Say goodbye to the fragile Apple Watch, Apple may launch an outdoor version of the watch

"Qiang".

This is the sound of Apple Watch hitting the wall when I shake my hand. If I listen a little more carefully, it is mixed with the sound of "Zila" when the glass is scratched on the wall. I raised my hand and saw that it didn’t happen. There was already a deep sound on the surface. Scratches.

This Apple Watch has been worn on my hand for less than a month, and I managed to scratch its Ion-X glass mirror when I hit the wall with my hand for the third time. It's not that I'm not careful enough, it's just that accidents are inevitable in life, and small bumps are inevitable, like life.

At this time, how I hope Apple can launch a "three-proof" watch. Coincidentally, there was news last week that Apple is considering launching a more rugged and durable outdoor version of Apple Watch, or named it "Explorer Edition. (Explorer Edition), and this version may come out later this year, the sword refers to outdoor watch brands such as Jiaming and Songtuo.

Exercise and health have always been the core of Apple Watch

Apple is actually nothing new to make outdoor smartwatches. The question is not whether it will do it, but when it will do it.

Before the first Apple Watch was launched, some people added a strap to the iPod Nano 6 and became a modified version of Apple Watch. It has Mickey's dial, sports, and functions to browse albums, and of course, it can also listen to music. Although it is still an MP3 in essence, it is this MP3 that is tied to the strap, which sets the prototype for the subsequent Apple Watch, and the side also reveals the needs of consumers for wearable devices.

▲Image source: macrumors

Jony Ive, who was the chief design officer of Apple's CDO at the time, called himself a watch collector. When designing the original Apple Watch, he even aimed at Swiss luxury watches. Therefore, the first-generation Apple Watch launched in 2015 not only has a "civilian model", but also an 18K gold Edition model with a starting price of $10,000.

However, unlike the much-anticipated Apple Watch, the Healthkit and ResearchKit toolkits released at the same time are rather low-key but far-reaching.

The function of the former is to use the sensors on mobile phones and watches to collect user health indicators, put them into a database, and visually present them with more intuitive health information after processing; the latter provide health data to doctors and medical institutions , The small one helps doctors better track the patient’s condition, and the large one promotes medical research. The medical data that Apple Watch can collect is beyond people’s imagination.

"Researchers at Stanford University stated that more than 11,000 people have registered to participate in ResearchKit’s cardiovascular research last Tuesday, and this is only less than 24 hours before its release. Usually, 50 medical studies with a scale of 10,000 people are required. The year-long effort of the medical center…this is the power of mobile phones."

Apple Watch, which is more personal than iPhone, is inherently more suitable for monitoring the health of users. Apple, aware of this, has made health monitoring the core of Apple Watch. After experiencing the frustration of the first generation of luxury smart watches, Apple is more inclined to exercise monitoring and health monitoring in the development of subsequent product functions.

Today, Apple Watch has launched the 6th generation of products. The appearance and shape of the past generations have not changed much, but there are great things inside. By the sixth generation, this watch has the functions of heart rate, ECG, and blood oxygen monitoring, coupled with the continuous iteration of the exercise algorithm, and is becoming more and more perfect. Now there are hundreds of exercise modes, and it is time to enter the more professional sports field.

The outdoor version of Apple Watch has traces to follow

Its own product technology is mature, and the external environment has also prompted Apple Watch to launch more subdivided products.

According to CounterPoint’s global smartwatch shipment tracking report released in March this year, Apple’s shipments accounted for 34% in the fourth quarter of 2019, and rose to 40% a year later, thanks to Apple Watch Series 6 and SE Dual-machine strategy.

It is not surprising that Apple, which has tasted the sweetness, will pay more attention to market segmentation to cover a wider range of users. Another report shows that consumers' acceptance of high-priced smart watches has increased.

As can be seen from the figure, the proportion of watch product shipments of more than US$300 has risen from 36% in 2019 to 44% in 2020. The high-end market segment has made great progress. Under this opportunity, timely The launch of professional sports watches with higher positioning and higher prices may be just a matter of course.

The Nike co-branded Apple Watch launched by Apple also pave the way for it to set foot in the professional sports field. The former needs training data from many athletes under Nike to help adjust algorithms and sensors.

