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(Pocket-lint) - Apple is considering the launch of an all-new Apple Watch model designed for athletes, hikers and those who would use the smartwatch in extreme environments. 

That's according to a report from Bloomberg, which indicates discussions regarding a sports-focused Apple Watch have already taken place - and point to a launch in 2021 or 2022.

Internally, the rugged smartwatch is said to be dubbed by some as the 'Explorer Edition'. 

These initial launch timeframes are outlined as the earliest possible release, say the sources, for what would represent another category of Apple Watch.

And interestingly, as noted in the report, this also isn't the first time Apple has pondered a more classic sports watch variant for release alongside the traditional smartwatch - it did so in 2015 before the original Watch launched. 

That would appear to make the claims more plausible, and, if the device is to actually come to fruition this time around, it's suggested that it would feature a rubberised case in order to provide environmental resistance akin to Casio's G-Shock watches - perhaps putting it on a collision course with the likes of Garmin.

As is always the case with these types of rumours, it's entirely possible that Apple changes direction completely or delays such a project.

However, given the fact it deviated from the standard Apple Watch model with the launch of the Apple Watch SE last September - on top of the Nike and Hermes editions that release alongside each iteration  - we already know it's not averse to diversifying the range. 

With the standard model also becoming increasingly focused on health monitoring, too - and Apple Watch Series 7 rumours indicating that trend will continue - having a dedicated device aimed at the activity-heavy user would appear to make sense.

For now, we'll just have to wait and see, but this is an intriguing development to keep an eye on.

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Writing by Conor Allison. Originally published on 26 March 2021.