Apple Watch 6 release date, price, news and rumors

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Could the Apple Watch 6 release date be just around the corner?  Some rumors have pointed to an imminent unveiling, which would suggest we could get it on our wrist very soon. We’d normally expect it alongside the iPhone 12, but since that launch event may be pushed back, the smartwatch may come first.

Apple has been gearing us up for the Watch 6 too, with the unveiling and beta launch of its new software watchOS 7. Sure, this is set to come to older Apple Watches too, but it’s clearly designed with the future smartwatch in mind, so it gives us some idea of what to expect in the new device.

The Apple Watch 5 was a great smartwatch, but its successor is set to fix some of that gadget’s issues and bring new features and improved specs, perhaps with newer ways to use the tech along with your iPhone or iPad.

We’ve collected everything we’ve heard about the Apple Watch 6, and you can read it all below. Take it with some pinches of salt, given pre-launch information for tech can be – and is frequently – wrong, but it helps give us some clues about the new Apple device.

Below the leaks and rumored information, you’ll find our wish list of the things we want most from the Apple Watch 6 in order to make it a substantial upgrade on the Apple Watch 5.

That wearable was good, but it wasn’t a huge upgrade on the Apple Watch 4, so we’re hoping for more this time around.

Latest Apple Watch 6 news: A patent details all sorts of features we might see from the Apple Watch 6, including gesture controls, Touch ID and more. But we might be waiting a while longer for the wearable, as a leak suggests it won’t land until October. That said, other sources are claiming the device will be landing on September 8.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The next wearable from Apple
  • When is it out? Maybe September 8, or maybe October
  • What will it cost? Likely around $399 / £399 / AU$649

Apple Watch 6 release date and price

Other Apple products we expect to see in 2020:

With the exception of the original Apple Watch, each new model has launched in September of their respective years, so it’s likely that the Apple Watch 6 will land in September this year.

More specifically, based on the days and dates that Apple tends to release new models we’ll probably see the Apple Watch 6 on September 8 or 15.

The former date has in fact now been tipped by one established leaker. And more recently another leaker (Jon Prosser) has agreed, saying that the Apple Watch 6 will be announced via press release (meaning no proper event) on the week commencing September 7.

However some voices say that date won’t be correct, so take it with a pinch of salt.

That’s not when you’ll be able to buy it though – expect to wait roughly 10 days from the announcement to the on-sale date.

It’s also unclear if the Covid-19 pandemic will have impacted Apple’s schedule. There are various rumors about the iPhone 12 being delayed for this reason, and it may be a similar situation for the Apple Watch 6. We’ve seen at least one leaker claim the Apple Watch 6 won’t be released until October.

But September 8 is still our best guess for now. Especially as the upcoming wearable appears to have now been listed on an official database (as of late August) – something that tends to happen quite close to launch.

As for price, it’s likely to cost at least as much as the Apple Watch 5, meaning a starting price of at least $399 / £399 / AU$649.

The Apple Watch 5 (Image credit: TechRadar)

Apple Watch 6 display and design

We’re already hearing a few rumors about the Apple Watch 6, including the possibility that it could switch to a new screen type. The Apple Watch 5 uses an OLED screen, but a report suggests the Apple Watch 6 might use microLED.

The main advantage of microLED is that it should be more power-efficient, which could mean the Apple Watch 6 would have better battery life.

All of this said, there has also been a more recent report that suggest the Apple Watch 6 will feature the exact same screen as the Apple Watch 5.

Another possible change to the screen is the addition of a Touch ID fingerprint scanner. Currently the Apple Watch range doesn’t have any biometric security, but building a scanner into the screen would be a slick way to offer it.

Apple Watch patent

(Image credit: USPTO/Patently Apple)

This theory is based on a patent, and you can see a related image above. The patent explains that this could be achieved by moving the wireless antennas to the strap so there’s more room for other components under the screen.

The idea of Touch ID in an Apple Watch has also since appeared in another patent, so it’s certainly something Apple is exploring – though that doesn’t mean the Apple Watch 6 or indeed any model will necessarily get it.

It’s a change that as well as potentially creating space for a fingerprint scanner could also theoretically leave room for a larger battery. It would however limit the ability for third-party companies to offer straps, and likely mean that strap replacements would be very expensive.

Don’t expect the Apple Watch 6 to look drastically different compared to previous versions of the smartwatch either. Trusted analyst Jon Prosser has said he believes the Apple Watch 6 will look similar to older devices.

Apple Watch 6 specs and features

One new feature the Apple Watch 6 might get is the ability to track your temperature. This was spotted in an Apple patent for improved yoga tracking, which would better be able to judge your pose and energy expenditure – so that too could be included, but it works in part through temperature measurements, which could have wider health and fitness uses.

We know now thanks to the watchOS 7 beta that the Apple Watch 6 (along with other Apple watches) will finally offer native sleep tracking too. This comes as no surprise though, as it’s been rumored for a while.

The Apple Watch range already supports third-party sleep tracking apps, but surprisingly Apple still doesn’t offer its own, so this has been a long time coming.

Another massive leak meanwhile suggests better parental controls are coming, along with new ‘tachymeter’ distance-tracking markings (a feature on traditional analog wristwatches) ringing the Apple Watch face. Also revealed in the leak: the Apple Watch 6 could get the capability to monitor blood oxygen levels and warn wearers if those drop low enough to risk a cardiac arrest. And, predictably, a better ECG is also rumored.

