This week in wearable news, Samsung revealed its latest smartwatch and tracker, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo hinted at a new Apple Watch with a return to ceramic and AirPods may be nearly here, with AirPower.
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Samsung Galaxy Watch Active, Galaxy Fit and Galaxy Fit e.SAMSUNG
The Week in Wearables is a news digest, out midweek, focused on some of the things that have happened in the world of tech you can wear on your wrist, perch on your head, stick in your ear, sling around your waist, tuck into the small of your back or, well, you get the idea.
Apple AirPods as they are now.APPLE
Apple AirPods Upgrade Landing In Coming Months
The celebrated and super-reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo from TF International Securities has been making more predictions. We’ll come to his thoughts on Apple Watch shortly, but his hints about an upgraded pair of AirPods are worth checking out.
As Chance Miller commented at 9to5Mac:
Kuo says AirPods 2 will support wireless charging and upgraded Bluetooth connectivity. He says AirPower will ship during the first half of 2019, while there will also be a new iPod touch with an upgraded processor. Bilateral wireless charging on the 2019 iPhones would allow you to charge other devices wirelessly through your iPhone, which means AirPods 2 could be charged through your iPhone.
It certainly looks like Apple has a busy 2019 ahead. It’s unclear when we might see these products, but it wouldn’t be surprising for the first announcements to come in March.
Samsung Galaxy Watch ActiveSAMSUNG
Samsung reveals latest wearables
The news cycles have been dominated by Samsung’s foldable phone, the Galaxy Fold, which goes on sale on April 26 (May 3 in Europe). But less love was focused on the company’s new wearables range. CNet reports:
Samsung announced a new line of fitness wearables at its Unpacked event Wednesday in San Francisco; the Galaxy WatchActive smartwatch and the Galaxy Fit and Fit E sports bands. Like the Gear Sport smartwatch that Samsung released in 2017, the new Galaxy Active puts fitness features at the forefront with the ability to monitor blood pressure. But unlike its predecessors, it lacks the signature rotating bezel that was a staple of previous Galaxy smartwatches.
The new Galaxy Fit and Fit E are similar in design and function to the Gear Fit2 Pro bands, with a rectangular screen that curves around the band. Samsung inadvertently leaked the watch, bands and earbuds in an update to the company’s Galaxy Wearable app the week before the Feb. 20 event and have been making their rounds online.
Perhaps one of the most impressive Galaxy Watch Active features is the $200 price tag. That’s about $100 cheaper than the Gear Sport and Galaxy Watch were at launch, neither of which monitored blood pressure. The cheapest Apple Watch (the Series 3 from 2017) retails for about $279 in the Apple store.
The Galaxy Watch Active will be available for preorder starting Feb. 21 and will ship March 8. If you preorder the Watch you’ll receive a free wireless charging pad with your purchase.
The Galaxy Fit is $99, but it won’t be available until this spring.
Apple Watch Series 4 (left) and Apple Watch Series 3 in ceramic. Will the deluxe finish return in Series 5?DAVID PHELAN
Apple Watch Ceramic, oh, yes please.
Since the first Apple Watch, there’s always been a deluxe model customers can choose. Well, except the latest generation. The gold Edition watches that cost over $10,000 are long gone, but subsequent releases always included a ceramic Apple Watch Edition that was pricier than the basic models but not exorbitant. Ming-Chi Kuo suggests that ceramic is coming back.
In his wide-ranging research note today touching on Apple’s product releases for 2019, Ming-Kuo provided a glimpse at upcoming AirPods, iPads, iPhones, displays and MacBook Pros. Regarding the Apple Watch, however, he had only a brief mention:
Expanding Apple Watch ECG support to other countries is not particularly revealing. Apple has been working to expand access since its launch but regulations may hold up its acceptance in many countries.
A new “ceramic casing design” is the more intriguing rumor.
A little more at MacRumors.
Samsung Galaxy Buds in their charging case.SAMSUNG
Samsung Galaxy Buds: AirPods Killers?
Also announced this week by Samsung were Galaxy Buds wireless headphones. The Verge’s Vlad Savov had a look.
I got to see and touch (but not hear or wear) the Galaxy Buds ahead of their announcement today, and everything that Samsung presented made them look like a winner. Their pill-shaped enclosure is as close as anyone’s yet come to the AirPods’ unbelievably tiny bijou of a case. With six hours of battery life in the buds and a further seven hours in the case, the Galaxy Buds take the lead in terms of case autonomy, even if the AirPods have a longer total endurance with more pauses to recharge.
I’ve been trying the Galaxy Buds out and will report back soon. Meantime, read more from Vlad at The Verge.
Montblanc Summit 2WAREABLE
Wareable’s Husain Sumra has reviewed the latest Montblanc smartwatch, the Summit 2.
The original Montblanc Summit was a bit of a disappointment. The Wear OS-packing smartwatch looked good, but it didn’t have that extravagant look you’d expect from a company noted for its design. It also was pretty basic on the features front too and a pretty no-frills experience on the whole.
The Montblanc Summit 2 aims to up the ante in every area, including introducing a more alluring look and a bunch more features. It’s also one of the first smartwatches to run on Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon Wear 3100 chip, which aims to make performance improvements across the board including battery life.