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Three new Apple Watch models tipped for 2022 — what you need to know

Apple Watch 7
(Image credit: Future)

2022 could be a big year for Apple on the wearables front, as the company is reportedly planning to unveil not one, but three Apple Watch models in the next 12 months. That's according to reliable Apple tipster Mark Gurman at Bloomberg. 

In his latest Power-On newsletter, Gurman shared that Apple could introduce an upgraded Apple Watch SE as well as a new "rugged" model. The latter is expected to target athletes as well as outdoor fitness enthusiasts. According to Gurman, both models are on track to be introduced alongside the Apple Watch Series 8, which would likely come in the fall if Apple sticks to its regular release schedule.

Gurman also reported that Apple could have a whole bunch of product announcements up its sleeve, including five new Mac devices, an updated iPad lineup and more. In fact, we could even see a cheaper entry-level MacBook Pro powered by the M2 Apple Silicon chip.

 New Apple Watch SE — what will it pack?

The first Apple Watch SE debuted back in 2020, but didn't get an upgrade this past fall. As a result, we'd say that it's more than reasonable for Apple to revamp its mid-tier smartwatch in 2022. While the current Apple Watch SE shares the design of the Apple Watch Series 6, it still lacks some of the more impressive features found in Apple's more expensive werables, including an always-on display, blood oxygen sensor and ECG capabilities.

And in line with the newly introduced Apple Watch Series 7, a refresh of the SE model is well overdue. Unfortunately, Gurman didn't mention the kind of advancements that Apple could add to the SE model, but if we had to take a guess, we'd expect improved fitness features and an upgraded design with thinner bezels, resembling the look of the Series 7.

What is the 'rugged' Apple Watch?

What's interesting is that Apple could add an entirely new model to the Apple Watch lineup. According to Gurman, it would be a new "ruggedized version aimed at extreme sports athletes." But this wouldn't be the first time we're hearing of this.

Back in March, we reported that a new rugged Apple Watch variant could be on its way, though at the time it was expected to arrive before the end of this year.

Gurman had previously stated that "Apple is considering launching an Apple Watch with a rugged casing aimed at athletes, hikers and others who use the device in more extreme environments, according to people familiar with the matter."

"Sometimes dubbed the "Explorer Edition" inside Apple, the product would have the same functionality as a standard Apple Watch but with extra impact-resistance and protection in the vein of Casio's G-Shock watches," he shared.

However, one major concern that we have would be the battery life of a rugged watch aimed at outdoor activities. Outdoor sport watches rely heavily on GPS, which drains the battery more quickly. And right now, industry-leading outdoor sport watches boast a battery life that none of the existing Apple Watch models can match, so Apple would have to improve that aspect of its watches.

According to our senior writer Kate Kozuch, who specializes in wearables, most versions of Apple's smartwatch last about 18 hours, but that estimate wanes when continuous GPS tracking is in use. 18 hours is how long some outdoor-focused wearables last in their active GPS modes alone. 

What about the Apple Watch Series 8?

Not much is known about the potential Apple Watch Series 8. The latest Apple Watch 7 is still a fresh enough release, meaning there hasn't been a lot of talk on the next generation of Apple wearables.

Judging by what's already out there, the Series 8 is unlikely to go through a major redesign on the exterior front, to the disappointment of those hoping to see a flat-edged look. That's according to an alleged render image of the Apple Watch 8 that we spotted a few weeks ago. 

However, design isn't the most important element of a smartwatch. The most important part concerns what's on the inside. In particular, we would love to see improved health tracking features, such as the long-rumored blood sugar measurement

If you want to keep up with the news, make sure to bookmark our Apple Watch Series 8 page, as we will be will updating it frequently with all the latest rumors and leaks.

Denise is a news writer at Tom’s Guide covering all things tech, gaming software/hardware, streaming, and more. She regularly produces short-form news articles as well as long-form content, including reviews, buying guides, how-tos, and features. When she's not live-streaming horror games on Twitch, she can be found exploring East London while playing Pokemon Go. She’s also a part-time piano enthusiast and regularly experiments in the kitchen. You can reach her at denise.primbet@futurenet.com.