Don’t Buy a Garmin Yet: Apple Could Launch a More Fitness-centric Apple Watch

Don’t Buy a Garmin Yet: Apple Could Launch a More Fitness-centric Apple Watch
Imagine: an Apple Watch just as robust at your biking friend's Garmin that you've been coveting all this time. (Photo: Victoria Song / Gizmodo)

Apple will likely announce a “pro” tier of the Apple Watch this fall. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, who publishes the Power On newsletter, Apple is planning a high-end variant to help its wearable compete with the industry’s best fitness watches.

An Apple Watch “pro” could feature a bigger, shatter-resistant display, more accurate hiking and swim tracking, longer battery life, and a more rugged chassis. Gurman suggests the material used for its body could be titanium, already utilised in some training-centric smartwatches like models from Garmin.

This “pro” version of the Apple Watch is expected to have a 2-inch display, while the already-rumoured-about Apple Watch Series 8 will measure in at 1.9-inches across — the same size as the current Apple Watch Series. In an earlier newsletter, Gurman said this would give the watch about 7% more screen real estate than the current models. The “pro” Apple Watch will likely have a resolution of 410 pixels by 502 pixels, and the larger screen area could be devoted to displaying more fitness data.

Garmin does seem like the main competition for this particular Apple Watch, which Gurman said will be designed to “appeal to extreme sports athletes.” It may also appeal to folks who want a slightly larger display and something more robust than what Apple currently offers. Gurman says this version of the Apple Watch is codenamed N199 inside Cupertino walls.

Fitness watches have different capabilities than regular, app-driven smartwatches because they’re equipped with more sensors for tracking body metrics. Rather than exist as an extension of a mobile device, a fitness watch like the Garmin Epix, for instance, offers more accurate GPS, real-time stamina tracking, longer water resistance, and a display that’s more suited for the outdoors.

Gurman also hints that this could be the end of the Apple Watch Edition, a pricier version of the Apple Watch made of titanium. But as mentioned, an updated Apple Watch Series 8 is expected this fall, along with a new Apple Watch SE. The Series 8 will likely have updated displays for the 41mm and 45mm sizes, a new chip, and a body temperature tracking feature, while the SE is expected to fully replace the Apple Watch Series 3 as the affordable model. It likely won’t have a body temperature sensor to maintain its entry-level cost.

The “pro” moniker is the reason for the season. Last week, Samsung’s “pro” model of its smartwatch leaked, indicating Android’s only worthy smartwatch will offer direct competition for iPhone users. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro will also supposedly come in titanium, though we know little else about it except that it looks like the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic.

We’ll hopefully learn more about both Apple and Samsung’s respective smartwatches in the coming months.