The Titanium Apple Watch ‘Pro’ could signal the end of the Apple Watch Edition
The larger Apple Watch Series 8 model expected later this year is rumored to have a titanium casing, raising questions about the future of the Apple Watch Edition.
Yesterday, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported that a new, larger Apple Watch model launching this year will have a case made with “a more durable formulation of titanium to make it extra rugged.”
Apple has offered a titanium version of the Apple Watch under the “Apple Watch Edition” brand since the launch of the Apple Watch Series 5 in 2019. Currently, the Apple Watch Edition comes with an additional sport band and offers a lighter, stronger casing than the stainless steel model, which is otherwise identical to the standard Apple Watch.
Now, several rumors point to the launch of an all-new high-end Apple Watch model later this year. The device is expected to feature a larger display, longer battery life, a rugged casing and a completely new design. Possible names for the device include “Apple Watch Pro” or “Apple Watch Explorer Edition,” and the device is aimed at extreme sports, athletes, hikers, and other users who need a more durable watch.
Starting at $749, the current Apple Watch Edition costs $150 more than the stainless steel Apple Watch. For this year’s new high-end Apple Watch, Gurman has floated a price point “starting closer to $900 to $999,” which is above the Apple Watch Edition.
Overall, it seems clear that the new high-end Apple Watch will be more of a departure from the standard Apple Watch models than the previous Apple Watch Edition models in terms of features, size, design and price. This raises the question of whether Apple will continue to offer the Apple Watch Edition after it launches a new high-end Apple Watch later this year.
The Apple Watch Edition has evolved a lot since its launch in 2015. When it first launched, the Apple Watch Edition line consisted exclusively of Apple Watches with 18-carat yellow or rose gold casings that cost $10,000 to $17,000. It was discontinued just one year after the launch of the Apple Watch Series 2, which replaced the expensive gold casings with more affordable white ceramic models starting at $1,249.
A gray ceramic variant was added to the Apple Watch Series 3 in 2017. While no Apple Watch Edition models were available for the Series 4, Apple revived the white ceramic Apple Watch Edition line for the Series 5 alongside new Natural and Space Black Titanium models. . With the Series 6, Apple discontinued the ceramic Apple Watch Edition again and briefly discontinued the line once again before the launch of the titanium Apple Watch Edition Series 7 models last year.
With the Apple Watch Edition having such a tumultuous history, there’s no guarantee that Apple will continue to offer the device. With the titanium casing being the main differentiating feature of the Apple Watch Edition, it’s hard to see how a variant with a significantly different titanium model placed right above it can be justified in a lineup, as the Apple Watch Edition could undercut sales. A new high-end model.
Earlier this month, display analyst Ross Young said the new high-end Apple Watch is expected to sell in relatively low volume – similar to reports of lower sales of Apple Watch Edition models due to higher prices. Apple expects to ship just one million units in the third quarter of this year, compared to four million of the ‘Apple Watch Series 8’ model in the third quarter of this year.
Beyond price and market positioning, Gurman’s confirmation of a titanium casing for this year’s new high-end Apple Watch model is the best indication yet that Apple plans to effectively fold the current Apple Watch Edition line into this new product line. This would allow it to continue offering a titanium casing, but at a higher price point could more clearly convey the material’s weight and strength advantages while focusing on durability.
Leaving the more affordable titanium Apple Watch Edition in the lineup could have the unintended effect of overpowering sales of the new high-end model. Similarly, the new high-end Apple Watch may be more attractive to some consumers than the Apple Watch Edition, which has more justifiable reasons to sell due to meaningfully different aspects such as display size, battery life and design.
Since names like Apple Watch “Pro” are far from locked-in at this point in the rumor cycle, it’s also worth noting that new high-end Apple Watch models could go on to create an Apple Watch Edition line. At the very least, it looks like the Apple Watch Edition line may not last long in its current form.