Apple Watch SE 3 could be plastic in bid to rival cheaper Galaxy Watch FE

Apple Watch Series 9 Review
(Image credit: Future)

A new inside report claims that Apple is considering ditching aluminum in favor of plastic to keep the costs of its Apple Watch SE 3 down. 

Apple’s budget smartwatch, last updated in September 2022 alongside the Apple Watch Series 8, is the company’s cheapest wearable. It offers many of the notable health-tracking features core to the Apple Watch experience, including heart rate monitoring, exercise tracking, and heart rhythm notifications. However, Apple saves costs by using a slightly less vibrant display, and a slightly older processor, as well as by eschewing key premium features such as temperature sensing and Blood Oxygen. 

While rumors of a new Apple Watch SE 3 have been non-existent to date, Apple is reportedly mulling another major cost-saving change in the next model, using plastic for the time in one of its wearables.

Apple Watch SE 3 goes plastic? 

According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple is “working on a new version of its lower-cost Apple Watch SE model.” Gurman states “One idea that the company has tested is swapping out the aluminum shell in favor of rigid plastic” He postulates that this could be a bid to get the price of the Apple Watch SE 3 closer to Samsung’s rival Galaxy Watch FE, which retails at a more favorable $199.

While the Apple Watch SE 2 retails at a reasonable $249 (although you can find it for much less in the Prime Day Apple Watch sales), the first iteration was $279. While the SE is cheaper than the Apple Watch Series 9 and the best Apple Watch, the Apple Watch Ultra 2, that magical $200 price floor beckons as the final hurdle in the SE’s bid to become a true “budget” smartwatch. However, whether the end of its aluminum shell is a price consumers are willing to pay is another matter entirely.

Apple Watch SE 2 GPS | $249$189 at Amazon

Apple Watch SE 2 GPS | $249 $189 at Amazon

Looking for an entry-level Apple Watch? You won't find one for less than $189 and the Apple Watch SE 2 is a fantastic starting point. In the past we would've recommended the first generation but that will not support watchOS 11 when it launches later this year.

Price check: $249 at Best Buy | $249 at Apple  

More from iMore

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9