Apple now sells more watches than the entire Swiss watch industry. But not satisfied with its extraordinary dominance, the brand is now reportedly looking to expand its watch portfolio. The company has explored many materials, including aluminum, titanium, stainless steel, ceramics, and even 18K gold. Throughout these designs their case profile has remained largely unchanged, the greatest evolution being larger screen/case sizes. Given their extraordinary success in the category, there has been little incentive to rework the externals – instead Apple has focused on the internals of the watch and furthering the performance of its software and health monitoring. But now, an interesting story is circulating on platforms that cover Apple Products. According to Bloomberg, 9 to 5 Mac, and many others, Apple supposedly has an internal project dubbed the “Explorer Edition” with a team of developers and engineers working to build the most robust Apple Watch model yet: the Apple Watch Explorer Edition.
As I said earlier, the externals of the watch have not really received an upgrade since the Series 2 that allowed the Apple Watch to be water resistant up to 50 metres and eject water from the speaker opening by the user playing a sound that would eject droplets. Sure the latest Apple Watches have screens that can remain always on, but this is merely a cosmetic feature. It does not address the robustness of the watch. While quality materials are used to fabricate the Apple Watch, user experiences have made clear that the existing product is not as resistant to shock and water as products like G-Shock watches. With Apple largely focusing on health and encouraging active lifestyles, an Apple Watch Explorer Edition would truly be the logical evolution of their product.
So what is rumored to be released? Specifics are unclear, but many are inferring that the Apple Watch Explorer Edition will leverage a rubberized case design that will emulate the shock protection found on G-Shock watches. G-Shock watches are known for being battle tough, a common choice among military operators due to their functionality, robustness and reliability. Apple Watches have served active users well over the last six years, but head to head they cannot be considered as tough as what G-Shock fabricates. G-Shock has entered the smartwatch fold themselves, but their design is ultimately built upon minimising the smartwatch experience within their existing framework. Where Apple stands to really compete with existing rugged smartwatches is by finally pairing their unparalleled UI and functionality in a case equally robust to what G-Shock offers. If this Apple Watch Explorer Edition really does come to fruition, it will be a dangerous competitor for G-Shock and likely further bolster Apple’s dominance in the smartwatch category.