Apple Might Have Discontinued the Last Apple Watch Edition
The Apple Watch Edition has sold out in countries around the world, just weeks before the Apple Watch Series 8 lineup is expected to be unveiled.
At the start of this month, MacRumors spotted that several of the high-end Apple Watch Series 7 models with titanium casings were being listed as "currently unavailable" on Apple's online store in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and various other countries.
The Apple Watch Series 8 is expected to be unveiled alongside the iPhone 14 lineup in September. In addition to two standard Series 8 models, Apple reportedly plans to introduce a high-end model with a larger display and a more new durable design that would be suitable for hiking and extreme sports, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.
The high-end Apple Watch model is rumored to feature a titanium casing, something that has so far only been available on the Apple Watch Edition. With its titanium casing being the Apple Watch Edition's only differentiating feature, it is difficult to see how the variant could be justified in the lineup with a substantially different titanium model placed just above it, not least because the Apple Watch Edition could draw sales away from the new high-end model.
Earlier this month, display analyst Ross Young said that the new high-end Apple Watch is expected to sell in comparatively low volume – just like previous reports of low sales for the Apple Watch Edition models due to their high price point. Apple is purportedly expecting to ship just one million units of the larger Apple Watch in the third quarter of this year, compared to four million 45mm Apple Watch Series 8 models.
Beyond pricing and positioning in the market, Gurman's confirmation of a titanium casing for this year's new high-end Apple Watch model is the best indication yet that Apple may be planning to effectively fold the current Apple Watch Edition line into this new product category. This would allow it to continue to offer a titanium casing, but more overtly tout the weight and strength advantages of the material amid a focus on durability at a higher price point.
Leaving the more affordable titanium Apple Watch Edition in the lineup could also have the unwanted effect of cannibalizing sales of the new high-end model. Likewise, the new high-end Apple Watch could be much more appealing to some customers than the Apple Watch Edition, with meaningful differentiating aspects like display size, battery life, and design providing more justifiable reasons for an upsale.
With names like Apple Watch "Pro" being far from locked-in at this stage of the rumor cycle, it is also worth noting that the new high-end Apple Watch models could simply form the Apple Watch Edition line going forward. At minimum, it looks like the Apple Watch Edition line in its current form may be gone for good. Beyond a redesign, the high-end Apple Watch is expected to feature the "S8" chip, a body temperature sensor for enhanced sleep tracking and fertility planning, a Low Power Mode to prolong battery life, and a larger battery to enable longer workout times.