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.

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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.

Related Forum: Apple Watch

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Top Rated Comments

jyw104 Avatar
44 months ago
If they go rugged (and presumably an enlarged case), make the battery bigger. No good doing extreme sports/endurance events without worrying about the battery conking out halfway through.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
firewire9000 Avatar
44 months ago
I would love to see an Apple Watch more like a Casio G-Shock.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
scubachap Avatar
44 months ago
I've often wondered why they haven't done this. They could probably own the dive computer market in a couple years. (One universal device that you swop and change deco software as you needed using apps.) Garmin are dipping their toes into the water (sorry!) with their descent but it feels proprietary and eye wateringly expensive.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iBluetooth Avatar
44 months ago
This makes sense as the market gets larger.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Abazigal Avatar
44 months ago

But to your point, the rest look terrible outside of their intended use case.
Garmin watches look that way for reason. They are hardy and designed to take knocks without losing a sweat. It's also why I switch back to my old g-shock watch whenever I had to go back for my 2-week military training every year in the past, because I was afraid of accidentally damaging my apple watch while moving heavy equipment or during outfield exercises, didn't want to fuss over battery life and needed a device with a second hand to time-hack.

Apple's smartwatches are intended to look trendy and fashionable and you would ideally be as comfortable wearing them to a fancy dinner as much as you would go swimming with it. I am not sure Apple can maintain its fashion aspect while retaining the metallic finish.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mike_Trivisonno Avatar
44 months ago
Make a rugged iPhone next!
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)