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Will Next-Gen Apple Watch Include a Video Camera?

Consumers are barely used to the Apple Watch, and already there’s discussion about what might be included with the next edition of the wearable. Media reports on Friday revealed details about a second-generation model that might sport a video camera and a new wireless system. The first Apple Watch was released just two months ago.

The camera would be called the FaceTime Video Camera and would be integrated into the top bezel of the Apple Watch 2, letting users make and receive FaceTime calls while moving, according to reports from sources familiar with Apple’s plans. New software would allow a user to answer FaceTime audio calls from the Apple Watch, as well as have FaceTime video calls either answered on an iPhone or rejected.

iPhone Independence

Apple plans for the second-generation Apple Watch to have more standalone functionality, according to the report, which first appeared on the 9to5Mac Web site. As it exists now, the Apple Watch’s functions around activity tracking, mobile payments, and music playback can work without being connected to an iPhone, but lots of other features, including text messaging and e-mailing, cannot.

To make the upcoming Apple Watch more functional without a connected iPhone, Apple plans to integrate a more dynamic wireless chipset into it. The new Apple Watch will probably still need an iPhone for heavy data transfers such as software upgrades and synching media files. But basic communication will likely be handled without assistance from the iPhone. The wireless chip will also enable the Find My Watch anti-theft feature that uses Wi-Fi router triangulation technology.

The battery lifespan of the new wearable will probably change only slightly, according to the report. Apple has found that the average Apple Watch owner has at least a 30 percent charge remaining at the end of each day, so the battery of the new Apple Watch will receive only a marginal upgrade while the company concentrates on the wearable’s hardware. The new watch will add a nightstand charging mode, a standby setting that will turns the Apple Watch into a little clock while you have it sitting on its side to charge overnight.

Not Until 2016

Apple is considering expanding its array of Apple Watches beyond the models currently available. The report indicated that the company is introducing new models that will be priced between the $999 higher -end stainless steel Apple Watch and the $10,000 entry-level 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition. What materials the new models will be made from remains unclear, but speculation points to titanium, tungsten, palladium and possibly platinum for the higher-end editions. The price for those models would be out of reach for many, starting at $1,000 and reaching as high as $10,000.

When will the new Apple Watch appear? Probably not until next year. Sources did tell 9to5Mac that prototypes of future editions could appear before then. To whet the appetite of consumers, Apple plans to release a new edition of the watch’s operating system this fall. watchOS 2.0 will include new Nightstand functionality, three new watch faces, improved email functionality and new Digital Touch messaging features.

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