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Apple Watch SE 2: what we want to see

Apple Watch SE review
The Apple Watch SE (Image credit: TechRadar)

The Apple Watch SE was something slightly new for Apple, offering buyers an affordable alternative to the Apple Watch 6. As the name suggests, it aimed to do for wearables what the iPhone SE (2020) did for phones, and it largely succeeded. In fact, at the time of writing it’s sitting at the top of our best smartwatch list, so we’re excited for the Apple Watch SE 2.

That said, we don’t know for sure that Apple is even working on a new model, or that it will be a yearly release, given that so far there has only been one of them.

Still, assuming an Apple Watch SE 2 is in the works we might well see it this year, and below we’ve included some predictions as to when it might launch and what it might cost, along with a list of the improvements we want from it.

And as rumors start to roll in we’ll be including all of those in this article too, so check back often to stay up to date on the Apple Watch SE 2.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The next affordable Apple Watch
  • When is it out? Possibly September
  • What will it cost? Less than the Apple Watch 7

Apple Watch SE 2 release date and price

So far there’s no news on when the Apple Watch SE 2 might launch, but the original Apple Watch SE was announced on September 15, 2020, so there’s a fair chance the Apple Watch SE 2 will land in September of this year – possibly alongside the iPhone 13 range and the Apple Watch 7.

Then again, since Apple has only launched one Apple Watch SE model so far, there’s not much to go on, so there’s a chance the Apple Watch SE 2 won’t even land this year.

There aren’t any price rumors yet either, but the original Apple Watch SE starts at $279 / £260 / AU$429, with prices rising for LTE, a larger size, or different strap types. There’s a fair chance that the Apple Watch SE 2 will have a similar starting price, but we can’t be sure for now.

Watch SE review

The Apple Watch SE is fairly affordable (Image credit: TechRadar)

News and leaks

We haven’t heard anything specifically about the Apple Watch SE 2 yet, but Tim Cook has spoken about the future of the Apple Watch on the Outside podcast, saying that “there’s a ton of innovation left to go in there” and "We are in the early innings… think about the amount of sensors in your car. And arguably, your body is much more important than your car.”

That suggests a continued focus on health and fitness for future Apple Watch models, and we’d expect the Apple Watch SE 2 would be included in that.

What we want to see

There are some key improvements that we want from the Apple Watch SE 2, including the following.

1. An always-on display

Apple Watch SE review

The Apple Watch SE (Image credit: TechRadar)

The Apple Watch SE doesn’t have an always-on display, which is one of the main things it lacks in comparison to the Apple Watch 6.

That’s fair enough, as Apple would have wanted to save some features for its more premium wearable, but by late 2021 when the Apple Watch SE 2 will hopefully land, we’d like the always-on display to be a standard feature across the range.

2. A longer-lasting battery

The Apple Watch SE actually has better battery life than most Apple Watch models, but at around a day and a half it still doesn’t match a lot of other wearables, and also doesn’t really cut it for sleep tracking, since you’ll likely find you want to charge it at night.

So for the Apple Watch SE 2 we’d like to see life extended to at least two days, and ideally three or more.

3. A bottom of the range price

While the Apple Watch SE is positioned as a relatively budget option in the Apple Watch range, it’s actually not the cheapest wearable that Apple sells. That’s the Apple Watch 3, which is still on sale.

To simplify things, we’d like to see the Apple Watch SE 2 have the lowest price of any currently available Apple Watch, so it’s clear what the wearable’s position is in the range.

4. A wider range of colors

Watch SE review

The Apple Watch SE isn't available in many colors (Image credit: TechRadar)

The Apple Watch SE is only available in gold, silver, and space gray shades, and while there’s nothing wrong with those colors, we’d like to see a wider selection available for the Apple Watch SE 2, including perhaps something flashier, like the red color that you can get the Apple Watch 6 in.

You can of course get a lot more color from the strap, as we’re only talking about the body here, but we’d still like more options.

5. Blood oxygen monitoring

Beyond the always-on display, one other feature the Apple Watch SE lacks that the Apple Watch 6 has is blood oxygen monitoring.

This is a useful health monitoring feature, but probably not a big selling point for most people, so while we’d like to see it, we wouldn’t mind too much if Apple keeps this for premium models.