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Apple Watch SE 2: Everything you need to know about Apple’s next affordable smartwatch

Rumours abound regarding the Apple Watch SE 2, but what changes might there be compared to its smash hit predecessor? Here’s what you should know.

The Apple Watch SE was the tech giant’s first attempt at a more affordable wearable, and it’s fair to say that it was a superb success, with us naming it as “the one you should buy” for most people, even above the Apple Watch Series 7, due to its winning mix of excellent features at a lower cost.

So what could be in store for the next instalment? Here’s all we know so far about the Apple Watch SE 2…

Release Date

Apple hasn’t released any information yet regarding when the Apple Watch SE 2 will be released – or even if it exists – but that’s not unusual for the secretive brand.

The first (and to date, only) Apple Watch SE was released in September 2020 alongside the Apple Watch Series 6 and the iPhone 12. Last year didn’t see an update to this model, which isn’t unusual for Apple’s SE products; after all, there has been more than a year in between the launches of its iPhone SE models. However, we’ve got reason to believe that the new Apple Watch SE will appear in 2022.

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, a very reliable informant on all things Apple, claims that it is likely to make its debut in September, alongside the Apple Watch Series 8 and the iPhone 14 series.

Price

Just as there’s no official release date, the price is also still under wraps at this point.

The very purpose of the Apple Watch SE, or any of Apple’s SE products, is to offer the brand’s excellent and attractive hardware – not to mention an entry point into its tight-knit software ecosystem – at a more affordable price point.

Therefore, we expect it to be significantly cheaper than the $399/£369 Apple Watch Series 7. The real question is whether it will be any more expensive than the first-gen Apple Watch SE, which has a $279/£269 price tag at launch. So far we’ve not seen any indication of a big price rise in the wings, but we’ll keep this page updated with the latest pricing rumours.

Design

Ever since the very first Apple Watch, these wearables have held a very similar design in common with each other that’s instantly recognisable, namely a rectangular-shaped screen with rounded corners and curved sides.

Apple watch 7
Apple Watch Series 7

The latest rumours indicate that this is set to change with the Apple Watch Series 8, with a flat screen apparently being ushered into the series for the first time – but we don’t expect this change to trickle down to the Apple Watch SE 2. That’s because Apple’s SE products generally have the looks of previous models in the series, with design innovation only reserved for new products in the mainline series. Take this year’s iPhone SE 3 for instance; it’s built on the iPhone 8 chassis, which looks distinctly retro these days.

In other words, we wouldn’t expect a rethink to the traditional Apple Watch appearance for this model; but when it comes to the internals, that’s a different story.

Specifications

First and foremost, the Apple Watch SE 2 is likely to run on new silicon, which will give it a significant performance boost. The first Apple Watch SE ran on the S5 processor, from the generation prior to its release; going by this precedent, we’d expect the Apple Watch SE 2 to run on the S7 chip that was onboard the Apple Watch Series 7.

Aside from this deduction, there are not many more trustworthy rumours that are circulating about the Apple Watch SE 2. We might expect a few new sensors to make their way over to this new affordable version, including an ECG, blood oximeter sensors, and an always-on display – or even simply some upgrades to the heart rate sensor. But so far, such suppositions remain unsubstantiated.

What we’d like to see

  • Always-On Display

In our review of the Apple Watch SE, we felt that this was the biggest loss out of all the compromises made for the price. The inability to see the time whenever you glance at the watch face inarguably dents its basic utility as a timepiece.

  • ECG

Present on the mainline series since the Apple Watch 4, this health feature was absent from the first Apple Watch SE. Given its potential life-saving ability, we’d like to see this feature make its way onto Apple’s affordable wearable, and despite the lack of rumours we remain fairly confident that it will.

  • Better battery life

This one’s a moonshot, but we’d really like to see the battery life of the Apple Watch SE get significantly boosted, because frankly you can only count on it for one day’s heavy usage. However, seeing as even the Apple Watch Series 7 doesn’t boast multi-day battery life yet, we admit that this is probably a vain hope.

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