Commentary: Here’s why Apple is chasing the lucrative Ironman crowd

TAIPEI: In the seven years since Apple released its first Apple Watch, the device has sold more than 100 million units, catapulting it to 30 per cent of the global smartwatch market. Yet it’s struggled to grab a small but important niche: Endurance sports.

Peruse the start of any Ironman triathlon race and you’ll see Garmin products dominating the wrists of the world’s most elite athletes. These are consumers who spend US$10,000 on a bicycle and travel around the globe to compete at some of the world’s most majestic courses.

But they’ve largely snubbed Apple in favor of multisport watches from the premier name in outdoor adventure and navigation.

The new Apple Watch Ultra the company debuted at an event dubbed Far Out could finally change that. At US$799, the wearable is the most expensive among the models it released Wednesday (Sep 7), including Apple Watch Series 8 at up to US$499 and Watch SE for US$249.

That puts it above most Garmin alternatives favoured by triathletes, yet still cheaper than premium models designed for ultramarathon and rugged environments. The device can also act as a dive computer, putting it in competition with leading names in that category, such as Suunto, Cressi and Aqualung.


Chasing consumers who have expensive hobbies and high brand loyalty is a smart move, and it shows that the company is laser-focused on pushing its non-iPhone products, namely Watch and AirPods.