Rumours are rife that Apple is going to expand its Watch offering with a new ‘Pro’ model, arriving as part of the Watch Series 8 family in September.
This smartwatch is expected to see Apple talk on the likes of Garmin, Polar and Casio’s G-Shock range in a sector of the smartwatch market where tougher cases and features geared towards expedition and outdoor sport are key features.
Prices here also tend to be higher than regular smartwatches, with some models of Garmin’s so-called ‘adventure watch’ range touching £750. This gives Apple plenty of headspace above the current £369 starting price of the Watch Series 7, and the potential for a new company collaboration.
The company already offers Nike and Hermès versions of Apple Watch, aimed at the exercise and luxury sectors respectively, complete with designs and prices to match. Between the two, there is space for a third tie-in – and it should be with Patagonia.
A fellow California company, Patagonia is an outdoor clothing firm. Founded by rock climber Yvon Chouinard in Ventura in 1973, Patagonia has expanded from clothing to backpacks, sleeping bags, surfing accessories, and even camping food under the Patagonia Provisions brand.
Apple is always keen to highlight the recycled and recyclable credentials of its products – something we think fits in neatly with Patagonia’s own moral compass. The clothing company lets customers return used clothes in good condition, then swaps them for store credit, cleans and repairs the garments, and then sells them through the Worn Wear section of its website.
Turning 50 next year, Patagonia was one of the first companies in California to switch to wind energy upon deregulation, and also uses on-site solar energy systems. In 2014, it was also one of the first US outdoor apparel companies to sell Fair Trade Certified garments.
A Patagonia partnership would also open the door for a wide range of straps and exclusive watch faces, designed by the clothing company and styled to match their other products – just as Nike and Hermès do now with their versions of the Apple Watch.
Patagonia’s pricing also fits in well with the Apple Watch. Some of its t-shirts and caps are priced like any other, but its specialist clothing costs more. We suspect shoppers willing to pay £50 for a mounting biking t-shirt or £150 for some shorts will also stump up the cash for a tougher version of the Apple Watch with features designed specifically for them.
We think an Apple Watch Patagonia Edition would be different enough to sit alongside the existing Nike Edition, thanks to a tougher case, a higher price, and unique features for hiking and sports like mountain biking, kayaking and climbing. Meanwhile, the Nike Edition would remain as the go-to Apple Watch for runners, road cyclists and those who primarily exercise indoors.