As rumored, Apple today announced the launch of an updated Apple Watch. Dubbed the Apple Watch Series 2, the headline features of the new device are GPS, a faster chip set, and upgraded water resistance. Not only that, the original Apple Watch, now referred to as Apple Watch Series 1, is seeing a price drop and is also receiving the same improved chip set. Both wearables are available for preorder on Friday and will be in-store the following week, on September 16th.
The Apple Watch 2 is clearly developed for people who want a watch that can take them from the pool, to the park, to the boardroom. The new features of the watch are all about fitness. The GPS is designed to provided detailed run information, including pacing and route, without the need for a phone. Paired with wireless headphones, this means that there is no reason to bring your iPhone with you when you head out to for a run. Even better, the GPS can be accessed by 3rd party app so whatever you use to track your runs can make use of the new feature.
Apple has also improved the water resistance of the Apple Watch Series 2. It is now rated up to a depth of 50m, which means it is safe for swimming. To achieve this, Apple had to seal all of the nooks and crannies, such as the microphone and digital crown. The speaker presented a unique challenge that required a complete redesign. The new speaker in the Apple Watch Series 2 is at an angle so it drains easier and the air displaced by the speaker is actually designed to help push the moisture out. So go along with the wearable’s new found love of water, Apple has also designed built in swim tracking software for both pool and open water swimming. The software is designed to improve its metrics as it learns your swimming style.
The 3rd major upgrade to the Series 2 is actually coming to both the original and new Apple Watch. The S2 SiP chip set includes a new dual core processor that runs up to 50% faster and a redesigned GPU offering 2x the graphics performance. This is the first time that Apple has updated an outgoing model with a new chip set. Perhaps the company recognizes the S1 chipset simply did not offer enough power and is trying to make things right. Or maybe Apple believes the Series 2 watch is a premium device for people serious about using it for sports and that the Series 1 is the non-sports version. Beyond improved waterproofing and GPS, there is very little difference between the two models.
Finally, as Apple seems to do at a regular clip, the company has updated the bands and finishes of the Apple Watch. First, the previous solid gold, $17,000 Edition watch is no more. It has been replaced with a much for reasonable $1,249 / $1,299, beautiful solid white ceramic version. There are also new Hermès versions featuring updated bands. The new bands include a double buckle cuff and a single tour deployment buckle, joining the existing double and single tour styles. New for the Series 2, all Hermès versions will also ship with an exclusive Hermès Orange colored sports bands. There is a new version of Apple Watch going the lineup this time too. Apple has partnered with Nike to release Apple Watch Nike+. The new version is a variation of the aluminum Series 2 watch with a very sporty looking perforated sports band. It also includes a set of custom Nike+ watch faces. During the presentation, a Nike+ Run Club app was heavily demoed on the watch but we believe that is nothing unique to the Nike+ version of the watch and is simply an updated Nike+ Running app anyone can download. Lastly, Apple has also updated its collection of bands, including adding a number of new nylon options.