Although we’ve been hearing a lot of news about the new iPhone models expected to arrive next month, news about the next-generation Apple Watch has been considerably more sparse. Of course part of this may simply be due to the iPhone’s higher profile and more expansive supply chain, but it also doesn’t help that Apple has been playing its cards closer to the vest when it comes to the latest watchOS betas as well, which aren’t available to the public and haven’t included references to new features that would likely be coming in the new Apple Watch models.
Now, however, it looks like one big leak has been found in the most recent watchOS 6 beta, and even more interesting is that it’s not about features but actually about form.
According to a new report from iHelpBR, images found within the Apple Watch set up application show both a “44mm Ceramic Case” and a “44mm Titanium Case” — marking a return of the former material that hasn’t been seen since the Apple Watch Series 3, plus the introduction of an entirely new titanium design.
iHelpBR Editor-in-Chief Felipe Espósito was also able to share a video showing the full animation for the Apple Watch Titanium pairing process.
iHelpBR also most recently discovered a likely iPhone release date referenced in the latest iOS 13 betas. The site has also discovered similar assets for the 40mm Apple Watch, suggesting that this year’s models will retain the same case sizes, and likely the same designs, as last year’s Apple Watch Series 4. It’s also possible that Apple could simply be adding new case options for last year’s Apple Watch — these assets don’t make any specific references to a “Series 5” version of the wearable — but that seems unlikely, and the animations would also most probably need to appear in watchOS 5 as well in that case, since it’s doubtful new Series 4 models with different case designs would require watchOS 6.
We heard rumours last week from often-reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo that confirmed earlier reports that we might see the return of ceramic to this year’s Apple Watch — albeit with the possibility of a new design or way of using the material. However, this latest report is the first we’ve heard about the possibility of Apple using a titanium casing, which would be an interesting choice, considering that the only titanium product Apple has released in recent years is its shiny new Apple Card.
It’s also not really certain whether a titanium Apple Watch would be a higher-end model, or if it would simply replace the current Stainless Steel version. As Marco Ament and John Gruber point out, titanium could be fashioned to look like stainless steel, while also being much lighter in weight, which would be more fashionable and improve haptic feedback for vibration alerts. Apple would also presumably be using “watch-grade” titanium, similar to that found in other more traditional watches, ranging from Citizen and Casio to Tag Heuer, Tissot, and Rolex, so it would be an impressive and attractive design that will undoubtedly match the cachet of the Apple Card.
Either way, it seems likely that a titanium Apple Watch will carry a premium price, and could in fact even surpass ceramic as the new “Edition” model.