In the last few years, smartwatches have seen a huge tonne of feature add-ons that have become an integral part of our day-to-day smartwatch use. From blood oxygen monitoring to sleep tracking – the days of time-telling watches are long gone. Last year was a particularly innovative year for the smartwatch industry, with releases such as the Apple Watch Ultra bringing titanium manufacturing and car crash detection into the world of smartwatches. Considering this is what 2022 managed to bring to the smartwatch scene, the bar is set exceptionally high for this year – particularly for non-Apple manufacturers. Here are our picks on the upcoming wearables to look out for in 2023.
Apple Watch Ultra 2
The Apple Watch Ultra is by far the most significant upgrade in the Apple Watch line-up to date. This device forever changed the scope of the Apple Watch ecosystem, and Apple is certainly prepping for a second generation of this exceptional hit. It’s likely that we can expect to see an announcement for the Apple Watch Ultra 2 sometime in September, with a market release shortly succeeding in October. The Apple Watch Ultra 2 will undoubtedly feature a near-identical design to its predecessor, with a full titanium case, a sapphire screen to protect it from scratches and scuffs and a digital Crown wheel with more pronounced grooves. What we are hoping to see on the Apple Watch Ultra 2 is two size variants rather than the singular 49mm option. Whilst it was pleasing to see a larger-sized Apple Watch than we’re generally used to, 49mm isn’t for everyone, and Apple knows this. Of course, with a new product line, Apple was more inclined to create one size just in case it didn’t take off – but it did, so our inclination is that Apple will create a 49mm and a 44 or 45mm variant for those of us with slightly smaller wrists. In addition to multiple size variants, we’re also bullish for micro-LED technology to be adopted by both the Apple Watch Ultra and the Apple Watch Series 9 range to replace the current Retina OLED screen technology.
Google Pixel Watch 2
The first Google Pixel Watch last year was a solid start from Google, but there’s more room for improvement. Android fans did have a lot to like about the Google Pixel Watch when it landed: its minimalistic design, the unique OS and even Fitbit integration. However, the downer is that’s about all that’s good about the Google Pixel Watch. Yes, of course, Google’s first smartwatch was never going to be perfect – but from a company that has produced the Google Pixel 7 Pro, we’d expect a better first attempt. Fortunately, there are plenty of areas the Google Pixel Watch 2 can pick up on to fill its predecessor’s potential. The first thing we can expect on the Google Pixel Watch 2 is a larger battery. The battery life on the Google Pixel Watch was nothing short of inadequate. Many users struggled to get through a day, particularly when using exercise tracking and the always-on display. We anticipate a 400mAh battery, at the very least, from the Google Pixel Watch 2 in conjunction with some vastly improved power efficiency software integration. Like Apple, Google debuted the Google Pixel Watch with one size option of 41mm. This year it’s likely we’ll see a Google Pixel Watch 2 with a 41mm and possible 45mm variant, as the smaller option did look a little lost on larger wrists. The final change we anticipate for the Google Pixel Watch 2 is smaller bezels as, needless to say – we’re not in 2017 anymore – bezels are certainly an old trend. If the Google Pixel Watch 2 follows suit with its predecessor’s launch, it’s likely we can expect to see its release in October this year.
Fitbit Charge 6
The latest addition to the Fitbit Charge series was back in 2021, so it’s safe to say that now that we’re in 2023, a new Fitbit Charge 6 is certainly due. The Fitbit Charge 6 will breathe a sense of familiarity amongst current Fitbit owners as the design of the Charge 6 is expected to be nearly identical to its predecessor – a slim, narrow-screened smartwatch in a compact form factor. In terms of display, we can expect the return of Fitbits AMOLED technology as well as smaller bezels with a curved wrap-around glass cover. Extra features we’d like to see on the Fitbit Charge 6 are primarily the return of the altimeter. This was a Fitbit Charge 4 feature which was left out of the Charge 5 and allowed users to keep track of their elevation changes during the day in tandem with floors climbed. This was a great feature for many, so the return of this Fitbit exclusive would certainly put a smile back on the faces of Fitbit fans. Apart from a slight improvement in battery life and slightly easier music controls, there’s not too much more we can ask from the Fitbit Charge 6 other than a Q1 release date, but we can’t have it all now, can we? Realistically we can expect a release date around August 2023 if it follows suit from the Charge 5’s release.
As we’ve already mentioned, 2022 set the bar extremely high for smartwatch innovation so let’s see if the big players in the smartwatch scene can bring us what we want this year. Beyond our take on what we can expect, it’ll be exciting to see what surprises we may have in store for us in 2023. Let us know your thoughts on our predictions in the discussion section below, and of course, stay tuned for our upcoming smartphones blog next week!