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Rumors of this new Apple Watch “Explorer Edition” first appeared over a year ago, when Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman got wind of Apple’s plans to launch a ruggedized version of the Apple Watch designed for outdoor adventure enthusiasts.
It was an idea Apple had reportedly been considering for years — at least as far back as 2015. However, instead of releasing a dedicated sports model, Apple chose to focus on the Apple Watch Series 2, which gained new “swim proofing” features and workouts targeted at swimmers.
While the Apple Watch has proven popular with sports enthusiasts, it still can’t compete with the durability of something like Casio’s G-Shock lineup. Over the past couple of years, Apple has come to realize that it’s been losing business to outdoor sports fans who need something that can survive the most extreme adventures.
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Several sources have since confirmed that this will be the year of the rugged Apple Watch, although it’s unclear what Apple will actually call it; the “Explorer Edition” is reportedly how Apple was referring to the project internally last year, but Gurman hasn’t used that name in his more recent reports.
However, what we do know is that this rugged Apple Watch for extreme sports aficionados will be released alongside the Apple Watch Series 8 and likely a new Apple Watch SE, making this the first year that Apple has three new Apple Watch models to show off.
In a recent article in Bloomberg, Gurman also provides additional details on what we can expect from the new Apple Watch model, including an even larger screen.
- According to Gurman, the screen will measure “almost 2 inches diagonally. This would offer 7 percent more screen real estate than the Series 7, which already boasts a larger display than its predecessors.
- The Apple Watch “Explorer Edition” will have a display resolution of 410 by 502 pixels, with the same overall sharpness as existing models. That’s an increase from the 45mm Series 7’s 396×484 screen.
- The Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch SE will retain the same 1.9-inch diagonal screen as the Series 7.
- Apple will likely take advantage of the larger screen in watchOS 9 to show more detail for things like the new multi-sport workouts geared toward triathletes.
- The extreme sports Apple Watch will be made from a strong metal material rather than aluminum for more durability. The screen will also be even more shatter-resistant than the Apple Watch Series 7, which already improved over the Series 6.
- The new Apple Watch is also expected to pack in a larger battery than the standard Apple Watch Series 8 so athletes can “track workouts for longer periods of time.”
- It’s unclear if Apple will release this rugged edition in two sizes, as Gurman only mentioned the larger two-inch screen.
Besides those differences, the Apple Watch “Explorer Edition” is expected to include all the features of the Apple Watch Series 8, including the S8 processor and body temperature sensor. Despite the new name, the S8 chip isn’t expected to be any faster than the S6/S7 that came before.
The Apple Watch “Explorer Edition” will almost certainly sell for a higher price tag than the Apple Watch Series 8; Gurman suggests it will be pricier even than Apple’s stainless steel models, which start at $699. That’s around the same price as the Android Wear OS-powered Casio G-Shock GSW-H1000, but Apple almost certainly intends to set a much higher bar for its first extreme sports Apple Watch.
[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.]