Later this year, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is expected to introduce its third-generation Apple Watch family, which will presumably be marketed as the Apple Watch Series 3.
The headline feature for the device is, of course, expected to be integrated LTE capability to allow the device to be more independent of the iPhone.
However, I don't think Apple's teams spent the last year just trying to get LTE capability into the Apple Watch; the company has surely done a lot more engineering work to improve the Apple Watch Series 3 relative to the current Apple Watch Series 2.
Here are two technology improvements that I expect in the upcoming Apple Watch, independent of the addition of an LTE option.
At the end of the day, the Apple Watch is a computing platform that fits on your wrist. The more powerful the computing capabilities of the device are, the better the user experience will be, as Apple -- as well as third-party app developers -- will be able to build more robust applications that simply do more.
In going from the original Apple Watch to the Apple Watch Series 2, Apple dramatically improved the processing capabilities of the device. Per AnandTech, the Apple Watch Series 2 includes two ARM Cortex-A7 processor cores running at 520 MHz, up from a single Cortex-A7 running at 520 MHz in the previous-generation Apple Watch.
AnandTech also says that the Apple Watch Series 2 also includes an Imagination Technologies (NASDAQOTH:IGNMF) PowerVR Series 6 graphics processor, which is an improvement from the older PowerVR Series 5 graphics processor inside of the original Apple Watch.
And, finally, while the original Apple Watch applications processor is believed to have been manufactured in a 28 nm manufacturing technology, the Series 2's processor is believed to be manufactured in a more advanced 16 nm technology.
For the Apple Watch Series 3, I don't think Apple will add more CPU cores -- two is more than enough. Instead, I expect Apple to try to drive up the performance per core substantially, as this should lead to a dramatic improvement in responsiveness, as well as greater freedom for app developers to write more sophisticated programs.
I also expect an upgraded graphics processor. An Imagination Technologies PowerVR Series 7XT-based graphics processor seems like the logical choice here, though I expect that the Apple Watch Series 4 (or whatever Apple calls the line) to have Apple-designed graphics technology.
The original Apple Watch and the Apple Watch Series 2 both, per AnandTech, include 512 MB of system memory.
For the relatively limited processing power inside the first two Apple Watch generation, 512 MB of memory was probably more than enough. However, as the processing power of the Apple Watch grows, so too will the complexity and richness of applications.
This means a need for more system memory.
To that end, I think Apple will move from 512 MB of memory to 1 GB in the Apple Watch Series 3.