The Next Apple Watch Pro Could Tip The Balance Again

Samsung's debut of its first pro smartwatch definitely polarized wearables fans. Some consumers may not like its larger size, but the promise of a significantly longer battery life for a Wear OS device is hard to ignore. Of course, Samsung isn't the only big name that was rumored to launch an ultra-rugged smartwatch designed for people living life to the extreme — it simply preempted Apple, which is expected to launch an Apple Watch Pro model that may have an Extreme suffix at its event in early September. Apple's first super-durable and longer-lasting smartwatch might make headlines this year, but one source claims that it will be next year's model that will make heads turn instead.

The Apple Watch Pro, previously known as the Apple Watch Extreme, has been circling the rumor mill for quite some time. The alleged model has been rumored as an even more premium version of what is already a pricey smartwatch, one that will supposedly come with a larger size and longer battery life. It's not a coincidence that those are the same traits that set the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro apart from its normal sibling.

This Pro smartwatch is expected to appeal only to a small subset of the Apple Watch audience; it's specifically designed for more sporty wearers who don't want to wear an obviously sporty smartwatch, at least according to the leaks. The anticipated model's larger size, however, could turn off some interested buyers, which again limits its reach. More importantly, this year's inaugural model might not even have much to offer compared to the regular Apple Watch.

Apple Watch 9 Pro may be the real attention grabber

According to a newsletter from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman (via 9to5Mac), it will be next year's Apple Watch Pro that could change the game for Apple's smartwatches: it could finally be the first model that supports the much-rumored low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite connectivity. More than just another marketing buzzword, that's a feature that could literally save lives.

Earlier rumors of this feature had people speculating about much faster data connectivity for the Apple Watch, but that might be expecting too much. Instead, satellite connectivity will come into play in emergency situations, making sure that first responders will be able to pinpoint a wearer's location even when they're out of reach of a cellular tower. That said, there is still a possibility that the feature could be used for internet and phone calls over LEO satellites, too, but that may not happen until much later. That functionality would largely depend on negotiations with carriers and service providers, so it is — at a minimum — unlikely to happen when the feature first launches.

Apple Watch smartwatches are already popular because of their health-monitoring features that have helped save lives by warning wearers of critical dangers before they happen. At the same time, there has been plenty of anecdotal evidence that the smartwatch's emergency features have also been able to save people in accidents. With satellite connectivity, the chances of that happening could increase significantly, especially in cases where wearers go off-road and off the grid, potentially cementing the Apple Watch's image as a life-saving gadget in addition to a status symbol.