A little while ago, I revealed that the rumoured ‘rugged Apple Watch’ was the exact direction in which I’d like Apple to steer its wearable.
Back then, this was indeed based on rumour and hearsay, but those rumours have ramped up a notch this week, with famed Apple leaker (that’s how you describe him, right?) Mark Gurman of Bloomberg offering some tantalising insight into what might be going on.
Yesterday, Gurman published an article which states that a forthcoming update to the Apple Watch will feature Apple’s “largest smartwatch display to date, a bigger battery and a rugged metal casing”.
Apparently, we can expect to see this new iteration of the Apple Watch later this year. And I cannot wait.
What to expect from the rugged Apple Watch
Beyond the larger battery and more expansive screen, Gurman tells us that the latest addition to the Apple Watch lineup will benefit from a “more shatter-resistant screen”, and software tweaks that will make the best use of that bigger display.
The expectation is for this device to create a brand-new category for Apple’s wearable, with a more familiar, regular Apple Watch 8 sitting beneath it both in pricing (presumably – I might be wrong there) and feature set.
This makes total sense. Create a new model that satisfies the growing number of extreme sports enthusiasts, while ensuring the regular Watch crowd doesn’t feel shortchanged.
Further details on the rugged Apple Watch are still rather scarce, but if Gurman’s reporting holds any weight (it usually does), it’s clear that the focus of this device will be that bigger screen, longer battery life, and more durable casing.
Take my money, Tim.
Who is it for?
This is a fair question. After all, the Apple Watch isn’t exactly a slow-moving product, is it? Equally, I’d wager that a vast proportion of its audience consists of people who have been tempted away from traditional sports watches.
But the Apple Watch isn’t really a sports watch. Its battery doesn’t have enough stamina, the screen is too small to satisfy data-obsessed runners, and if you take it on a mud run, you’ll destroy the screen (been there, done that).
Apple knows this. It also knows that it takes time to continually iterate a piece of tech without breaking it and losing market share. It’s probably why the Apple Watch 7 launch last year seemed so rushed, boring, and dispassionate; clearly, what they really wanted to ship just wasn’t ready yet.
You can bet your bottom dollar that one of Apple’s biggest targets has always been the Garmin crowd. Having pretty much nailed the ‘regular’ watch market, they’re clearly ready to swing that crosshair in the inevitable next direction.
My guess is that we’ve reached an inflection point where technological advances can finally make that particular battle possible for the Apple Watch.
Why I want it
I need to clarify something.
I’m not an extreme athlete. I’ve done one mud run because my bother in law suggested it would be a laugh (it wasn’t). I would rather insert a very important part of my body into a trouser press than undertake a triathlon. My exercise regime consists of a few 5K runs each week, a couple of Apple Fitness+ cycling sessions, and some free weights. So, I’m not exactly pushing the boundaries of what one might need from a rugged smartwatch.
But I still want one.
More specifically, I want an Apple Watch that I don’t have to worry about and which I can take with me on my annual long weekend hiking jaunt to the Lake District without worrying too much about the battery.
‘Worry’ really is the key word here. The time to give us an Apple Watch that you don’t have to treat with kid gloves has finally arrived.
What I want from the rugged Apple Watch
If, this autumn, we’re treated to an Apple Watch that features the details noted in Gurman’s report, that will probably be enough for me.
My wish list for this theoretical addition to the Apple Watch lineup has been rolling around in my head for quite some time. It looks something like this:
- at least two days of battery life;
- a bigger, shatter- and scratch-resistant screen;
- a partnership with a brand already well versed in this space (Casio?!);
- a tough casing (plastic if needs be!); and
- rugged band options.
Will I get all of the above? Probably not. Knowing Apple, it’s more likely to be a gentler approach with ‘just enough’ to tempt all but the most ardent of Garmin fans over to the Apple Watch.
Who else is up for a rugged Apple Watch? And, more importantly, what do you want from it? Get involved in the comments!