Apple Watch 2: FaceTime camera and new cases, more

Apple Watch rose gold white sport band

The Apple Watch has barely hit shelves in retail stores and reports on the next generation hardware have already surfaced. Sources have told 9to5Mac that Apple is working on the Apple Watch 2, and several improvements are in the pipeline. WatchOS 2 is already in the hands of developers, who are putting it through its paces ahead of the scheduled release date coming this fall. So what's in store for the Apple Watch 2?

One of the biggest changes will be the addition of a front-facing FaceTime camera, right on the top bezel of the Apple Watch 2 case. Presumably this would allow watch owners to carry on video calling directly from the watch face, without ever having to interact with the iPhone. Speaking of which, more independence from the iPhone sounds like one of the items Apple is targeting.

A tether-less initiative inside the company is exploring ways to make Apple Watch 2 less dependent on the iPhone. This would rely on improved Wi-Fi connectivity to handle messaging, weather updates, and email communication among other things. But how would these changes affect battery life?

According to the report, Apple has found most watch users are satisfied with nightly charging. This means the company will target equivalent or slightly better battery life in the next watch.

Other changes to the Apple Watch 2 could include new case materials, coming in at various price points between the Sport and Edition collections. Platinum, Palladium, Tungsten and Titanium have all been rumored for possible future case designs in the lineup. In the meantime, Apple Watch buyers can expect minor hardware upgrades ahead of the holiday shopping season, which may coincide with the watchOS 2 release. Those waiting for the Apple Watch 2 release date should continue looking forward to 2016.