This fall is going to see a lot of new Apple Watches, it’s claimed. And one of them stands out as the most exciting: an all-new addition to the range that will be much tougher than the rest and suit those who like extreme sports. But among the intriguing news, a new report has a big surprise for the price.
According to Mark Gurman in his latest Power On newsletter, the super-tough Apple Watch will be very different from the current model, the Series 7. It means that Apple “is set to give the Apple Watch its ‘Pro’ tier.” That makes sense. After all, there have been models such as iPhone Pro, MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, AirPods Pro and iMac Pro, so why not Apple Watch Pro?
Gurman wryly points out that adding the Pro suffix means different things, but one change is consistent: a higher price.
Many of today’s comments from Gurman have been stated by him and others before: you can read my full run-down of the latest details here. These include a bigger display, a more shatter-resistant front, better swim tracking and hiking tracking, longer battery life and a more premium metal cladding.
Now, Gurman specifies that he thinks the new metal will likely be titanium. Personally, I was hoping for the return of ceramic to the range. Gurman has a stab at what the new Watch will be called. After all, there have been rumors of Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch Max, Apple Watch Plus and Apple Watch Explorer. That last one always sounded a bit weak to me.
Gurman says: “Given that the rugged Apple Watch, codenamed N199 inside the company, will apply to extreme sports enthusiasts and consumers who typically spring for Apple’s pro offerings, I think the company will probably go with the Apple Watch Pro name and marketing. Apple has already been touting the durability of the current watches, so it’s clearly a selling point that it believes clicks with consumers.”
That makes sense to me, and it certainly chimes with Apple users’ expectations of a higher price tag.
So, what will happen to the current premium end of the range, the Apple Watch Edition, currently available in a titanium finish? Gurman believes it will be dropped. “The shift to a new Apple Watch will probably mean the end of the Apple Watch Edition.”
That may be true, though I gently float the idea that Apple Watch Edition could be the name for the new model, too.
Still, previous Edition models have been identical in design and features to the regular Watches, with the premium metal justifying the extra price. Or maybe Apple Watch Edition could continue alongside this new Apple Watch Pro.
Gurman claims that a new Apple Watch SE will replace the existing model at the $279 price point. This may be true, but with the Series 3 expected to be disappearing from the range, I’d have thought there was a definite place for the original SE to become the entry-level model rather than vanishing.
Finally, Gurman reveals the price he’s expecting Apple will charge, and it’s slightly eye-watering. The current Apple Watch Edition costs $849 for the larger, 45mm model. But the new “Pro” model will cost a lot more, it’s claimed. Gurman says, “Given that the new high-end Apple Watch will pack in a slightly larger display, new sensors and higher-end materials, I wouldn’t be surprised if it starts closer to $900 to $999.”
If true, then the starting price for the Pro Watch will be around the same as the Pro iPhone.
I’m not sure I think this is right. My gut feeling is that Apple will want its Apple Watch Pro to be more affordable than this. We’ll find out in the coming months.