Earlier this month, John Gruber, who runs the popular website Daring Fireball, said that Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) upcoming Apple Watch, known as the Apple Watch Series 3, would feature a new casing design (though he later appended his post to clarify that this information "came from an unconfirmed little birdie").
Unfortunately, it looks like this isn't true.
New information on Apple Watch Series 3
Per a research note from generally reliable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via MacRumors), the Apple Watch Series 3 won't see a significant change to its form factor.
"Kuo says LTE connectivity will be the main selling point of the new device," MacRumors writes.
Apple's current Apple Watch Series 2 retains the same basic shape as the first-generation Apple Watch, as well as the current Apple Watch Series 1 -- a version of the original Apple Watch with upgraded internals but lacking features present on the Apple Watch Series 2 such as the brighter OLED display.
Apple Watch shipment prediction
Kuo also reportedly included some unit shipment predictions for the new Apple Watch models, as well as for Apple's Apple Watch business for the entirety of 2017.
The Apple Watch Series 3, Kuo reportedly said, should see unit shipments of between 8 million and 9 million during the second half of 2017, with shipments of the LTE-enabled flavors making up between 35% and 40% of total Apple Watch Series 3 shipments.
If this prediction ultimately proves correct, then Apple should move between 2.8 million and 3.6 million LTE-capable Apple Watch Series 3 devices this year -- impressive!
As far as the entire Apple Watch business goes (Apple keeps discounted versions of older models of its products, including Apple Watch, to service lower price points), Kuo predicts Apple Watch shipments of between 17.5 million and 18 million this year.
That, Kuo reportedly said, is an increase of 70% year over year, which is even more impressive!
This makes sense
While a new form factor (coupled with, of course, new features) would likely help to further improve Apple Watch shipments, Kuo's report makes sense.
The current Apple Watch Series 2 uses a second-generation version of what appears to be a proprietary Apple-designed OLED display. The display manages to achieve high brightness levels (substantially beating out the first-generation Apple Watch display), as well as good image quality.
However, there have been numerous rumblings in the press about Apple potentially aiming to use a new technology, known as micro LED, for a future Apple Watch.
DigiTimes, for example, said back in May that "Apple is likely to crank out a small volume of micro LED display products from its plant in Taoyuan, northern Taiwan at the end of the year."
I wouldn't be surprised to see Apple adopt micro LED-based displays in its Apple Watch Series 4 (or whatever Apple ultimately markets the products as) in tandem with a form factor change to highlight the capabilities of the next-generation display technology.