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Apple Watch Pro renders just revealed a third button — here’s why that’s smart

renders of the Apple Watch Pro
(Image credit: Ian Zelbo in collaboration Parker Ortolani)

New renders of the so-called Apple Watch Pro have popped up online just ahead of the September 7 Apple event and they show off a whole new button for Cupertino's smartwatch. 

These renders were made by concept designer Ian Zelbo in collaboration with product developer Parker Ortolani (opens in new tab) to mock up some slick images based on much more basic, reportedly leaked CAD renders of the Apple Watch Pro posted by 91Mobiles (opens in new tab). The Apple Watch Pro is supposedly being positioned as a rugged and tougher version of the Apple Watch. And the most intriguing feature here is an extra button. 

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Why is this noteworthy? Well every generation of Apple Watch thus far has made use of two buttons only, one being a side button and the other being the Digital Crown; basically the main control of the Apple Watch beyond tapping on the touchscreen. So a new button is surprising, but it would also make a lot of sense.

Given the Apple Watch Pro will likely be for outdoor use and will then be expected to have to weather the elements, it’s likely users may be in situations where they have wet hands or are wearing gloves. In that case, touchscreens can be rendered rather ineffective. So having an extra button to execute commands and work in tandem with the Digital Crown would appear to be a sensible move by Apple.

And while these new renders may be more conceptual than hugely accurate, earlier photos of what’s being claimed are Apple Watch Pro cases, also hint at more buttons. So while the Apple Watch 8 is set to be a minor evolution of the Apple Watch 7, the Apple Watch Pro could promise one of the biggest redesigns of Apple's smartwatch in years.

Furthermore, the renders also hint at a larger display for the Apple Watch Pro, measuring in at 2 inches. Again, this would make a lot of sense to aid with viewing inflation in difficult conditions, such as lashing rain.

As for other Apple Watch Pro features, we’re expecting a tough titanium construction by default, as well as enhanced hiking and swim tracking capabilities. And new watch faces designed around outdoor activities have also been tipped.

We’ll soon know if these rumors come to fruition at the Apple event on September 7, where we also expect to see the likes of the iPhone 14 range and the AirPods Pro 2. For all the latest news and tips, check out our Apple event rumors live blog.

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.