Apple is expected to release 2 new Apple Watch models this fall for the first time — including a cheaper watch to rival Fitbit

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Apple is expected to release 2 new Apple Watch models this fall for the first time — including a cheaper watch to rival Fitbit
Crystal Cox/Business Insider
  • Apple may release two new smartwatches this year for the first time, according to Bloomberg.
  • One model would replace the Apple Watch Series 5, while the other would succeed the Apple Watch Series 3.
  • Apple needs to sell a cheaper watch alongside its flagship model to remain competitive with Fitbit.
  • The company has usually sold older watches at lower prices alongside its new Apple Watch, but the only other model in the company's lineup is the Series 3, which is almost three years old.

Apple will reportedly release two new Apple Watch models in the fall, marking a first for the company, according to a new report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman and Debby Wu.

One model will succeed the Apple Watch Series 5, the most recent watch that Apple debuted last year, while the other would replace the almost three-year-old Series 3, which Apple sells alongside the Series 5 at a cheaper price. The Series 3 replacement would be designed to rival inexpensive competing watches from Fitbit, the report says.

Apple did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

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Launching two new watches instead of one would represent a notable departure from Apple's usual strategy. The company typically sells an older watch model alongside its newest one at a cheaper price, giving customers more choice and flexibility when it comes to their budget. The company sometimes unveils special edition watch models alongside its main flagship version, but typically only releases one primary watch model per year.

It makes sense that Apple would opt to launch a new cheaper watch this year instead of continuing to sell an older model. Apple discontinued the Apple Watch Series 4 from 2018 last year and instead decided to keep the 2017-era Series 3 in its lineup.

That means if it wanted to take the same approach, it would have to continue selling a watch that's already almost three years old and can't even run all of the new features in its forthcoming watchOS 7 software update.

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But at the same time, Apple still needs to offer a cheaper watch to adequately compete with Fitbit, which has been selling fitness-focused smartwatches at prices that undercut Apple's for years.

Most recently, Fitbit announced a $329.95 smartwatch called the Sense that it claims can measure how stress impacts the body among other features, as well as a new version of its Versa watch that costs $229.95. The Apple Watch Series 5, by comparison, starts at $400, while the Series 3 begins at $200.

Apple typically releases its new Apple Watch models every September alongside its new iPhones. The new flagship Apple Watch model, expected to be called the Series 6, is said to offer the ability to measure blood oxygen levels and have better water resistance, according to reports from 9to5Mac and analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via MacRumors).

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Earlier reports from Bloomberg also suggested it would have sleep tracking, but it's unclear if that report was in reference to the new sleep monitoring feature in watchOS 7 or more in-depth hardware features that would be available on a new watch.

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