THE NEXT-GENERATION Apple Watch will feature solid-state buttons and souped-up health monitoring features, according to Fast Company.
The report, which cites a source with direct knowledge of Apple's plans, claims that the incoming Apple Watch Series 4 will follow in the footstep of the firm's recent iPhones with a shift to touch-sensitive, solid-state buttons.
While the Watch will retain the design of current models, retaining the Digital Crown and side button, they'll both adopt a haptic feedback approach that will see them - much like the home button on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 - buzz when touched, making use of Apple's Taptic Engine.
This planned shift to solid-state buttons will make the Apple Watch more resistant to water, Fast Company's report claims, and will free up more room inside the wearable to accommodate a larger battery.
It will also allow Apple to embed more advanced heart rate reading and other tracking functionality into the buttons. While Apple Watch users can already track their heart rate using the rear-mounted sensor, the addition of a second sensor would considerably improve its accuracy.
Fast Company claims that Apple's redesigned buttons and more sophisticated health tracking features could arrive as part of the Apple Watch 4 later this year - but notes that, if not, they will be included in Apple's 2019 smartwatch.
According to earlier rumours, the Apple Watch 4 will also boast a larger display than its predecessor, and, er, a "more trendy form factor design". It'll also no doubt ship running Apple's newly shown-off watchOS 5 software, which brings new health features and a Walkie-Talkie app to Apple's wrist-worn wearable.
The new report also notes that, longer-term, Apple's industrial design group has been working toward a future Watch that has no buttons at all as part of the company's "long-held desire" to streamline physical features out of its devices altogether. µ
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