A later prediction by Jon Prosser elaborated on the uses for the blood oxygen level tracking: combine it with heart rate monitoring, and the smartwatch could be able to tell when the wearer is hyperventilating.

This could tip the watch off that the wearer is having a panic attack, and could tell the wearer to stop or pull over (if driving) and coach them into breathing until the attack passes. This could be the mental health tracking that a previous rumor hinted at. 

Blood oxygen tracking is a feature that we’ve heard rumored a number of times at this point, including through supply chain sources, so it’s looking very likely.

Apple Watch 5

The Apple Watch 5 (Image credit: TechRadar)

A patent meanwhile describes medical alerts such as medication reminders, plus the possibility of new gesture controls that would trigger different functions based on your arm motions.

Similarly, it describes a feature that would allow the Apple Watch to work out which wrist it’s worn on. As usual with patents though the Apple Watch 6 isn’t mentioned by name, and there’s no guarantee that any of these feature will see the light of day.

Another feature we might see is the ability for the Apple Watch to tell if you’re in danger of drowning and contact the emergency services if so. This idea is based on an Apple patent which details a system where a device could detect if you’re in say, open water, or salt water, and then based on your calendar and location data work out precisely where you are and whether you likely intended to be in that water.

And as well as new features, the Apple Watch 6 might also sport improved water resistance and wireless connectivity, as well as faster general performance. None of that is terribly surprising, except perhaps water resistance, since the Apple Watch 5 is already water resistant to depths of 50 meters.

This claim comes from Ming-Chi Kuo (a respected Apple analyst), who says a switch to liquid crystal polymer (LCP) materials in the circuit boards will allow for it.

Elsewhere, we also have some ideas of the possible battery size, as Apple batteries of 262.9mAh, 265.9mAh, and 303.8mAh have been spotted passing through the South Korean regulatory process. The Apple Watch 5 had a 296mAh battery, so these would be the right sort of size for a successor, with the three different sizes likely accounting for the different configurations and sizes of Apple Watch 6.

A big departure for an upcoming Apple Watch meanwhile may be a switch to a digital crown rather than the rotating option that sits on every Apple Watch model.

There’s no guarantee this will be included on the Apple Watch 6, but it may be something that Apple is experimenting with, given a patent that we’ve seen from the company.

Apple Watch patent

(Image credit: Patently Apple)

Apple Watch 6 with watchOS 7

Of course, the Apple Watch 6 will also come with a new version of the company’s software on board, specifically watchOS 7, which has now been announced.

From new workouts, to streamlined complications, sleep tracking, hand washing tracking, and more, there’s a lot planned.

Sleep tracking is perhaps the biggest update here, and suggests that the Apple Watch 6 may come with specific features that will be better at handling that.

What we want to see

Plenty more Apple Watch 6 rumors are sure to roll in, but in the meantime here’s what we’re hoping the wearable will offer.

1. Better battery life

The Apple Watch 5 actually has worse battery life than the Apple Watch 4, and while there’s a good reason for that (the addition of an always-on screen), we’d still like to see some big improvements for the Apple Watch 6.

At a minimum we want it to match the Apple Watch 4’s life, but ideally we want it to be even better, comfortably offering two or more days of life between charges. That would also make it more viable for sleep tracking – a feature that Apple is rumored to be adding.

2. More fitness features

Apple Watch 5

The Apple Watch 5 (Image credit: TechRadar)

The Apple Watch is a great health and exercise device already, but we were disappointed to find that no significant new fitness features were added for the Apple Watch 5, so we’d like to see some for the Apple Watch 6.

What exactly they might be we’ll leave up to Apple, but possibilities include the ability to more accurately track more exercises, or additional sensors for monitoring your health. The more granular the health info, the more accurately we can track progress and personal development. 

3. A dimmer option for the always-on screen

The always-on display was a great new feature for the Apple Watch 5, but one significant issue with it is that it’s too bright to comfortably use at night in the dark.

As such we want an option to have it go very dim, without turning off completely. This would also likely improve battery life, so it’s a win-win.

4. Always-on for all apps

Apple Watch 5

The Apple Watch 5 (Image credit: TechRadar)

Another issue with the always-on screen is that it’s not properly supported by all apps, meaning that rather than a basic version of an open app being shown on the always-on display, it will in many cases switch to a basic digital clock, meaning you can’t view the app without properly waking the screen up.

We’d like to see this changed for the Apple Watch 6, so that every app is able to fully support the always-on screen.

5. Sleep tracking

We’ve been asking for sleep tracking on the Apple Watch for years and so far Apple hasn’t listened. There are rumors that sleep tracking might be in the works, so this might be something we finally get. But on the other hand, with third-party apps offering it, Apple might decide not to bother.

6. Improved syncing

We found syncing things (such as songs and podcasts) to the Apple Watch 5 was a lot fiddlier than it really should be, as not only do you need it to be charging and near your iPhone, it also just didn’t seem to reliably work even then in our tests.

Coupled with it being hard to see what’s saved on your watch, the whole process just lacks the polish we’d expect from Apple, so this definitely needs some work for 2020’s model.

7. A circular screen

While our other wishes are realistic, this one isn’t. We can’t see Apple ditching the current screen shape – and nor do we want it to – but we would love to see a circular option added alongside the square screens.

While it won’t happen, it would be a huge selling point for the new model if it did, especially since the Apple Watch 5’s design is very similar to the Apple Watch 4’s.

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