In addition to a new iPhone and iPad, Apple’s March 21 event is expected to feature some important improvements to the company’s various operating systems, and some new bands for the Apple Watch.
We’re not going to see a brand-new Watch (the Watch 2 is expected to show up at an event next September), but rather a new WatchOS version with some new features and functions.
The event invite said “let us loop you in,” suggesting that we might see some new Watch bands.
(However, some have said that the “loop” might also refer to an upgrade to the Apple Music Service. Apple recently entered a partnership with Dubset allowing Apple Music to stream hundreds of hours of remixes and DJ mixes that have never before been available on a subscription service).
It’s a good bet we’ll see a new Space Black Milanese Loop to go with the silver Milanese Loop that’s already available for the Watch. We’ll probably also see some new colors for the plastic Sports bands. We might see some new kinds of materials used to make the bands.
Apple could announce new design partnerships with fashion brands; it already has one such partnership with Hermès, in which Apple provides the Watch (and some custom watch faces) and Hermès designs the band.
Details are scarce on what sorts of upgrades we’ll see in WatchOS, but we have some educated guesses. Apple may add some new “complications,” or the small pieces of data that appear on the Watch face designs. Some new Watch faces might be introduced. Hopefully, Apple will show off some tweaks to the OS that will allow the Watch to act independently from the paired iPhone for more functions.
Some observers say that Apple might roll out some upgrades to the OS in the new Apple TV announced at the Apple event last spring. This could be a series of small improvements, like the ability to spell words letter by letter into text fields.
Finally, it’s a good bet we’ll see the details of iOS 9.3, the next major version of Apple’s mobile operating system. Apple has been teasing the version on its website for some time. Apple will probably add its Night Shift feature, which adjusts the display lighting and color tones to be conducive to sleep. We’ll also see some new health apps, encrypted Notes, improved News, some improvements to Apple Music and CarPlay, and some new education features.
A new phone is a big deal. So is a new iPad. But Apple probably isn’t expecting monstrous sales from either of those products. New watchbands and an assortment of software improvements aren’t game changers. So the big show could use one more big thing to fill out the bill and send Apple observers home feeling satisfied. In short, it could use a “one more thing.” I have a feeling we’ll see one. But I won’t venture a guess on what it’ll be.
In any event, we’ll be live blogging the show March 21 in Apple’s home town of Cupertino, California, as well as getting some hands-on time with the new products.