New Apple Watch 8 could have biggest display and best battery life yet

Apple Watch Series 7 with AirPods
(Image credit: Future)

Update: Apple Watch 8 tipped to launch September 7 with two new models.

Rumors of a rugged Apple Watch Series 8 now say Apple will launch an extreme sports smartwatch with the company's largest wearable display yet.

According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, the rugged Apple Watch's display will measure "almost 2 inches diagonally," while a bigger battery cell and durable casing should further differentiate this timepiece from Apple's annual smartwatch upgrade.

Still, the larger screen seems like the most compelling sell. Display analyst Ross Young said earlier this week that the new Apple Watch would span 1.99 inches, though Young didn't peg the measurement for the rugged Apple Watch specifically.

Gurman first reported a rugged model ahead of the Apple Watch Series 7 announcement, and when it didn't materialize (though we did get new Apple Watch 7 sizes,) attention turned to a multi-smartwatch launch for Apple in 2022. 

Now, the Apple tipster says the rugged Apple Watch will feature "a strong metal material rather than aluminum," and "have a more shatter-resistant screen." This would make the Apple Watch a better outdoor sports wearable than before. 

In fact, a tougher build combined with a bigger screen could make for the Apple Watch many outdoor sports enthusiasts have been waiting for. Though the Apple Watch is the best smartwatch for most people, some athletes may appreciate larger screens for reviewing fitness-tracking data at a glance. A bigger display would make following a GPS or scanning an area map easier, too.

Meanwhile, a longer battery life would solve one of the Apple Watch's longtime setbacks — normally, when you track long workouts to close your Apple Watch rings, it cuts into your watch's stamina. With a bigger battery capacity that lasts longer, the Apple Watch could possibly track long hikes or even multi-day adventures, like some of the best Garmin watches

Typically, whether to shop Apple Watch vs. Garmin is a clear choice for outdoor sports-goers, but that might change soon.

The bad news? The rugged Apple Watch might cost more than current Apple Watch users would expect. Gurman speculates the price will be higher than the $699 stainless steel version of the Apple Watch. This means Apple's extreme sports watch could be more expensive than the Garmin fenix 7, the best sports watch overall.

Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE 2 rumors

In the report, Gurman seemed optimistic about the debut the Apple Watch SE 2, refreshing the original Apple Watch SE, which is the best Apple Watch in terms of value. Gurman said the new Apple Watch SE 2 "will retain the current screen size" but it's unclear if the reporter is referring to the current Apple Watch SE or Apple Watch Series 7 size.

We haven't heard much about the upgrades between the Apple Watch Series 8 vs. Apple Watch Series 7, other than new battery management tools and the possibility of an Apple Watch 8 body temperature sensor

Gurman has gone back and forth on whether the latter of those features will arrive for this year's flagship, but the latest scoop says it's happening for both the flagship Series 8 and rugged sports device.

The Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE 2 and rugged Apple Watch should all ship with watchOS 9, a software refresh that includes new watch faces, expanded sleep tracking data and plenty of improvements for runners. 

There are a few hints watchOS 9 gives us about Apple Watch 8, and one of those will likely be the Apple Watch Series 3 being discontinued under the watchOS 9 supported devices outline.

In other words, it seems the Apple Watch lineup is getting its biggest shake-up in years.

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.