Forget the Apple Watch 6 — a cheaper Apple Watch SE is coming

Apple Watch Series 3
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Apple is known for making premium devices, but it occasionally makes more affordable gadgets as a gateway into its ecosystem. We’ve seen this with the iPhone SE 2020, and now the same could be happening for the Apple Watch

From the rumors so far, we pretty much know Apple is working on the Apple Watch 6, likely to come with a host of new features such as blood oxygen monitoring, and a new optical sensor to replace the Digital Crown. But according to reasonably reliable tech leaker Komiya on Twitter, an Apple Watch SE is coming in early 2021. 

Currently, there are two versions of Apple Watch available, the Apple Watch Series 5 and the Apple Watch Series 3; the former is Cupertino’s premium smartwatch, while the older Apple Watch 3 has seen its price dropped to appeal to people who want an Apple Watch for a cheaper price at the expense of a few features. But Komiya has claimed the Apple Watch SE will replace the Apple Watch 3 as the budget smartwatch for the company.  

The leaker noted the Apple Watch SE will retain the old design of the Apple Watch, meaning it’ll have the Digital Crown. And it will only come in an aluminium version. 

However, it's on the inside where the Apple Watch SE is set to impress, as Komiya expects it to have the S6 processor and W4 wireless chip. Those chips are set to be upgraded over the S5 and W3 chips found in the Apple Watch Series 5. And the S6 and W4 are also expected to come in the Apple Watch 6. 

This means that while the Apple Watch SE won’t have the latest smartwatch design from Cupertino’s engineers, it will have impressive specs for a wearable. This is basically the same approach Apple took with the iPhone SE; that handset has a rather old design but has the same A13 Bionic chipset found in the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro.

The Apple Watch SE is tipped to cost the same as the Apple Watch Series 3, which starts at $199. So it could be the perfect partner to the iPhone SE come March 2021, when it’s expected to be revealed. And if Apple upgrades the iPhone SE at the same time, we could see a budget line of Apple devices expand into an ecosystem for people who don’t want to spend large wads of cash. 

Roland Moore-Colyer

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.