Apple may be preparing to launch a more rugged version of its popular Apple Watch to appeal to hardcore athletes.
The ‘Explorer Edition’, as it is called, would have a more durable rubber frame and added shock resistance to withstand ‘extreme environments,’ Bloomberg reported.
This can be useful for skiing, mountaineering and other intense activities, allowing the device to compete with more robust smartwatches such as the Garmin Fenix 6, Casio WSD-F30 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 3.
More than 100 million people around the world already own an Apple Watch, with the device responsible for most of Apple’s $ 30 billion in wearables and accessories last year.
The new watch, positioned as an alternative and not a replacement for the standard Apple Watch, would be rolled out in 2021 or 2022 at the earliest, the outlet said.
Scroll down for video
Apple is considering a more robust version of the Apple Watch to appeal to ‘extreme athletes’, with a rubber frame and better shock absorption
Apple was considering a more robust version of its Apple Watch when it first launched the wearable in 2015, Bloomberg reported but never released a product to consumers.
A year later, the Cupertino-based company teamed up with Nike on a co-branded wearable aimed at runners.
It included a reflective band, brighter screen, GPS, exclusive Siri commands, and integration with a Nike + Run Club app.
But rumors that the Explorer edition would do better in more intense activities, such as skiing and snowboarding, for which the traditional Apple Watch isn’t considered durable enough.
The rumored ‘Explorer Edition’ Apple Watch could launch later this year or early 2022. Pictured: an Apple Watch Series 6
It would have the same functionality as a regular Apple Watch, but with a rubber frame and stronger shock resistance, Bloomberg reported.
The ‘extreme’ Apple Watch could be released later this year or early 2022, it’s certainly not certain: it could eventually be delayed or even canceled, sources told Bloomberg.
The company is also working on new swim-tracking features for the Apple Watch, the report said.
Rumors circulated that Apple would announce several new devices on March 23, including AirPods 3, an iPad Pro update and the highly anticipated AirTags tracking device.
Those reports, based on a leak by a ‘mysterious but spot-on’ Chinese hacker named Kang, turned out to be false, but CNET predicted the tech giant could save its big news for April.
Whether that event takes place – or whether there is news about a new Apple Watch in it – remains to be seen.
The company tends to unveil new iterations of the Apple Watch in the latter part of the year, often in September.
The company has continuously upgraded its smartwatches since its launch in April 2015.
Initially marketed as a fashion accessory, the device’s health and fitness capabilities have increasingly taken center stage.
Launched in September 2016, the Apple Watch Series 2 included a partnership with Nike and allowed swimmers to count their laps and analyze their stroke style.
Four years later, the company unveiled the Series 6, which can read the wearer’s blood oxygen level.
However, Apple could soon face some competition in the smartwatch field: Facebook is rumored to be working on an Android-based version that will focus on messaging and health features.
According to The Information, the social media giant is ‘well aware’ of the development and could release the device next year – with a second generation already in 2023.
The report claims that the smartwatch allows users to send and receive messages, track workouts, and connect with health and fitness companies.
According to The information, Facebook is designing its own operating system, but it is not yet clear whether the software will power the wearable device or whether the company will choose to use Google’s Wear operating system.
The device supports stand-alone connectivity and allows the device to connect to the services or hardware of health and fitness companies, such as Peloton exercise bikes.