Forget Apple Watch Series 6: Apple Watch SE May Be Here In Days


September 2 update below. This post was first published on September 1, 2020.

Apple is about to launch Apple Watch Series 6, but the latest rumors suggest that alongside it will be a replacement for the Apple Watch Series 3, a more affordable version, nicknamed Apple Watch SE. Apple may call it something else, but I’m referring to it as the SE for simplicity here.

The naming references the iPhone SE, which has seen two versions, both taking an earlier hardware design and super-powering it with the very latest processor.

September 2 update. The latest tweet from the reliably accurate Jon Prosser has given us a little more clarity on when we might know more. He says that next Tuesday, September 8, will see a product release. That’s pretty big news.

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So, that’s the when: the what is a little more elusive. In previous tweets, Prosser has claimed that next week would see the announcement of an iPad of some sort and an Apple Watch by press release.

Though, as mentioned below, he is now open to the idea that the Watch would be later, as Gurman implies, there’s still a strong possibility that Apple Watch Series 6 could be revealed in under a week’s time. As I’ve said, if that’s the case, I think it will arrive on its own and Apple Watch SE would in that case come next Spring, as previously expected.

In which case, expect the Apple Watch Series 6 to go on sale within days, alongside continuing sales of the Apple Watch Series 3. If so, Apple Watch Series 5 will almost certainly be withdrawn from sale this month, as Apple Watch Series 4 vanished this time last year.

If Series 6 is announced on its own, then fans of the Apple Watch SE will have to wait six months before their desired timepiece materializes. Prosser’s expectation is that Series 6 will be part of the September 8 reveal – though there’s still time for that prediction to be revised. And, let’s remember, so far Prosser has never been wrong about release dates.

Apple Watch Series 3 is a hugely popular smartwatch because it’s highly affordable (priced $199 and up) but it’s hardware that was first released in 2017. So, not only does it have a design that’s now been brilliantly updated with the Apple Watch Series 4 and 5 (and Series 6, shortly), but its processor is beginning to look slow compared to more recent models and it lacks features such as Fall Detection and ECG measuring.

According to Mark Gurman at Bloomberg, when Apple releases Series 6, it will also announce this new, more affordable model. If true, this is a surprise, as previous rumors pegged the Apple Watch SE to a Spring 2021 release date.

According to Gurman, the lower-priced model would be a replacement for the Apple Watch Series 3, designed to challenge fitness trackers like Fitbit.

Apple does like to recycle, so the possibility is that this new watch would take the Apple Watch Series 3 design as is, but offer all the power, speed and many features of the latest model. But much cheaper.

My guess is that some features will miss the SE, such as ECG which requires a different digital crown, but I could be wrong. Switching the crown is easy enough, it’s more whether Apple wants to save that as a feature for its pricier models.

Then there’s the question of timing. Celebrated tipster Jon Prosser has said that the Apple Watch will be announced in next week (week commencing September 7) but has more recently been open to the idea that the Watch could be announced later, alongside iPhone 12, in October.

My personal thought is that if there are two Watches, as Gurman says, that October is favorite: announcing one Apple Watch by press release seemed unlikely-but-possible, whereas two new Watches is much too much of an announcement not to feature at an Apple (virtual) event.

Eight different models of Apple Watch have just been listed in the Eurasian Economic Database. So, maybe two of those are the Apple Watch SE. We’ll know in the coming weeks or, even more excitingly, in just days.

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