Apple Watch SE may switch to an all-plastic chassis to lower costs

Posted:
in Apple Watch

Apple is reported to have tested replacing the metal portion of the current Apple Watch SE case with rigid plastic to lower the cost.

A hand holds a square, dark-colored Apple Watch SE with visible sensors on the back.
The current Apple Watch SE uses a nylon-composite material on its back side.



Alongside reports of updated regular and Apple Watch Ultra models coming in late 2024, Apple could be planning to also change the Apple Watch SE. The company has thus far brought out a new model of the Apple Watch SE every two years since its introduction.

This future Apple Watch SE might switch to an all-plastic housing to cut costs, reports Bloomberg. The device retails for $249, some $50 higher than Samsung's similar low-cost smartwatch.

The current SE model adopted a redesigned back case that changed to a color-matched "nylon composite" plastic material in 2022. If true, this report would see the entire chassis of the Apple Watch SE changed -- making the device less environmentally friendly.

Separately, the forthcoming Apple Watch Series 10 has been rumored to sport thinner cases and slightly larger screens. Apple is likely to announce this and perhaps also the Apple Watch SE in September, alongside the iPhone 16.

Rumor Score: Possible

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    nubusnubus Posts: 491member

    If true, this report would see the entire chassis of the Apple Watch SE changed -- making the device less environmentally friendly.

    The nylon material might be 100% recycled but product durability and lifetime are likely to be severely affected. Apple already did a "eco-friendly" plastic product: FineWoven. It was penny-pinching mixed with greenwashing in a product without durability.

    Any review of Watch SE 3rd should remember what Apple did to 1st gen. End-of-sale in 2022, last OS upgrade in 2023. With iPhone SE it was 3 years and XR is receiving 4 years and counting of full upgrades after end-of-sale. Apple has yet to deliver that kind of value in a Watch SE. Taking the path of FineWoven is not going to help.
    williamlondonelijahg
  • Reply 2 of 11
    XedXed Posts: 2,708member
    I find that even the higher end Apple Watch options — not including the luxury bands options — are well within a reasonable price, but I'm glad if Apple makes it even easier to have an excellent wristworn communication device and health monitor. 
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 11
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,110member
    I think there materials have their place, just as much as more premium materials for those willing to pay for it.  I don't think apple is going to do an across-the-board material replacement but just limit it to the more cost-conscious market.
    williamlondonnetroxwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 11
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,427member
    nubus said:
    Any review of Watch SE 3rd should remember what Apple did to 1st gen. End-of-sale in 2022, last OS upgrade in 2023. With iPhone SE it was 3 years and XR is receiving 4 years and counting of full upgrades after end-of-sale. Apple has yet to deliver that kind of value in a Watch SE. Taking the path of FineWoven is not going to help.
    I don't mean to undermine your larger point about the Watch, but I have to point out that the iPhone XR came out in 2018, and is on the list for iOS 18 compatibility, so that's six years of support, not four. I'm aware that you said "from end-of-sale," but all that says is that people who buy products that are at the end of their sales cycle are getting less support time, which is bloody obvious.

    I had the original Apple Watch (I still have it, though I've moved on twice in the years since). It's end-of-sale was 18 months (late 2016), right after it was replaced by the Series 1 AND 2, which came out at the same time. The original Apple Watch is now referred to as Series 0, since it was quickly replaced by the Series 1 and 2.

    Assuming you are actually referring to the Series 1 by mistake, end-of-sale for it was a year after it came out, which would be when the Series 3 debuted in 2017. If as you say the last update for it was in 2023, that's six years of updates.

    I think you may be confused about what "end-of-sale" means. It doesn't mean the last old Apple Watch still in any resellers' inventory anywhere; it means when Apple Stores and Apple's online store stop selling new units (refurbished does not count).
    williamlondonForumPostwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 11
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 2,394member
    nubus said:

    If true, this report would see the entire chassis of the Apple Watch SE changed -- making the device less environmentally friendly.

    The nylon material might be 100% recycled but product durability and lifetime are likely to be severely affected. Apple already did a "eco-friendly" plastic product: FineWoven. It was penny-pinching mixed with greenwashing in a product without durability.

