Bigger screen, rugged Apple Watch coming in 2022, says report

The upcoming extreme sports Apple Watch will have a larger, tougher screen and a bigger battery.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer
Image: Apple

Apple is planning a smartwatch with a bigger screen and rugged metal casing that will arrive later this year. 

The new Apple Watch is aimed at well-heeled extreme sports types and will feature a screen that measures almost two-inches diagonally, according to a report by Bloomberg. It's expected to have a screen with 7% more screen area than the largest Apple Watch 7.

Apple historically has unveiled new versions of the Apple Watch in September, alongside new iPhone models. This September, it's expected to launch the standard Apple Watch 8 with the same dimensions as the Apple Watch 7, the rugged sports Watch, new budget Watch SE models, and four iPhone 14 models.    

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The Apple Watch 7 is available with a 41 mm display (352 by 430 pixels) or a 45 mm display (396 by 484 pixels). It featured thinner borders than the Watch 6, giving it a bigger screen area, and runs on the S7 chip. 

Apple billed the Watch 7 as the "most durable Apple Watch ever" due to its crack-resistant front crystal. It was also the first Apple Watch with an IP6X rating for dust resistance and it had a water resistance rating to 50m. 

But the extreme sports Apple Watch will be even more durable. Apparently it will use a "strong metal material" versus the current aluminum frame, and will feature a more shatter-resistant screen. The display will have a resolution of about 410 by 502 pixels,  according to the report.

It will feature a larger battery than the standard Apple Watch, so that athletes track workouts for longer, according to Bloomberg sources. 

The longer battery life also could improve Apple Watch's appeal against Garmin's popular rugged smartwatches like its Fenix 7 and Epix, which can last over a week on a single charge.

Apple announced watchOS 9 in June at WWDC, showcasing new Workout app features like Custom Workouts for interval training, Multisport workout type for triathletes when switching between swimming, biking and running, and new running metrics.   

All the new Apple Watches to be announced this year will use an S8 processor with similar performance to the S7 and the S6.  

It's not known what Apple's starting price for the rugged Watch will be, but Bloomberg reckons it likely will be more than $699 starting price for the standard stainless steel Apple Watch. Apple also sells the Watch 7 in a titanium case from $799, while the entry-level aluminum case model starts at $399.

Apple still dominates smartwatch shipments globally by a long mile, but rivals are emerging as lower-cost devices gain traction in different markets. Counterpoint Research estimated Apple Watch models accounted for 30% of all smartwatches sold globally through 2021. Samsung, its nearest rival, had a 10.2% share, while Garmin, in sixth place, had a 4.6% share. Smartwatch sales numbers grew 24% year on year.

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