[Update: We're just hours away from the Apple event, where we could see the iPhone 14 range, Apple Watch 8, Apple Watch 8 Pro, Apple Watch SE 2, and potentially the AirPods Pro 2 all revealed. You can catch all the action on our Apple event live blog today.]
The usual round of annual Apple Watch updates — we're up to the Apple Watch 8 this time — could include more models. Besides the Apple Watch SE 2 debuting as a new entry-level smartwatch from Apple, we've also been tipped to expect the Apple Watch 8 Pro. This would reportedly be a more premium watch aimed at athletes or anyone who needs a rugged device for an intense workout.
It's the Apple Watch 8 Pro's turn in the rumor mill, with the ever reliable Mark Gurman of Bloomberg reporting that we could see Apple introducing satellite connectivity on the Apple Watch Pro. That's a much talked about feature that surfaced last year ahead of the iPhone 13 launch, and some have tipped the feature to be part of the iPhone 14 — or at least the higher-end iPhone 14 Pro models — this year.
Gurman believes Apple’s stride toward satellite communication could find its way into the company's smartwatches. In this week's Power On newsletter, Gurman says, “the company has also internally discussed the idea of giving its watches satellite features, which could make sense for a future version of the new more rugged Apple Watch Pro.” That said, it's unclear if the feature would be ready this year or if it's something Apple introduces down the road.
Apple’s embrace of satellite connectivity would be a game changer for communicating emergencies when there's no cellular connection available. Gurman describes the feature as a “step up from the current iPhone and Apple Watch feature for quickly calling emergency services and providing them with your location," posing a potential challenge to stand-alone devices like the Garmin inReach.
The feature is reportedly called “Emergency Message via Satellite” internally. Satellite connectivity for the iPhone 14 recently resurfaced as a possibility in the wake of T-Mobile and SpaceX agreeing last week to team-up on satellite communications.
Satellite connectivity is only part of the rumored feature set for the Apple Watch 8 Pro. Japanese website Mac Otakara also claims that the Apple Watch Pro could feature a larger 47mm case size. For comparison, the current Apple Watch 7 model is available in 41mm and 45mm case sizes.
A larger case size would mean a larger display as well. The increase in display size is something that was initially suggested by Gurman where he said the Apple Watch Pro display could measure 1.99 inches diagonally and another display analyst Ross Young had also backed the 2-inch display rumor. A heftier and more rugged casing for the Apple Watch 8 Pro came up in previous rumors, but the larger casing size itself is new information that seems to tie in with everything we have heard about the watch before.
Mac Otakara also mentions the Pro could have a completely flat display, a design decision aimed at making the watch more rugged. Current Apple Watches feature curved edges. A bigger watch could also translate to longer battery life for the Pro that could enable outdoor activities
The Apple Watch Pro is supposed to be an all-out extreme fitness watch that could rival devices from Garmin. Other rumors surrounding the watch include a more shatter-resistant display and use of premium materials in its build like titanium. A rumored Apple Watch 8 body temperature feature could also be seen in the Pro version. Meanwhile, Gurman pegs the Apple Watch Pro to have enhanced hiking and swim tracking capabilities.
All these features could come at a premium. The Apple Watch 8 Pro price has been tipped to be as high as $999.