Cheaper Apple Watch coming at September event

While the Apple Watch Pro has been getting most of the attention, a recent report from the New York Times says that there’s also a new Apple Watch model on the way that is “cheaper than the Apple Watch SE.” The report describes this as part of Apple’s effort to “compete more aggressively for young smart watch customers.”

The tidbits on Apple’s future Apple Watch plans come as part of a story into the growing popularity of parents giving their kids a wearable as a way to “use the devices as a stopgap cellphone for kids.” The idea is that smartwatches offer cellular connectivity for communication and tracking, but the “miniature screens mitigate issues like internet addiction.”

Tea New York Times cites “people involved” with Apple’s efforts and says that the company took around three years to implement its Family Setup feature for Apple Watch. Family Setup is a feature added with watchOS 7 and allows someone without an iPhone to use an Apple Watch with cellular connectivity. This includes for features like phone calls, messages, apps, location sharing, and more.

According to the report, the reason it took Apple three years to implement this feature due to battery life concerns. Using the Apple Watch independently of an iPhone has a major impact on battery life as the watch has to do everything on its own, rather than offloading certain tasks to the paired iPhone.

As part of its efforts to “compete more aggressively for young smart watch customers,” the report says Apple is set to release a “new version of the Apple Watch that is cheaper than the Apple Watch SE.” The announcement is expected to come at the Apple event on Wednesday according to two people familiar with Apple’s plans.

“The model will be introduced alongside other new versions of the watch, including a high-end wearable for serious athletes that will rival fitness trackers made by its competitor Garmin,” the report says.

More details on this cheaper Apple Watch are unclear right now. Currently, the Apple Watch SE sells for $279 in the 40mm size and for $309 in the 44mm size. Adding cellular, which is required to use Family Setup, raises those prices to $329 and $359 respectively.

9to5Mac’s Take

One of the key factors here is that Apple is also planning to discontinue the Apple Watch Series 3, which sells for $199. The Apple Watch Series 3 is not available with cellular connectivity and can’t be used with Family Setup.

This report from the New York Times indicates that Apple will release an Apple Watch that supports Family Sharing for less than $279. Whether or not that price point is $249, $229, or $199 remains to be seen.

Apple is also rumored to have a new Apple Watch SE on the way, but we haven’t heard much about what could be new. The most likely scenario is that this new Apple Watch model mentioned by the NY Times is a new Appel Watch SE that happens to be cheaper than the current generation.

With the trend of more parents giving their children an Apple Watch instead of a smartphone, this is a clear market opportunity for Apple. This is especially true if it’s also taking a bite out of iPhone sales.

The Apple Watch Series 3 has been hard to recommend for the last two years, especially when you consider there’s no support for Family Setup. An Apple Watch that’s cheaper than the existing Apple Watch SE and supports Family Setup will be a key addition to the Apple Watch lineup.

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