Apple is internally discussing the release of a rugged version of its Apple Watch designed for use in “extreme environments,” according to a new report in Bloomberg. The company is said to have considered a launch later this year, or 2022. If released, the watch could offer core functionality similar to the regular Apple Watch, but with a sturdier construction, such as a rubberized exterior. The report also notes that Apple is planning new swim-tracking features for its watches.
Although the company’s existing watches are already popular for exercise tracking and are water resistant to 50 meters, they are not considered durable enough for extreme sports like water skiing without additional protection. This has allowed other smartwatch companies like Suunto and Garmin to find a foothold in the market with more specialized devices.
According to BloombergApple has considered releasing a tougher version of its Apple Watch at least once before, after the original model’s release in 2015. But the plans never became a consumer device, and there is a good chance the current plans will end. be canceled or delayed. However, if released, the new rugged model would be offered alongside traditional Apple Watch models, similar to the low-cost Apple Watch SE that the company launched last year.
Apple tends to launch new smartwatches in the second half of the year. In addition to the Apple Watch SE, last year the company released the Apple Watch Series 6. However, their improvements were so iterative that we didn’t think they were worth updating for anyone who already owns a Series 4 or Series 5 watch. In the meantime, a resilient version could offer a much more substantial reason to upgrade.