    Any review of Watch SE 3rd should remember what Apple did to 1st gen. End-of-sale in 2022, last OS upgrade in 2023. With iPhone SE it was 3 years and XR is receiving 4 years and counting of full upgrades after end-of-sale. Apple has yet to deliver that kind of value in a Watch SE. Taking the path of FineWoven is not going to help.
    There are options out there for plant derived plastics, or ocean recovery plastics. So plastic does have to mean a backward step environmentally but yes durability will be the question.  

    There is a corn husks plastic that produces Lignin as a by product which is then useful for emergent batteries. The watch SE could make a small scale (by Apples standards) test product for both “waste”cycle plastics and lithium free batteries 
    ForumPostwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 11
    nubusnubus Posts: 491member
    chasm said:
    nubus said:
    Any review of Watch SE 3rd should remember what Apple did to 1st gen. End-of-sale in 2022, last OS upgrade in 2023. With iPhone SE it was 3 years and XR is receiving 4 years and counting of full upgrades after end-of-sale. Apple has yet to deliver that kind of value in a Watch SE. Taking the path of FineWoven is not going to help.

    Assuming you are actually referring to the Series 1 by mistake, end-of-sale for it was a year after it came out, which would be when the Series 3 debuted in 2017. If as you say the last update for it was in 2023, that's six years of updates..
    We're talking SE here and I'm referring to Watch SE 1st gen (not Series 0 or 1). Apple delivered just one upgrade after end-of-sale. Probably the worst support for any product.
  • Reply 7 of 11
    Wouldn't have a problem with a tough recycled resin and elastomer encased Apple watch if it brought prices down - smart watches are redundant after a few years anyway. What would be really great is if Apple could get rid of the ugly Apple Watch rounded case aesthetic and go square. I work in construction and have never managed to break the body or screen of a plastic 5600 series Casio GShock square (even the bare bones F-91W is a durable watch).
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 11
    entropysentropys Posts: 4,224member
    Plastic can be made very tough though. 
    It might also be lighter. Not titanium light, but lighter than the stainless steel versions.
    mattinozdewmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 11
    miiwtwomiiwtwo Posts: 58member
    to lower costs for apple right,  B)
  • Reply 10 of 11
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,553member
    entropys said:
    Plastic can be made very tough though. 
    It might also be lighter. Not titanium light, but lighter than the stainless steel versions.
    I agree. Apple coming up with a way to make a version of the Apple Watch accessible to more buyers at a lower price point sounds like a very good thing to me.  The Apple Watch is amazingly useful for personal health monitoring, personal health maintenance, personal safety, emergency alert signalling, location beacon, etc. I have been nothing short of amazed by how useful the sleep monitoring, tracking, and analysis capabilities of the Apple Watch are when coupled with an iPhone app like Autosleep. The built-in AW sleep functionality is not bad, but Autosleep takes it up a few more notches, as I'm sure many other similar apps do. Being able to share data from the various health related apps that use Apple Watch sensors is a game changer.

    I've also experienced how well the fall detection works. While I didn't require an emergency dispatch, it's very clear to me how so many people of all ages would benefit from this functionality as well as crash detection. 

    I've been so impressed with the Apple Watch just for sleep health issues and believe that nearly everyone with similar issues would benefit greatly from this functionality alone. But it's hard to recommend it to people who cannot afford an Apple Watch. I know healthcare insurers are trying to encourage/force enrolees to take more proactive control over their personal health care. If Apple could produce a version of the Apple Watch that insurers could purchase in bulk to issue to enrolees in lieu of some of the far less useful things they're doing now, it could be a game changer. Of course this is overly optimistic and I'm sure the red tape and government oversight would kill it or cripple it in its tracks. So simply making it more accessible for personal purchase might be the better option.
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 11
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,427member
    nubus said:
    We're talking SE here and I'm referring to Watch SE 1st gen (not Series 0 or 1). Apple delivered just one upgrade after end-of-sale. Probably the worst support for any product.
    Thanks for clarifying.
    watto_cobra
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