Original story below.
It won’t come as a shock that Apple is prepping a new Apple Watch Series 8 for launch later this year – it’ll almost certainly arrive alongside the iPhone 14 on 7 September and bring with it a number of must-have upgrades over previous versions. But there are also strong rumours that an Apple Watch Pro could be on the way as well.
The rumoured Watch variant looks set to be larger and get a more rugged build, with premium materials and extra sensors aimed at convincing athletes and extreme sportists to take the plunge.
If that sounds like something worth reserving a spot on your wrist for, read on: here’s everything we know so far about the upcoming Apple Watch Pro.
Apple Watch name: go for Pro?
First off, we don’t yet know if Apple will indeed call its new model the Watch Pro. That would line up with the firm’s MacBook, iPad and iPhone nomenclature. Heck, even the AirPods have a Pro model – but nothing is confirmed right now.
Bloomberg analyst Mark Gurman first suggested the Watch Pro name, but also mentioned Apple Watch Extreme, Apple Watch Max and Apple Watch Explorer Edition as other possibilities.
Until we hear otherwise (if anyone fancies leaking a retail box or official art assets, hit us up) we’re sticking with Apple Watch Pro.
Apple Watch design & features: what we know so far
Apple’s focus on fitness with watchOS 9 was clear to see at its developer conference WWDC earlier in the year. The new software, which is set to launch alongside the Apple Watch 8 (and therefore the Apple Watch Pro), lets triathletes swap quickly between running, swimming and cycling modes. It also lets runners record stride length, ground contact time, and vertical oscillation – all advanced metrics that would gel well with a more extreme watch.
All we have to go on right now is a report from Apple insider Mark Gurman of Bloomberg, writing in his Power On newsletter. He first hinted that Watch Series 8 would come in a ruggedised form, then expanded on it in a subsequent report, saying we can expect a larger screen, increased battery life, and new case materials.
The screen could grow to 2in diagonally, up from 1.9in on the Watch Series 7, and resolution could increase (Gurman mentions 502×410 specifically). The glass covering it should also be shatter-resistant, while the metal casing will be stronger than the aluminium used for the current crop of Apple Watches. A stronger titanium alloy is now the front-runner.
The new watch appears to be a whopping 49mm. Leaker Sonny Dickson has shared images (below) of it in a lineup alongside the 44 and 41mm models of the Apple Watch Series 7.
Previous rumours suggested that the case would have a different size, perhaps 47mm or even 48mm.
Design-wise, the next-generation Apple Watch was always expected to get a fresh new look for 2022. There’s a good chance Apple will go for a flatter look inspired by the iPhone 13 and new 2022 MacBook Air: supply chain sources have suggested flat glass is being prepped for manufacturing, replacing the raised, curved panels seen on current Apple Watch models.
As to whether the underlying case will change to match it, the latest signs point to that not being the case. Mark Gurman said the new model will be “an evolution of the current rectangular shape,” and that “it also won’t have those rumoured flat sides.”
Internally, a skin temperature sensor is also expected to make the cut, helping Apple Health detect fevers or illnesses. This is a rumour that has been touted by multiple sources, including the ever-knowledgeable Mark Gurman. Not only that, but an Apple patent which describes a temperature sensor for a watch practically seals the deal. The only uncertainty is whether or not it’ll appear in the Series 8 devices like the Watch Pro, or in a future iteration like the Series 9. Don’t expect blood pressure or blood glucose monitoring to arrive any time soon – these are reportedly years away from being ready for the public.
There also appear to be two buttons on the Pro Watch (in addition to the digital crown). We don’t know what the second left-hand button would be for, but we reckon it is probably related to starting and stopping workouts.
Everything will be powered by an S8 processor, a tweaked variant of the S7 used currently (which itself hasn’t changed all that much from the sixth-gen Watch). Performance shouldn’t change all that much as a result. Battery life will reportedly be improved by a new low power mode, allowing it to last several days per charge by disabling certain functions.
Apple Watch Pro release date window
Apple is fairly reliable when it comes to launching new Watch generations, so we expect it to arrive alongside iPhone 14 on 7 September. We’re not expecting a separate event, with all versions of the Series 8 announced simultaneously.
Here are the dates from previous years:
- Series 1 and Series 2 release date: September 16, 2016
- Series 3 release date: September 22, 2017
- Series 4 release date: September 21, 2018
- Series 5 release date: September 20, 2019
- Series 6 and SE release date: September 18, 2020
- Series 7 release date: October 15, 2021 (announced September 14, 2021)
Typically Apple products are released a week after they make their first public appearance, but given the ongoing issues affecting the global tech supply chain, there’s every chance the new model won’t start shipping until October.
Apple Watch Pro likely price
Given an extreme Apple Watch is uncharted territory, we’re limited to guesswork as to what it will cost – but one analyst has predicted an $899 to $999 (£750-£850) starting price.
Mark Gurman of Bloomburg said that the larger display, new sensors and higher-end materials would push the price considerably higher than the current Apple Watch 7. That models starts at £369, but can rise as high as £1449 for the top-end edition.
If accurate, that would put Apple’s sportiest offering above established rivals from the likes of Garmin – a regular entry in our best GPS sports watches list.