The Apple Watch's reliance on the iPhone has gotten smaller with each passing year. If rumors hold, it makes sense then that this could be the first year when a new Apple Watch arrives before a next-generation iPhone. Will it happen? I'm beginning to have my doubts.
It's finally September, which for Apple fans, is usually the biggest month of the year. Since 2012, this has been the month the company has held a special fall event to announce new goodies that's always headlined by a new iPhone. Beginning in September 2016, Apple has also used the occasion to reveal a new Apple Watch.
All indications are Apple won't release a new iPhone this year until October or November because of COVID-19 delays. And yet, Apple leaker Jon Prosser and others believe a new Apple Watch and iPad could be announced and released in September (via press releases), regardless of what happens with the upcoming iPhone 12 lineup.
This type of scenario made sense just a few days ago. Not anymore.
Will iOS 14 be ready?
Daily Apple Watch use no longer requires an iPhone always by its side. However, a phone is still necessary to set up and update the wearable device. Any new Apple Watch will almost certainly require iOS 14 and watchOS 7 to operation, and neither of these updates feels ready for prime time in their current state. The latest betas for each, released last week, still contain minor hiccups, which I'm not sure can get corrected in time for a new Apple Watch to hit the market in a few days.
And then there's today's news from Bloomberg, which says Apple plans on releasing two new Apple Watches this year. If correct, it would be the first time in the short history of the wearable device that two newbies joined the market at the same time.
According to the report, Cupertino's expected to introduce an "Apple Watch Series 6" plus a cheaper Apple Watch Series 3 replacement to take on Fitbit.
Sure, Apple's plan might be to refresh the now-retired Apple Watch Series 4 at a lower price. It employed a similar strategy in 2019 when it pulled the Apple Watch Series 3 from cold storage. If instead, we're talking about a brand new Apple Watch Lite model coming online, I can't imagine seeing Apple announce without a press event.
For now, I'm more comfortable with the notion that Apple will announce new products collectively at a virtual press conference in the coming three weeks. When those products and the new software each requires get released to the public is less certain.
We'll know soon enough. Stay tuned.