Apple Watch 8 – It WILL Target Garmin Fenix Sales – Here’s Why

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Apple Watch 8

Apple Watch 8 and Watch SE Gen 2

We’ve already seen that the new watchOS 9 software contains several major sports-related updates including triathlon mode, running dynamics and running power. That should be publicly available in mid-July.

The new physical watch, the Apple Watch Series 8, will also have changes genuinely worth writing about. We will see significant updates to the current range as Apple targets sales to mid-to-lower-end runners, triathletes and outdoor adventurers.

New Options

We will get a new size

  • Apple Watch 8 41mm (352x430px)
  • Apple Watch 8 45mm (396x484px)
  • Apple Watch 8 50mm (410x502px, Pro)
  • Apple Watch SE Gen 2 – 41mm
  • Apple Watch SE Gen 2 – 45mm
  • Apple Watch Series 3 – Discontinued
  • Apple Watch SE – Still supported & sold

 

The Outdoors Version (Pro)

The 50mm model will be specifically targeted toward the outdoor adventure market or, if rumours are true, toward ‘extreme sports’ (hmmm).

It will have three key selling points a) a larger screen that can better display maps and navigational instructions, b) a physically larger battery and longer battery life, and c) increased durability (probably as simple as a stainless steel case and sapphire lens as found on other existing models)

It might also require a new, larger band size

Water Resistance & Durability

In 2021, Series 7 introduced dust proofing with IP6X certification to complement the existing ISO 22810:2010 (WR50, 50mm waterproofing).

However, that will not be good enough for an outdoors version which will need MIL-STD-810 but I can’t see that happening with an Apple Watch. Thus there are likely to be Apple-branded protective cases for the 50mm version.

12 Twelve South Action Sleeve
Sleeves: Apple Watch 7 vs Whoop 4. Watch 8 50mm might have something a little fancier than this!

A Temperature Sensor of Sorts

There will finally be a new temperature sensor. However, it will only detect trends and hence will be useless if you want to take an instantaneous reading. It will be useful for illness prediction and probably also be used in Apple’s new Sleep Staging algorithms.

A New GNSS Chip and oHR Sensor?

No.

One of these wholly new sensors might come in 2023 but not now. At least not to Series 8

BeiDou support was added to GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and QZSS in Series 7 but not to the SE. Thus, Watch SE Gen 2 will now get BeiDou ie the newest GNSS chipset currently used by Series 7.

It’s quite possible that the Series 7 already uses an equivalent to Garmin’s SatIQ with the intelligent enablement of a multi-band reception. That feature could be the sort of thing that Apple never formally discloses and could be made from any of the chip suppliers.

EKG/ECG and SpO2 (blood oxygen) were added to Series 6 with the latest optical HR sensor and SE Gen 2 will now also get the same sensor.

Battery Life Improvements

I can’t see anything changing materially with battery life in the 41mm and 45mm models. In any case, Apple has made the same claims for years even though the battery life has improved in real-life usage.

That said, the 50mm version will have a physically larger battery and that will last longer despite the hit of a larger, battery-guzzling display. Every other internal component will remain the same size as at present thus all the new space of the larger model can be filled with a larger battery. This will make a significant change in the battery capacity of the 50mm model…say 50% more, something of that nature.

Note: Remember the extra internal volume created by a 7% increase in display size is significant and it can ALL go to a bigger battery. It will NOT mean 7% more battery life.

UWB Throughout?

Series 8 will obviously still have UWB but now so will the SE Gen 2 model which basically means that it will work better with Apple AirTags

Lactate, Hydration & Blood Pressure sensing

This is fantasy land. There is zero chance that Apple will introduce these technologies this year.

A New Processor? Yes but Only In Name

The new processor will be called the 64-bit Dual-Core S8 SiP but it will be virtually identical to last year’s model which was virtually identical to the one from the previous year.

A New Look?

There is a chance that the appearance will change to match the iPhone 13 with less-rounded edges.

That won’t happen for several reasons including the fact that last year’s model specifically had a newly strengthened & re-engineered screen and special watch faces to utilise the screen’s wraparound edges. If a new Watch matches the aesthetics of the iPhone 13’s edges another new screen display design would be required.

Such a change might aid the durability of the 50mm model and could be introduced on just one size variant. However, I would say it is certain that all 3 sizes will look the same with the larger screen proportionately bigger.

 

Opinion

The hardware changes might not appear earth-shattering. However, Watch Series 8 represents a significant shift in Apple’s sales & marketing plans.

Finally, Apple is taking running and triathlon seriously with changes to the watch software also available to existing Watches. But the new, larger 50mm watch means that Apple is coming after Garmin Fenix sales for outdoor adventurers. No one is saying that the two watches are as competent as each other for ‘pro level’ outdoor sports but some of the people that might have bought a Fenix 7 or Epix 2 for a weekend adventure WILL now stick with Apple. How much will that affect Garmin’s overall sales remains to be seen.

Indeed even if Apple does not make this move, Garmin’s market will shift to favour Epix over Fenix as the following article explains.

 

Fenix 7- this is the end

 

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3 thoughts on “Apple Watch 8 – It WILL Target Garmin Fenix Sales – Here’s Why

  1. I think this is just about right. But the epix 2 is more directly analogous to the rumored 50mm rugged model Apple Watch.

    I think Garmin has it’s work cut out for it. The predefined activity profiles and open data and accessories ecosystem is probably their strongest point over Apple.

  2. It will be possible on one condition: SPORT will be based on RTOS and SMART based on watchOS. Apple needs to discover what DualOS is.😎

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