According to a recent survey from the independent research firm Wristly, the most valuable potential feature for the next Apple Watch is the ability to use apps on the watch without the device being tethered to an iPhone.
Wristly's opt-in survey polled 1,500 Apple Watch owners across four continents to determine the most wanted features for the device, and the results were overwhelmingly in favor for the Apple Watch functioning as less of an iPhone accessory and more of its own device.
Nearly 80% of respondents to the survey said that using apps without an iPhone would be "very valuable."
Right now, the Apple Watch has to load all third-party apps from an iPhone that's paired to the device via Bluetooth. The next software update for the Apple Watch, called watchOS 2, will let developers run their apps on the Watch itself, but functionality is still severely limited without the always-on data connection an iPhone provides.
"The key to this feature is the option to leave the iPhone at home," explains Wristly's Ben Bajarin. "Of course, this means the Apple Watch would need its own independent cellular connection. This could impact battery life, add another cellular connection fee, and possibly impact the size of the Watch."
Luckily, people don't seem to mind if the Apple Watch gets bigger in size. Wristly's survey also asked participants about their opinions on any size changes to the Apple Watch's hardware, and the majority didn't mind if the size increased. Thinness was the main priority, which could still be impacted by adding in more chips for features like a standalone data connection.
The second most requested feature was for the Apple Watch to be waterproof. (The Apple Watch, according to Apple, is "splash and water resistant but not waterproof" — Apple says you can wear it when you exercise, in the rain, and when you wash your hands.)
The least valuable potential feature, according to the survey, would be if the Apple Watch took pictures.
While new Apple Watch bands are expected to be announced on Wednesday, we likely won't see a major update to the Watch until next year. Until then, watchOS 2's release this fall will let apps run directly on the Watch itself.
Will the Apple Watch be a complete iPhone replacement one day? Maybe. After all, that seems to be what people want.