The rumours about this new rugged Apple Watch just keep flying in, don’t they?
The latest come once again from Mr Mark Gurman – my favourite of all the Apple Leak Brigade (or, at least, the one whose reports are more likely to be somewhere close to a shred of truth).
Thanks to Gurman, we now have a potential name for the new breed of Apple Watch, and a predicted price point that reveals far more about Apple’s supposed intentions with the device.
If any of this is true, obvs.
Gurman’s latest Apple Watch rumours
In his latest newsletter, Gurman tells us that the Apple Watch is “set to go pro” later this year with the introduction of a high-end model.
This isn’t quite what I was expecting, but the more you think about it, the more it makes sense. The Apple Watch is one of the few Apple devices that is yet to be granted a ‘Pro’ tier by the Cupertino giant. The closest we’ve had to that is the stupid Edition model which is for people who, presumably, literally eat money for breakfast.
Although the ‘Apple Watch Pro’ moniker is nothing more than a guess on Gurman’s part (he also offers up ‘Apple Watch Max’ and ‘Apple Watch Explorer Edition’ as potential candidates), the idea that Apple may indeed finally give its wearable a ‘Pro’ tier is rather enticing.
It does have one drawback, though, which is the predicted price.
Gurman suggests that the high-end positioning of the new Apple Watch could grant it a price tag somewhere in the region of $900 – $999, which would make it unattainable for vast swathes of the market. Given how fast wearable technology advances, this pricing strategy (if true) could see us heading perilously towards the Edition days of old, where Apple expected those money-eating consumers to buy a watch which would likely be superseded a mere 12 months later.
Regardless, reports of a stronger metal case, a more shatter-resistant, largely display, and longer battery life is an exciting prospect if you fancy splashing out on the best possible Apple Watch.
The Apple Watch Pro competition
This is where it gets interesting.
When the rugged Apple Watch rumours first surfaced, I immediately assumed the device would be a solid and far more capable competitor for Casio’s G-Shock range. However, if Gurman’s reports are to be believed, that clearly isn’t the case, and it does chime with my thoughts last week that Garmin may in fact be Apple’s primary target.
If you head to Garmin’s website, it’s not hard to see why. It is completely impenetrable. The range of watches on offer presents one of the most confusing shopping experiences I’ve ever encountered.
Garmin has tried to fix this by offering a simple Q&A process which is intended to lead consumers towards the most appropriate watch for their needs. In reality, it only takes you half the distance, and because you’re forever surrounded by the other options available, it’s hard not to dig further in and simply get more confused.
This is what Apple excels at. Take a confusing market segment and make it digestible for normal human beings. Clearly, unless you know exactly what you’re after from a Garmin, you’re in for a pretty torrid buying journey.
It won’t be easy for Apple, though.
I’m nothing more than a casual 5K runner, and I have absolutely no experience of using a Garmin watch. But I do know a couple of people who swear by them. And that’s the point – they swear by them; bloated product range aside, Garmin has an army of incredibly loyal fans (and their watches do look rather nice, to boot).
That’s the first challenge for the Apple Watch ‘Pro’. The second is the rumoured Samsung Watch 5 Pro. This looks rather lovely, and is expected to arrive this August for the princely sum of around €540. Samsung’s ‘Pro’ effort will apparently feature a 45mm circular face, LTE, a 572mAH battery, and construction from materials such as titanium and sapphire.
I’ve always liked the look of Samsung’s smartwatches. They have traditional circular faces, what looks like Apple Watch-esque build quality, and a great looking UI. They’ll always have a mountain to climb against the Apple Watch, granted, but that won’t stop Samsung undercutting Tim and co. with something that will make the headlines for being cheaper and more attainable.
Whether Apple or Samsung can tempt those Garmin fans away from their proper sports smartwatches is anyone’s guess, but I can’t wait to watch this battle unfold.