Apple 'discusses' G-Shock Watch -- report

From Mark Gurman's "Apple Considers Launching Rugged Watch for Extreme Sports" posted Friday on Bloomberg News:

Apple Inc. is considering launching an Apple Watch with a rugged casing aimed at athletes, hikers and others who use the device in more extreme environments, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Cupertino, California-based technology giant has internally discussed introducing such a Watch variation later in 2021 or 2022 at the earliest, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private matters...

Sometimes dubbed the “Explorer Edition” inside Apple, the product would have the same functionality as a standard Apple Watch but with extra impact-resistance and protection in the vein of Casio’s G-Shock watches...

Development of the new Apple Watch variation could ultimately be canceled or delayed, the people familiar the matter said. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.

My take: Pretty flimsy support for such a rugged device, but the story got a lot of pick-up and I bet the watch would sell.

10 Comments

  1. Jerry Doyle said:
    I suppose there is merit in this report, but the Watch still is not geared for true adventure sports. I could not take my Apple Watch on a summit attempt of Mt. Rainier in 2017 because our group spent the first night at base Camp Muir before arising at midnight for the summit. All total, it is a full two day adventure and the Watch’s battery is not geared for that range. The same with a 42 mile 10 day backpacking adventure across the Arrigetch mountains in the central Brooks Range of northern most Alaska in late August 2019. I would have loved to had my Apple Watch on these adventures. The information gleaned would have been most valuable. I see a niche market only for this special adventure Watch with its battery limitations calling for recharging as the problem. I suspect most folk in that niche group will desire the Watch’s rugged casing for its cool esthetics, but that’s it goal: cosmetics over functionality. And forget battery packs because all such adventures target “weight reduction” as their maximum goal. I don’t even take my iPhone, just a PLB & Sat phone on occasions.

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    March 27, 2021
  2. Gregg Thurman said:
    With a rumored launch as early as 2021, this has been cleared for production, if it hasn’t already begun. Following that statement with “or 2022” tells me the “leaker” is full of crap.

    How much more rugged does an aluminum Apple Watch with sport band have to be to qualify as “ruggedized”?

    I’m very disappointed with Gurman’s reporting since he became a “professional”.

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    March 27, 2021
  3. Fred Stein said:
    @Gregg, yes the current watches are rugged enough, perhaps even for white water rafting.

    Battery life can be addressed with third party devices. Eg., Mophie has an 8,000 mAmp product.

    Last qtly report, Tim told Katy they only go for large markets.

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    March 27, 2021
    • Gregg Thurman said:
      Tim told Katy they only go for large markets.

      That’s exactly the same strategy the Japanese employed since the ‘60s.

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      March 27, 2021
  4. Fred Stein said:
    Slightly OT.

    The Nikkei article on Apple and TSMC on ultra advanced displays may indicate a bigger factor future Apple Watch releases. Mass production is several years out, which augurs well for sustained upgrade sales. Higher contrast in bright light, would help outdoorsy folk. As a swimmer, I’d love it.

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    March 27, 2021
  5. Fred Stein said:
    Looking even further, advances in memory technology could reduce power consumption across all Apple devices. TSMC/Apple are the dynamic duo.

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    March 27, 2021
  6. John Konopka said:
    Seems like a good case with rubber bumpers would do it.

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    March 27, 2021
  7. Michael Goldfeder said:
    @Jerry: You do bring up salient points about the battery life and weight of a charger adding to the backpack on these outdoor ventures. But my thought is wouldn’t it be great to be able to add a few stories about an Apple Watch saving someone’s life after being smashed against a tree or boulder as they were running for their life away from a grizzly bear? Okay, maybe it was just a angry bee hive.

    Or apparently destroying the watch after falling through an ice crevice only to discover that they merely broke the glass face and were still able to make a 911 notification and summon a rescue helicopter to pull them up?

    It would certainly augment the iPhone stories of being underwater months later in a Canadian Lake and still intact once they were turned back on.

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    March 27, 2021
  8. Steven Philips said:
    We pulled his frozen body from the summit of Mt. Rainier two years later – and his Apple Watch still worked! 🙂

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    March 27, 2021
  9. Bart Yee said:
    For a ruggedness Watch for exploring or adventuring, I would be looking for low power Watch microLED displays, newer 5nm Watch very low power SoC chips and memory. IMO, no need for any 5G capability so could concentrate on low power 4G LTE modem integration plus improved GPS and Compass sensors. An integrated maps function and display could be very useful.

    Regarding carrying an external Battery pack, yes, to compensate for the limited battery life but also operationalize the Watch’s superior function. The extra ounces of weight would yield biometric and mapping data useful to user or partners. Maybe Apple would come out with a lightweight battery pack with option to solar recharge. Would be a big hit for those carrying their iPhones. Of course, cellular signal is limited by terrain & cell sites so Satellite phones have the edge there, at least until Apple’s iCell ™ or SpaceNet ™ satellite based iPhone specific cell network becomes operational. Tether that to an ultralight M1 MacBook and you’ve got your base station that will be in high demand.

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    March 27, 2021

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