The larger Apple Watch Series 8 model due to arrive later this year is rumored to feature a titanium case, raising questions about the future of the Apple Watch Edition.
Yesterday, Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman reported that the new, larger Apple Watch model slated for launch this year will feature a case made of “a more durable formulation of titanium to make it sturdier.”
Apple has offered a titanium version of the Apple Watch since the launch of the Apple Watch Series 5 in 2019, under the “Apple Watch Edition” brand. Currently, the Apple Watch Edition comes with an additional sport band, and while it offers a lighter and stronger case than the stainless steel model, it’s otherwise identical to the standard Apple Watch.
Now, a wide range of rumors point to an all-new, high-end Apple Watch model launching later this year. The device is expected to feature a bigger screen, longer battery life, a rugged body, and an all-new design. Potential names for the device include “Apple Watch Pro” or “Apple Watch Explorer Edition,” and the device has been associated with extreme sports, athletes, hikers, and other users who need a watch. more sustainable.
Starting at $749, the current Apple Watch Edition is $150 more than the stainless steel Apple Watch. For this year’s new high-end Apple Watch, Gurman offered pricing that “starts closer to $900 to $999,” positioning it above the Apple Watch Edition.
Overall, it seems clear that the new premium Apple Watch will deviate more from the standard Apple Watch models than any previous Apple Watch Edition model in terms of features, size, design, and price. This raises the question of whether Apple will continue to offer the Apple Watch Edition after the new high-end Apple Watch launches later this year.
The Apple Watch Edition has come a long way since its launch in 2015. When it launched, the Apple Watch Edition line consisted exclusively of Apple Watches with 18k yellow or rose gold cases that cost between $10,000 and $17,000. . These were discontinued a year later with the launch of the Apple Watch Series 2, which replaced the expensive gold cases with more affordable white ceramic models, starting at $1,249.
A gray ceramic variant was added with the Apple Watch Series 3 in 2017. Although there are no Apple Watch Edition models available for Series 4, Apple has relaunched the white ceramic Apple Watch Edition line for the 5 series alongside new models in natural titanium and Space Black. . With Series 6, Apple again discontinued the ceramic Apple Watch Edition and briefly discontinued the line before the launch of the titanium Apple Watch Edition Series 7 models last year.
Given that the Apple Watch Edition has such a tumultuous history, it’s by no means certain that Apple will continue to offer the device. Its titanium case being the main differentiating feature of the Apple Watch Edition, it’s hard to see how the variant could be justified in the lineup with a noticeably different titanium model sitting just above it, not least because the Apple Watch Edition could divert sales from the new top model.
Earlier this month, display analyst Ross Young said the new high-end Apple Watch is expected to sell in relatively low volume – much like previous reports of weak sales for Apple Watch Edition models due to their high price. Apple expects to ship just one million units of the larger Apple Watch in the third quarter of this year, compared to four million 45mm Apple Watch Series 8 models.
Beyond pricing and market positioning, Gurman’s confirmation of a titanium case for this year’s new high-end Apple Watch model is the best indication yet that Apple may be considering effectively integrate the current Apple Watch Edition line into this new product category. This would allow it to continue to offer a titanium case, but more openly tout the weight and strength benefits of the material with an emphasis on durability at a higher price.
Leaving the more affordable titanium Apple Watch Edition in the lineup could also have the undesirable effect of cannibalizing sales of the new top model. Similarly, the new high-end Apple Watch could be much more attractive to some customers than the Apple Watch Edition, with significant differentiating aspects such as screen size, battery life and design. providing more justifiable reasons for an upsell.
With names like Apple Watch “Pro” being far from locked in at this point in the rumor cycle, it’s also worth noting that new high-end Apple Watch models may just form the Apple Watch Edition line in the future. At a minimum, it looks like the Apple Watch Edition lineup in its current form isn’t around for much longer.