Apple Watch Pro might add a dedicated workout button on the lefthand side

The upcoming rugged Apple Watch Pro model could add a physical button on the lefthand side of the device, but its purpose remains unclear.

CAD renderings of Apple Watch Pro revealing a lefthand side physical button, a flat screen design and a protrusion on the right housing the Digital Crown and Side buttons
A protrusion on the right side of the watch is also new | Image: 91mobiles
  • What’s happening? Looks like Apple’s rugged watch may have a dedicated workout button on the left side of the device, while the Digital Crown and side buttons on the right side appear to be embedded into a protrusion.
  • Why care? This button is most likely tied to starting and ending a workout session, which can be quite challenging with touch controls if it’s raining or you’re performing a demanding activity such as biking, parachuting, etc.
  • What to do? Be sure to tune in to Apple’s video presentation on Wednesday and follow iDownloadBlog as we’ll be bringing you all the news you need to know.

Apple Watch Pro may gain another side button

This information is based on images of third-party cases published on Chinese social network Weibo, bands for the upcoming watch leaked by Sonny Dickson’s Twitter, as well as CAD renderings shared online by 91mobiles. Most of the commenters online agree that this is most likely a dedicated workout button of sorts.

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman says the button is programmable, with watchOS 9 apparently providing an option to assign different functions to the button.

All Apple Watch models from the original one to the current Apple Watch Series 7 have two physical buttons on the righthand side of the casing: A Digital Crown, which can be rotated and pressed, and another button which Apple refers to as the Side button. Read: What’s the Dock on your Apple Watch? How to use it?

Assuming these CAD renderings represent the real thing, this new side button on the lefthand side should be located beneath the speaker vents. The renders also visualize a flash display instead of current Apple Watches which have a slightly curved screen at the edges. Read: How to watch YouTube on your Apple Watch

This is probably a dedicated workout button

Are you an active type who likes to hike, cycle and jog? Do you consider yourself an athlete, or strive to become one? If so, you’re going to prefer the tactile sensation of a physical button versus touching the screen.

I tracked my swimming this summer using my rusty old Apple Watch Series 3. Its battery capacity has diminished significantly, but not enough to prevent me from tracking an average workout. Read: How to add special activities to the Workout app

What was bothering me a lot is the fact I couldn’t use the touchscreen to end my workout after I had finished swimming without drying both the display and my fingers thoroughly. Capacitive touch technology doesn’t like moisture!

So with that in mind, one could easily imagine extreme sports fans and athletes accustomed to multi-button watches from Garmin, appreciating the ability to start, pause or end their workout with a quick press of a dedicated button.

What about that protrusion?

The images also suggest that a rugged Apple Watch might have a protrusion on the righthand side where you have your Digital Crown and Side buttons.

Its purpose is unknown but considering that a rugged Apple Watch should be aimed at fans of extreme sports, this could serve as additional protection for the buttons while making them more accessible than before.

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman claims that Apple’s rugged watch would rock a display that’s “bigger than most wrists,” with a case size measuring between 47mm and 48mm. Aside from a rugged model, Apple is also expected to announce a new Apple Watch SE model and a successor to the current Apple Watch Series 7.