The Apple Watch is arguably the most popular smartwatch in the world, and it’s not hard to see why when compared to most of the competition – the software is smooth and bug-free, and the hardware on offer beats most other options available right now. But, unsurprisingly, the Apple Watch Series 5 is expensive, starting at £399/$399, and there’s an appetite for a cheaper Apple Watch. The Series 3 currently fills that gap, but at nearly three years old, it won’t be long before the budget watch is unsupported.
That’s where the rumoured Apple Watch SE comes in; the Apple Watch SE is said to sport the updated design of the Series 4 without key new features like ECG and the always-on display in an aim to provide consumers with a watch that looks great and doesn’t break the bank. Here’s all we know so far about the Apple Watch SE, including release date details, pricing and the latest rumours.
Apple Watch SE release date rumours
The big question is, when will the Apple Watch SE be released? Our initial source of release date information came from leaker Komiya via Twitter. As well as detailing the general specs of the upcoming smartwatch, which we go into detail about below, the leaker claimed that the Apple Watch SE is on track for release in March 2021.
Generally speaking, March is a month favoured by Apple when it comes to product launches; the original Apple Watch was showcased in March 2015, and there have been plenty of other March launches too – bar March 2017 – including most recently, the iPad Pro 2020 range.
However, Apple leaker Jon Prosser suggests we could see them much sooner. In fact, in a recent string of tweets, Prosser claims that it’ll be revealed at the Time Flies event on 15 September, although it may not feature the SE branding as previously suggested. This is also backed up by Mark Gurman, suggesting that a September reveal could really be on the cards.
If you don’t want to wait, why not take a look at our selection of the best smartwatches?
How much will the Apple Watch SE cost?
With the same SE branding as the low-cost iPhone SE, it should come as no surprise that the rumoured smartwatch is going to be more affordable than the upcoming flagship Apple Watch Series 6. Jon Prosser seems to think so too, tweeting that he believes a “more affordable Apple Watch [is] on the way.”
Apple already does something similar with the Apple Watch Series 3, keeping it on-sale at a discounted £199/$199 compared to the £399/$399 starting price of the Apple Watch Series 5, but the Series 3 is three years old, and Apple knows it’s getting long in the tooth. The Series 3 is the oldest watch supported by the upcoming watchOS 7, and it’s likely that it’ll be unsupported within the next year or two, so Apple needs to replace it.
With that logic in mind, it’s safe to assume that the Apple Watch SE will replace the Apple Watch Series 3 in the line-up, offering a more budget-friendly (but still capable) option for prospective Apple Watch owners.
Apple Watch SE design and feature rumours
One rumour suggests that the Apple Watch SE will adopt the same overall design as the Apple Watch Series 3, complete with the smaller 42mm display compared to larger 44mm display of the newer models, although it may feature some headline features to make it a more tempting option.
After all, despite the iPhone SE’s budget-focused price tag, it features the same A13 chipset as the flagship iPhone 11 range, so it’s safe to assume Apple would adopt this logic with the Apple Watch SE, including the latest chipset to ensure software support for years to come.
Leaker Komiya also suggests the Apple Watch SE will include 16GB of storage, will exclusively sport an aluminium body, and it’ll be available in a cellular version too. Essentially the rumour suggests we should expect the same look and feel as the current Apple Watch Series 3, but with a boost to performance to keep it going for a few more years.
However, a conflicting report from leaker @L0vetodream suggests that the Apple Watch SE will essentially be the current Apple Watch Series 5 without the ECG monitor.
S5 without ECG
— 有没有搞措 (@L0vetodream)
September 7, 2020
The leaker doesn’t go into much detail in the three-word tweet, but it’s safe to assume that ECG wouldn’t be the only omission – Apple wouldn’t want it to be so tempting that it detracts from the headline Series 6.
Jon Prosser also seems to think that the Apple Watch SE may sport the updated larger display design of the Series 4 and Series 5, and agrees that ECG may not be present on the budget smartwatch. Prosser also claims that the budget smartwatch won’t feature the always-on display of the Series 5, and that the watches will run Apple’s M9 chipset.
Interestingly, Prosser claims that there will be two variants available – 40mm and 44mm – but that they might not be branded as the Apple Watch SE.
According to his sources, the terms Apple Watch and Apple Watch Pro are currently being thrown around: whether this suggests the Series 6 will be rebranded to the Apple Watch Pro is yet to be seen, but it would certainly simplify the branding around the Apple Watch range.
We’ve got our eyes peeled for the latest Apple Watch SE news, and we’ll update this article as we find them, so make sure you check back frequently for the latest details on Apple’s upcoming budget-friendly smartwatch.