Apple set to unveil 'rugged' Watch in push to win over extreme sports athletes

Watch Series 8 variant reportedly features a tougher steel casing, bigger battery and a stronger screen

Apple held a third of the market share in terms of global smartwatch shipments in 2021. AP
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Apple is expected to unveil a rugged version of its smartwatch that feature its biggest display so far and is aimed at extreme sports athletes, according to a report.

The coming Watch Series 8 is said to have a version that has a tougher steel casing, bigger battery and a more shatter-resistant screen with a diagonal size of about 51 millimetres, a Bloomberg report on Wednesday said, citing sources.

The biggest version at the moment, the 45mm Series 7, has an aluminium casing, up to 18 hours of battery life and a diagonal screen size of about 48.3mm.

The iPhone-maker is planning to release the Watch Series 8 later this year, the sources said, although it is unclear if it will be alongside the next iPhone, which is expected to be introduced in September.

Bloomberg first reported on Apple's plans for a rugged Watch in March last year. The report indicated that the device could be released in late 2021 or in 2022.

However, the Watch Series 8 would use the same general processing performance for the third straight year, “something that's never happened before”, Bloomberg's tech reporter Mark Gurman, who has a long history of accurate reporting on Apple's product plans, wrote in his newsletter.

He said that the S8 chip expected to be used by Series 8 would be at par with the S7 and S6 from the previous two iterations of the device.

Cupertino-based Apple is expected to make up for this by introducing new features, including a tool that measures body temperature to complement current features such as blood oxygen levels, blood pressure and ECG measurements, as it continues to position the Watch as a health, fitness and well-being device.

In May, Apple revealed several new accessibility features on its devices aimed at assisting users who are physically challenged, including a mirroring tool on its Watches for those with mobility issues.

Apple also holds a comfortable lead — a third of the market share — in terms of global smartwatch shipments, which surged 24 per cent annually to 127.5 million units in 2021, as the industry emerged from coronavirus-induced disruptions that began in 2020, Counterpoint Research said in a March study.

However, it could face some more competition from Google, which is reportedly working on its first in-house smartwatch that is scheduled for release in 2022.

The Alphabet-owned company aim to challenge Apple's dominance in the wearable device segment.

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Updated: July 26, 2022, 5:33 AM
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