Bloomberg: Apple May Launch Rugged Apple Watch Model for Extreme Sports as Soon as This Year

Apple is weighing up the possibility of launching an Apple Watch with a rugged casing that’s made for use in extreme environments, according to a new report from Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman.



From the
report:

Apple Inc. is considering launching an Apple Watch with a rugged casing aimed at athletes, hikers and others who use the device in more extreme environments, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Cupertino, California-based technology giant has internally discussed introducing such a Watch variation later in 2021 or 2022 at the earliest, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private matters.

As noted by Gurman, this isn’t the first time Apple has considered a rugged smartwatch. The company mulled releasing a model to appeal to extreme sports athletes alongside the original Apple Watch, which launched in 2015.

If Apple goes ahead this time, the rugged version would be an additional model similar to how Apple offers a lower-cost option called the Apple Watch SE and special editions co-branded with Nike Inc. and Hermes International. Sometimes dubbed the “Explorer Edition” inside Apple, the product would have the same functionality as a standard Apple Watch but with extra impact-resistance and protection in the vein of Casio’s G-Shock watches.

The latest Apple Watch models are water resistant to 50 meters, but Gurman suggests that Apple could make a new device more “rugged” by giving it a rubberized casing, making it more resistant to damage in extreme environments compared to the current lineup of aluminum, titanium, and stainless steel cases.

Despite actively considering such a model, Gurman includes the usual caveat about rumored future products by noting that his sources say it could be ultimately canceled or delayed.

Apple is also working on new swim tracking features for the Apple Watch, according to the report, although no additional details were given.

Apple typically launches new Apple Watch models in September, but rumors are thin on the ground when it comes to a Series 7 model. According to Korean site ETNews, Apple will add blood glucose monitoring capabilities to the Apple Watch Series 7 using a non-invasive optical sensor.

Other rumors indicate a future version of the Apple Watch may adopt solid state buttons that don’t physically click but instead provide haptic feedback to users when the buttons are touched, but it’s not clear when this is coming.