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Apple Watch SE 2: What we want to see from the next budget Apple watch

When Apple first announced the Apple Watch SE alongside the Watch Series 6 in 2020, I was intrigued. After all, it was a cheaper version of the latest smartwatch with the right amount of hits and misses. I bought the Watch SE for myself earlier this year, and while it is an overall champ, there are a few things that Apple can work on and improve with the Watch SE 2, which is expected to be announced in 2022. Here are five things we would like to see from the Apple Watch SE 2.

1. A bigger display

Apple Watch Series 7 and Series 6 from the top.
Apple Watch Series 7 (left) and Series 6 (right) Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The big selling point of the original Apple Watch SE was that it looked exactly like the Watch Series 6. Users could get the latest hardware with some limited software features like an always-on display.

With the Apple Watch Series 7, Apple moved to a larger display, which gave birth to new features like a full-fledged keyboard on your wrist. If the Watch SE 2 wants to retain its key selling point, we’d expect Apple to design the smartwatch based on the blueprint of its latest wearable.

Including a bigger display would allow Apple not to only blend it with its more premium (assuming that they don’t change the screen size on the Watch Series 8) device, but also offer a new range of features.

A bigger display would allow the Apple Watch SE 2 to come with new watch faces like the Series 7. You could also get a full-fledged keyboard on the smart wearable, which is missing on both the Watch Series 6 and Watch SE.

2. Better sleep tracking

Daily activity on the Apple Health app.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

In a world where competitors like Huawei and Amazfit offer nap tracking, Apple is stuck with sleep tracking, which isn’t accurate at all. This weakness isn’t limited to the Watch SE 2, but I’d like Apple to improve its sleep-monitoring algorithms.

First of all, you need to set a routine to track your sleep, which makes the Apple Watch dependent on the iPhone. By contrast, the Huawei and Amazfit wearables can monitor your sleep and collect accurate data on the app. You also get data on your REM, hours of deep and light sleep, and more.

All I get from my Watch SE is the number of hours slept – which aren’t accurate either. If I sleep later than usual and wake up past my routine set on the iPhone, it confuses the hell out of the Apple Watch, which pushes out inaccurate data.

I’d like Apple Watch to monitor my sleep in a better way – much like the Huawei and Amazfit counterparts, which are miles ahead in this regard.

3. Add an always-on display

Apple Watch Series 7 on wrist from the back.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

This falls under the category of “Hey Apple, could you please bring your premium feature to your cheaper wearable?” The Apple Watch SE packs the same processor as the Watch Series 6. There are no hardware limitations (as far as I know) for it to not support the always-on display.

With the Watch SE 2, I’d request Apple bring the premium feature to its more affordable version of the watch. Hopefully, the Apple Watch Series 8 would have more premium features, so Apple doesn’t feel the need to limit the always-on display on the expensive offering.

4. A better battery life with faster charging

App menu on the Apple Watch Series 7.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

My Apple Watch SE can last up to 1.5 days at the maximum. We’d love to see a full 2-day battery life on the Watch SE 2 with regular use.

Better battery life would assure me I could go on weekend trips without worrying about the Watch charger, which is proprietary and doesn’t work with anything else.

Apple also introduced a faster charging standard with the Watch Series 7. We hope the company could bring it to the Watch Series 2, so it could charge faster.

Personally, I could do with a better battery life without any improvements on the charging front, since I mostly charge my Watch SE overnight. However, fast charging would be a nice-to-have feature.

5. No price increase

At around $279, the Apple Watch SE hits the sweet spot of affordability with functionality. We hope Apple could bring the requested improvements with no price increase – like it has been doing with the iPhones.

When is the Apple Watch SE 2 launch date?

Apple is expected to release a “rugged” Apple Watch and Watch SE 2 alongside the Series 8 in 2022. The Apple Watch with a rugged design is said to be aimed at sports athletes. While Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman didn’t reveal an exact launch date, we can expect the next wave of Apple Watch devices to be announced in the second half of 2022.

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Prakhar Khanna
Prakhar writes news, reviews and features for Digital Trends. He is an independent tech journalist who has been a part of the…
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