The Apple Watch Series 2 is now out and doesn’t feature a whole lot of new things when compared to its predecessor. The speedier processor, the integrated GPS and an upgraded WatchOS 3 are the main takeaway from this release. The Apple Watch 2 is much better at what it does, especially if you’re looking for a watch that helps you stay in shape because it is also swimming-pool friendly now.
Apple could probably have called its new watch the Apple Watch 1S, because most of the changes unveiled here today in San Francisco are under the hood, and not in the industrial design. The Apple Watch 2 still used the original square design with rounded edges, and it’s still the same size, which is neither thin or thick. Apple typical uses the same design for a couple of generations, so it’s not a total surprise.
The watch is now water-resistant this time, which is an improvement compared to the first generation watch, that was only splash resistant. The IP rating is IP67 which means that no dust can enter. Also, it can be immersed for ~30mn at a depth of ~1 meter (about 1 Yard), so beware if you lose it in a deeper pool.
In addition to the usual Aluminum and Stainless Steel models, Apple also unveiled two new models this year. The prettiest (and priciest) one is made from White Ceramic, a material four times more durable than stainless steel, according to Apple. The second one is the Apple Watch Nike+, a model made for runners, with a unique look and a few software improvements to track your runs and encourage you to go out.
Apple is doubling down on sports and health with its new Apple Watch Series 2, which is finally equipped with a GPS that will let runners track their route without their iPhone. This was one of the most requested features for the watch. The next most requested feature is an LTE connection (which didn’t show up this time, unfortunately).
The watch also comes with a bunch of software improvements, thanks to the new WatchOS 3. Apple Watch now shows up to five workout metrics on the screen at the same time. It also allows you to share your Activity Rings with your friends (and compete with them), and more… New activities have also been added, including swimming and training in a wheelchair.
A second start for the apps?
We didn’t have time to break a sweat here at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco to try the new health features (except maybe to rush into the demo room), but we did get the chance to appreciate the new speed of the watch, which comes in parts from Watch OS 3.0, but also from the device’s new S2 SIP (watch main processor), which is said to be 50% faster than the S1.
The long time to start the apps was always a low point of the Apple Watch, and things have noticeably improved here. The switch from one app to another is now quick, and the overall experience does feel faster.
One of the problems with the first Apple Watch was that it was almost always quicker to get your phone out of your pocket than to use your apps on your wrist. Will the new speed turn things around and give a second start to the Apple Watch’s app ecosystem? We’ll have to wait (for the full review) and see, but it surely won’t hurt.
Apple Watch Series 2 will be available for pre-order this Friday and launched on September 16 at a starting price of 369$. The White Ceramic Apple Watch Edition will be sold for $1249. For those who don’t run or swim, the Apple Watch Series 1 will still be sold, upgraded with the new S2 SIP, at a starting price of $269. The Apple Watch Nike+ will be available late October, at a starting price of 369$. Check all the launch details in our Apple Watch announcement coverage.