The Apple Watch is a premium bit of kit, offering a holistic smartwatch experience, but it can’t quite compete with outdoor-focused alternatives from Garmin with a more durable, rugged design – but that could be about to change with an entirely new model of Apple Watch.
Leaks and rumours suggest that Apple is hard at work on a new pro-level rugged Apple Watch designed for the great outdoors, boasting a more durable case, larger display and possibly even an improvement on the standard 18-hour battery life. The best part? It’s rumoured to release in September alongside the Apple Watch Series 8.
Here’s all there is to know about the so-called Apple Watch Pro right now, including the latest release date, pricing and feature rumours.
What will the rugged Apple Watch be called?
Through leaks we know that Apple is working on a rugged Apple Watch behind closed doors at Apple Park, but when it comes to branding, it’s still in the air.
Most leakers have been referring to the Apple Watch by its main characteristic – its rugged nature – rather than its official name. Apple Watch Explorer Edition has been a popular option in the past, which developed into the Apple Watch Rugged Edition earlier this year.
Most recently, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman claims that it’ll instead be called the Apple Watch Pro, and it does make sense. Not only is it rumoured to be more feature-packed than the standard Apple Watch Series 8, it’s also the branding Apple uses on practically every other product line, from iPhone to iPad to Mac and even AirPods.
However, it’s entirely possible that Apple could go with something else entirely – we’ll just have to wait and see.
When will the Apple Watch Pro be released?
It’s rumoured that the Apple Watch Pro will make its debut alongside the new Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch SE, as well as the next-gen iPhone 14.
While Apple usually tends to announce new hardware on the second Tuesday of the month in September (13 September in 2022), Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman suggested in early August that this year’s event has been moved up, possibly as soon as 7 September – with the bevvy of products on sale the following Friday, 16 September.
Apple has since confirmed that it will indeed be hosting an event on 7 September at 10am PT/1pm ET/6pm BST, so it’s likely that we’ll be seeing the rugged Apple Watch in the next couple of weeks.
How much will the Apple Watch Pro cost?
It’s well known that the Apple Watch is a premium smartwatch, with the current flagship Apple Watch Series 7 starting at $399/£369, and it can reach over $1000/£1000 if you opt for more premium cases and watch strap combinations.
The Apple Watch Pro is expected to feature a bigger display, stronger casing and longer battery life than the upcoming flagship Series 8, and the price will likely reflect this.
While we’re yet to get confirmed pricing, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman suggested in his Power Up! Newsletter that it could start at the $900-999 mark, making it over double the price of the standard flagship.
We’ll update this section as soon as we hear differently.
What to expect from the Apple Watch Pro
Rumours suggest the rugged Apple Watch Pro will offer a more durable experience tailored to those that spend a lot of time in the great outdoors, with improved casing durability, a larger display and, possibly for the first time ever, an improvement on the standard 18-hour battery life.
With the ‘rugged’ moniker floating around and an alleged focus on extreme sports, it should come as no surprise that the rugged Apple Watch is said to be more durable than the standard Apple Watch.
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman claims that the chassis of the rugged edition will be made from a metal stronger than aluminium, and in a follow-up, he suggests that it’ll feature “a more durable formulation of titanium to make it extra rugged”.
Gurman also believes that the new model will offer an “evolution of the current rectangular shape, and not circular”, with details from a Macotakara reporting suggesting a flat display design with subtle curvature towards the edges could be on the cards.
Despite the fact that Apple only recently increased the display of the Apple Watch with the Series 7, jumping from 40mm and 44mm to 41mm and 45mm respectively, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman suggests that the Apple Watch Pro will benefit from a larger display than the rest of the Series 8 collection.
Per Gurman, the rugged Apple Watch will allegedly feature a 2in display, compared to the 1.9in display of the current and upcoming 45mm flagship models. Though it might not sound like much, whispers suggest the extra screen real estate could be used to display more metrics during exercise, one of the key features of the top-end model.
It also boasts a slightly higher resolution than the standard Watch, coming in at a rumoured 410 x 502 compared to the standard 396 x 484 of the larger 45mm Series 7.
He reiterated his claims soon after, claiming that the display will “be a good bit bigger than the standard Apple Watch” and claims that the size will be the main factor as to why it’ll only appeal to a “subset of customers”.
Macotakara shed more light on sizing options in late August, with suggestions it’ll come in a 47mm casing with a 1.99in display.
So, while it won’t be dramatically larger, it’s safe to expect a slightly bigger display with the Apple Watch Pro at release.
Improved battery life
With a larger display should come a larger internal battery, and that should extend the battery life beyond 18 hours for the first time ever – that’s according to Mark Gurman, anyway.
Though no specifics are provided, Gurman believes the Apple Watch Pro will outlast the rest of the Apple Watch collection, further adding to its ‘rugged outdoor’ focus where users may not be able to top up the watch once a day.
We’re not expecting true multi-day battery life like some Android alternatives, but if we could see a full 24-48 hours of use, that’d be a huge feat and no doubt a massive draw for tempted consumers.
Other Watch Series 8 features
Being a member of the Apple Watch Series 8 family, it’s safe to assume that the Pro smartwatch will benefit from many of the new features and tweaks available on the Apple Watch Series 8.
While it’s yet to be confirmed, it’s suspected that the Apple Watch Pro will borrow new fitness sensors, including a body temperature sensor said to make its first appearance on Apple’s wearables this year. However, a rumoured blood pressure monitor isn’t set to come to any Apple Watch until 2025 – per Mark Gurman – so don’t get your hopes up too high.
The rugged Apple Watch will also apparently feature the same S8 chipset as the Series 8, which in itself is said to be near-identical to the chipset within the Series 7 and Series 6.
It’s also safe to assume it’ll benefit from new watchOS 9 tweaks, with the ability to display more exercise metrics on screen at any one time, better manage incoming notifications and more.
A last-minute rumour suggests that a future version of the Apple Watch Pro could offer satellite communication capabilities, essentially relying on satellites to make and receive calls when standard network connectivity is unavailable. It’s a feature heavily rumoured to appear on the iPhone 14 this year following a delay with the iPhone 13, and could be a big plus for hikers eyeing up the Pro model.
“The company has also internally discussed the idea of giving its watches satellite features, which could make sense for a future version of the new more rugged Apple Watch Pro,” Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman wrote in a late-August edition of his Power Up! newsletter.
However, those hoping to see it this year will be disappointed, as Gurman’s sources are discussing a future version of the Watch – not the one due for release soon.
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