In addition, last year’s Apple Fitness+ subscription service and the earlier GymKit development kit all hinted at Apple’s determination to enter the professional sports market. If a more rugged sports watch is launched later, it can be considered a leap from the public to the professional field. This product line has also become more complete, corresponding to the distinction between the standard version and the Pro version in other product lines.

Imagination/Fantasy

So far, there is not much news about the outdoor version of Apple Watch. I only know that this will be a professional product for extreme athletes, but we might as well guess what the shape of this product will look like.

If the watch is exposed to danger during outdoor sports, the first thing to bear is the watch case. The Apple Watch currently on sale is available in aluminum, stainless steel and titanium case versions. Although they are all made of steel, the protection level is endless. Same: Aluminum alloy is easy to oxidize and has poor hardness. Stainless steel has better strength and hardness, but it is easy to scratch. Compared with stainless steel, titanium is not superior in durability, but it is light enough.

It is still too early to decide to install a stainless steel case based on the strength of the material, because outdoor watches have another major pain point, battery life.

Apple Watch's current battery life performance of one charge per day has not been able to reach the battery life threshold of outdoor sports watches. During outdoor adventures, it is obviously unrealistic to charge electronic products regularly. What Apple can do at present is to either plug in a larger battery and increase the physical capacity to increase the battery life; or use some black technology to realize the charging while using it. Functions, such as the Power Glass surface of Garmin Enduro series, can use solar energy to charge the watch.

▲ Garmin Enduro

Regardless of the solution, the weight of the watch will increase. To reduce its weight, the titanium case is the key.

I don't know how many users are like me, and the surface of the watch they wear is already scarred. The surface strength of Apple Watch has always been criticized. At present, the surface materials used are Ion-X glass and sapphire glass. The former is strengthened glass, which is slightly stronger than ordinary glass, and accidentally interacts with objects with hard edges such as sand, gravel and cement floors. After hitting hard," it leaves a scar that will never be erased, and then the whole piece collapses.

Especially its curved edge, without the slightest protection, is very easy to break under the impact of external force. The hardness of sapphire crystal glass is extremely high, so it is very resistant to scratches, and the chance of scratches on the surface is reduced, but the strength is still worrying. Some netizens accidentally dropped Apple Watch to the ground during outdoor sports . It fell from a height, and when picked up, it was found that the edge of the sapphire had been chipped.

How to improve the durability from the design, and change the shape on the basis of cash, also makes the outdoor version of Apple Watch quite interesting.

According to this speculation, the outdoor version of Apple Watch may be presented in front of extreme sports enthusiasts with a combination of titanium metal body + reinforced sapphire glass mirror material. If it can be displayed with the bezel higher than the surface, it will give people more security. sense.

It is worth mentioning that there are many outdoor watch products that are made of plastic materials. Even many third-party accessories have introduced protective shells made of silicone or plastic materials for Apple Watch. Although it is highly protective, it is hard to imagine that it will use this material to create the main body of Apple Watch with Apple's pursuit of design aesthetics.

In terms of function, the outdoor version of Apple Watch will retain the existing health monitoring function, and on this basis, the outdoor version of the exclusive dial will be launched, direct access to information commonly used in outdoor sports, such as altitude changes, blood oxygen, air pressure trends, GPS coordinates, etc. Data allows athletes to keep abreast of information about themselves and the surrounding environment, which is also in line with the functional pain points that Apple Watch often emphasizes in promotional videos: it can be used offline in leisure, and it is helpful to help yourself in emergency .

In addition, more hard-core sports monitoring modes such as kayaking, bouldering, rock climbing, mountain biking, paddle board surfing, tactical cross-country, etc. are added, plus the "SOS emergency contact" function that Apple Watch already has (I hope you will always No need to use), which can provide more sports/health protection for extreme sports enthusiasts.

If the above speculations come true, the price of the "Explorer Edition" Apple Watch should be set between the Titanium Edition and the stainless steel Hermès version, that is, between 6299-11999.

The flagship competitive products are also in this price range. Apple's choice of positive hard steel is probably due to the "ecological anti" between iOS and watchOS.

If one day Apple launches a "more durable and sportier" Apple Watch, would you vote for it with real money?

I looked at my Apple Watch with a "scarred face" with mixed feelings in my heart.

Source of the title picture: hiconsumption

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