of you too.
One other feature that’s yet to make its way into the rumour mill that we’d like to see is always-on functionality. Wear OS, Google’s rival wearable operating system has offered always-on display support since the original LG G Watch debuted way back in 2014.
While WatchOS has a better response time when it comes to raising your wrist to check the time, compared to Google’s efforts adding an always-on display mode would eliminate the risk of waiting for the display to ignite completely.