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Exclusive mockups: Apple Watch Explorer Edition looks rugged and sporty


A sporty new Apple Watch model could debut this fall
A sporty new Apple Watch model could debut this fall
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

Rumors of an Apple Watch Explorer Edition started last year, when Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported that Apple was working on ruggedized smartwatch designed specifically for athletes. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, from TF International Securities, added fuel to the fire last December, claiming that an “extreme sports version” could debut in 2022.

This month at WWDC, Apple’s focus on new fitness features for watchOS 9 lent further credence to these rumors. As a fitness-fanatic myself, all this hype has got me pretty excited. It inspired me to create these Photoshop mockups, exclusively for Cult of Mac, to explore exactly what the Explorer Edition might look like.

What’s in store for Apple Watch Series 4? [Wish List]


What cool new features are hidden inside that slimmer Apple Watch Series 4 frame? [Mockup]
What cool new features will be hidden inside that slimmer Series 4 frame?
Photo illustration: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

In just a few weeks, Apple looks set to unveil the biggest upgrade yet to its popular wearable.
While the external appearance of Apple Watch has not changed much since its launch, recent leaks suggest we can expect a new form factor with a larger screen when Apple Watch Series 4 lands.

In the Photoshop mockup above, I’ve shown how Apple’s next watch might look if it slimmed down and added a larger screen (as the rumormongers predict). That would be pretty cool, but there are plenty of other potential upgrades I’m excited about.

Here’s my top 10 wish list for Apple Watch Series 4 new features.

Why Apple should make a cheap activity band (and what it might look like)


A no-frills Apple fitness tracker could get new users hooked on the Activity app.
A no-frills Apple fitness tracker could get new users hooked on the Activity app.
Image: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

The Activity app is one of Apple’s most important and powerful products. Its three brightly colored rings are changing people’s lives around the world, inspiring individuals to make healthier choices throughout their day.

The trouble is, if you want to use the Activity app, your only option right now is to buy an Apple Watch — and Apple Watches are expensive.

With this kind of game-changing product, Apple usually wants to reach as big an audience as possible. Take the iPod, for example. It was too expensive for some consumers. so Apple released a no-frills, sub-$99 version called the iPod Shuffle. Could a similar strategy work for the Activity app? An affordable activity band from Apple could be a Fitbit killer.

What Apple Watch Sport looks like with pricier bands


Apple Watch Sport looks good with a pricey band. Photo: WatchAware

Apple will reveal pricing details on its long-anticipated smartwatch in less than a week, but if the stainless steel version costs upward of $700, I’m definitely going the cheap route with the Apple Watch Sport.

The $350 timepiece isn’t as fashionable as its expensive gold and stainless-steel siblings, a point Apple’s website emphasizes by only showing Sport units with Sport bands. But if you pair the Sport with pricier bands, you can barely tells its the el cheapo option.

iOS developer Nick McCardel created mockups of the Apple Watch Sport with bands for the Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition. Despite its less luxe finish, the Sport’s silver and space gray aluminum cases still look great no matter what you pair them with.

Take a look at some of the configurations below:

Meet the designer behind the world’s most drool-worthy Apple mockups


A more colorful version of the iWatch, mimicking Apple's art for the iPhone 5c.
Hajek made this in honor of Angela Ahrendts signing on to Apple.
The version that "Mr. T" would approve, Hajek says.
A makeover is long overdue for Apple TV.
The iPhone 6 and the iWatch, in Hajek's final imaginings.
Apple is rumored to be making its way into the home market. Here's what Hajek thinks an Apple-designed control unit would look like.
When Apple made its largest acquisition ever, Hajek thought up a logo pair of Beats headphones to commemorate the occassion.
A look at the slimmer, larger iPhone 6.

Martin Hajek has developed a recipe of sorts for crafting stunning 3-D renderings of future Apple products that get shared around the Web and even used in advertisements while the world awaits the Cupertino company’s big reveal.

“My inspiration comes from real-life Apple products, combined with a good dose of internet rumors, a dash of common sense and imagination sprinkled on top,” the 39-year-old told Cult of Mac. “What I do is quite simply ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’ — with the giants in question being Jony Ive and his design team.”

Apple’s secrecy surrounding its upcoming products is legendary (notwithstanding one memorable breach by the Pentagon). Everyone wants to know what insanely great products Apple has up its sleeve, so the company goes to great lengths to protect its secrets. Workers prepping for today’s big event have had their phone cameras plugged with tamperproof tape so they can’t leak anything spied before Tim Cook takes the stage.