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It looks like 2022 is shaping up to be a more exciting year for the Apple Watch, with a new report suggesting that we could actually see three different models next year.
While an Apple Watch Series 8 is pretty much a given, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman says that not only can we expect to see a new Apple Watch SE, but also the arrival of the rugged ‘Extreme Sports’ model that was rumoured earlier this year.
The rumoured big redesign for this year’s Apple Watch Series 7 never materialized, and while most originally assumed Apple was saving it for next year’s Series 8, our information suggests we’re going to see more of the same next fall.
While the Apple Watch Series 8 will certainly pack in more new features and sensors, it looks like Apple is going to stick with the tried and true design – although there are rumours it may come in three sizes next time around.
To be fair, Apple did make some serious tweaks to the screen’s design in this year’s Apple Watch Series 7. It’s just that these kinds of changes — which basically amount to a slightly larger and more durable screen — are hard for users to really appreciate. On the surface, the Apple Watch Series 7 doesn’t look all that different from every other model that Apple has released in the past four years.
Gurman also isn’t saying much about the Apple Watch Series 8, simply referring to it in his Power On newsletter as “an updated standard model.” We think it’s the other two Apple Watch models that could be considerably more interesting.
New Apple Watch SE
It’s hard to say at this point what Apple has in mind for the Apple Watch SE, since the company has only released one version so far. It stands to reason, however, that a second-generation model has to come along sooner or later, and according to Gurman’s sources, Apple is already working on it.
Apple seems to reserve the “SE” moniker, which technically stands for “Special Edition,” for its non-premium products. The iPhone SE was the first example of that, and last year’s Apple Watch SE followed in its footsteps, providing a lower-cost alternative for users who didn’t need all the most advanced health sensors and other features of Apple’s flagship wearable.
Gurman doesn’t say much about what next year’s Apple Watch SE will look like, but one possibility is that it could be the model to get the flat-edged redesign that we’ve heard so much about.
In this case, the theory — and it’s really just a theory at this point — is that the leaked information we saw from multiple sources of a new Apple Watch design was never intended for the mainstream Series 7 or Series 8 models. Instead, it was something Apple intends to use for the next Apple Watch SE.
It does make some sense that the Apple Watch SE might get some type of design change to help distinguish it. Last year’s Apple Watch SE was visually indistinguishable from the aluminum Series 6 models, and it’s certainly possible Apple might want to help set it apart in some way.
New Apple Watch ‘Explorer Edition’
On the other hand, there’s one other model that we’ve mostly forgotten about, and that’s the rugged Apple Watch that Gurman first revealed to us in March, and it’s not hard to see how the rumoured flat-edged design might fit into Apple’s plans for this model.
In his latest Power On newsletter, Gurman describes this as “a ruggedized version aimed at extreme sports athletes,” so it would presumably have an entirely different design, likely looking more like a Casio G-Shock than any of the Apple Watch models we’ve seen thus far.
Of course, the flat-edged renders aren’t inherently rugged, but they could form the structure that would lie beneath a more durable casing. Along with Apple’s new display technology that gave the Series 7 a more durable screen, this could lead to an Apple Watch that’s not only better at holding up under the most rigorous outdoor adventures, but also one that looks the part.
The so-called Apple Watch “Explorer Edition” would be a third column in the Apple Watch lineup. Conceptually, it would probably be marketed similarly to the workout-focused Nike+ Edition. However, unlike that model, which uses the same casing as the standard aluminum Series 7, the “Explorer Edition” would feature an entirely unique design, marking a radical turning point in the Apple Watch product lineup.
[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]