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Apple Watch Pro: An increasingly niche product

Over the last several days, we’ve seen a barrage of new details leaked on Apple’s rumored Apple Watch Pro. The Apple Watch Pro will be officially unveiled during Apple’s “Far out” event on Wednesday, alongside the iPhone 14 lineup.

These new leaks, including our first look at the new design, show that Apple is sparing no expense on the Apple Watch Pro. With some exceptions, however, it’s becoming clear that the Apple Watch Pro isn’t for most people.

What the last-minute Apple Watch Pro leaks tell us

Earlier today, CAD images of the Apple Watch Pro leaked to give us our best look yet at the new design. These renders appear to have emerged from Apple’s supply chain, and they were also corroborated by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman.

There are several important things that we can glean from these images ahead of seeing the official design on Wednesday.

First and foremost, the Apple Watch Pro is going to be big. Like, really big. We knew it would feature a larger 47mm casing and 1.99-inch screen, but these renders put those numbers into perspective. They also show another way the Apple Watch Pro will be even bigger.

On the right-hand side, the Apple Watch Pro appears to feature a bulge that houses a new Digital Crown as well as a side button similar to the existing Apple Watch model. We’ll likely learn more about the reasoning for this design change on Wednesday, but the way the button and crown are now raised out of the edge has a significant impact on the size and appearance of the watch.

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For context, most of the people in the so-called “watch industry” say that the existing Apple Watch Series 7 models are already pushing it in terms of size. This is particularly true of the 45mm model, which features a 1.77-inch screen.

Apple, of course, can justify the larger form factor of its watches by arguing that they are smartwatches packed with different health sensors, batteries, cellular technology, and much more. Many Apple Watch buyers are willing to accept that trade-off and wear an Apple Watch despite the large form factor.

Who should buy the Apple Watch Pro?

My argument here is not that the Apple Watch Pro shouldn’t exist. There’s absolutely a market for these larger, sports-focused watches and it’s one that Apple should tap into.

This new Apple Watch Pro takes things to the next level in terms of size and it likely crosses a line for most people. The larger casing, larger screen, and larger buttons make it clear that Apple is targeting a segment of people focused on extreme sports, rugged watches, and those who need extra long battery life.

It’s also beginning to look as if the Apple Watch Pro might prioritize function over form, a rare move by Apple especially for a mobile product. The larger screen and titanium finish of the Apple Watch Pro is likely to impress, but the rest of the design and the size are clear indicators of a focus on function rather than thin, light, and beautiful design.

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As usual, this will really boil down to Apple’s marketing. Will the company make it clear who should buy the Apple Watch Pro? Will it attempt to target a market of people who want the “best of the best” version of the Apple Watch, even if the actual differences between the Apple Watch Pro and Apple Watch Series 8 are negligible for most people?

With the iPhone, there are clear benefits that everyday users can take advantage of when they opt for a “Pro” version. The camera hardware is significantly better, the displays are top-of-the-line, there’s a “premium” design that doesn’t cross any sort of practicality line. What kind of story can Apple paint for the Apple Watch Pro?

The Apple Watch Pro will be a clear winner for those who regularly find themselves needing significantly longer battery life and value the larger and ruggedized design and are into extreme sports. This is a small market that’s likely smaller by the $1000+ price point we expect for the Apple Watch Pro.

These are the questions and concerns that I have going into Wednesday’s event. I fear the “Apple Watch Pro” rumors may have painted an incorrect idea of ​​what to expect from the device, but we’ll learn more on Wednesday. What do you think? Let us know down in the comments.

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