Rugged Apple Watch 2021: Rumors, Leaks, Release Date, All We Know So Far

Apple Watch is the most successful product by the Californian-based tech giant besides iPhone. It dominates the global smartwatch market accounting for a 40% market share in Q4 2020. And yet, there are a few territories, Apple is reluctant to tread on. 

Garmin, Suunto, and Polar smartwatches might bring less revenue combined when compared to the Apple watch, but they are the pioneers in the small niche they crafted for themselves. Extreme Sports smartwatches or Rugged Smartwatches. With their durable watches with superior battery life and practical features, they won’t give even an inch to newcomers. 

As Apple mulls over releasing a new rugged variant alongside the awaited Apple Watch Series 7, nothing could be worse for the likes of Garmin. Bloomberg broke the story to the world with a caution that the company might scrap the plan altogether as it did with the original Apple watch back in 2015. 

Dubbed as ‘The Explorer Edition’, the new Apple Watch would cater to the needs of hikers, bikers, climbers, and so on. For that the usual addition of sports tracking and fitness features won’t be enough. To be the first choice, the watch needs to be hardcore resistant to damage, preferably military-grade protection, and have to offer plenty of desirable features. 

 Let’s find out what’s inside the rumors surrounding the latest Apple Watch. 

Rugged Apple Watch: Price and Release Date 

Premium Rugged Watches these days are highly expensive, and only a few of them cost under $500. An Apple Rugged Watch would be no different. It would be at least as expensive as the Apple Watch Series 7 which, in turn, could be priced anywhere between $400-$900 depending on the case material as the Series 6.

Apple split the smartphone and wearable release date last year when it unveiled Series 6 in September. If there is any rugged Apple Watch, it would be released the same month alongside Series 7. It would be available worldwide in 2-3 months. 

What To Expect In The Upcoming Rugged Apple Watch? 

Apple cannot take on Garmin and other rugged smartwatch manufacturers without covering the basics. Watches like Garmin Fenix Series and Suunto Spartan appeal to extreme sports athletes due to their sturdy design, wide GPS coverage, extra-long battery life, and reliable metrics. Apple would have to offer the same or better to compete and excel.

Design:

The toughest Apple watch so far with a titanium casing and the sapphire glass is put to shame by the Garmin Fenix Series. The latter has significantly high resistance to scratches, water, and impact. 

The same Bloomberg report that claims that there is a rugged Apple Watch edition under serious consideration, draws the contours of its design based on speculation. As rumors have it, the ‘Explorer Edition’ would have a rubberized exterior for durability and long-lasting performance. 

The water resistance though at baseline 5 ATM (up to 50m), needs to be at least 10 ATM so the watch could be useful for underwater activities like snorkeling and deep-diving or sports like skiing and surfing. Also, the company needs to add more swimming-related features. 

The Apple Watch of all smartwatches is more susceptible to damage and to counter it, the company needs to build a solid watch with robust impact and scratch resistance. Apart from the casing, a premium rubber strap is a must.

The Explorer Edition might push the tech giant to rethink its watch design. It’s the only way to survive in extreme environmental conditions. 

Battery Life:

To put things in context, Garmin’s enduro offers a whole year of battery life, and the Fenix Series lasts for two weeks. Better battery performance has long been in the wish list of Apple, and yet the latest Series 6 can offer no more than 18 hours of standard usage. 

While others might overlook the battery life in an urban environment, serious athletes and adventurers would not forgive if the Explorer Edition’s battery failed them in the middle of the expedition. 

Apple needs to do some groundbreaking upgrades to take this huge leap, and with its huge resources, it is the only company that can. 

GPS:

The latest Apple watch comes with an onboard position tracking sensor. It connects to both GPS and GLONASS (the Russian alternative of GPS) for seamless tracking, and in general, is very accurate.

However, for Explorer Edition needs to incorporate Galileo (the European alternative to GPS), and Beiduo (the Chinese Rival) to track positions where both GPS and GLONASS fail. Garmin is already offering it in its premium smartwatches. 

This feature is of particular interest to hikers and backcountry adventurers, and along with that, Apple should have advanced features like storm alerts and weather updates in places where there are no cellular signals.  

Why Should Apple Release The Explorer Edition?

Apple Watch Series 6 wasn’t a huge leap forward by the company which is famous for its disruptive tech worldwide. There were a few changes here and there, but overall, it doesn’t offer anything extraordinary for users to upgrade from their current Apple Watch Series 5 and 4.

The Explorer Edition is important for many aspects. First, It will push the company to finally address the poor battery performance of its wearable devices, and so propel the engine of innovation and growth. Second, it would allow it to gain a strong foothold in the extreme sports market. Last but not the least, It would keep the iPhone users in the ecosystem as they usually turn their faces to Garmin, Suunto, and likewise to find a reliable companion for serious athlete training and backcountry adventures. 

Apple, more than any other company on the Earth, has the resources, the talent, and the motivation to come up with a groundbreaking design.