The latest version of the Apple Watch has arrived: the Series 2. We weren’t terribly impressed by the original Watch, which offered a feature set that largely felt redundant to the iPhone itself. Sure, it meant you didn’t have to take your iPhone out of your pocket, but was that convenience worth the cost?
The new Watch looks just like the original, but boasts a more powerful processor for speedier performance. The original Watch could feel a bit sluggish, but the new, dual-core S2 processor is 50% faster. An updated graphics processor helps make the Watch feel zippier, too, with twice the graphics performance as the original. In addition, the screen is twice as bright for better outdoor visibility, an important feature for those using the Watch for running or other outdoor activities. You’ll also find a variety of new bands available and, in addition to the aluminum and stainless steel bodies, you can also pick up a super durable ceramic body, which is four times harder than stainless steel.
Fitness features continue to be a big focus of the Apple Watch. Sure, if you were interested in fitness tracking you probably already have something to track your runs or workouts and could even sync with your phone for notifications and other features. It’s still questionable as to whether the Apple Watch is better than your existing tracker, but new features will appeal to runners and swimmers — especially those who are interested in a gadget that multitasks as a a mini-iPhone.
The Series 2 adds a built-in GPS, so it can track runs and walks without being paired to a phone. This means runners can leave their bulky phone at home and still rely on the Watch to track them. Nike has teamed up with Apple for an all-new version of the Watch dubbed Apple Watch Nike+, which has a breathable, perforated band and uses the lightweight aluminum case. Nike claims it’s your “perfect running partner,” both tracking your runs and encouraging you to get out and run regularly. For swimmers the Series 2 is now waterproof up to 50 meters, with a new mode that tracks laps and calories burned in the pool.
Previously announced, we now have a release date for WatchOS 3: September 13. The updated OS adds speed and usability improvements to all Watches. Updated Watches will see apps loading nearly instantly and quick access to your favorite apps with a button tap.
The Series 2 will start at $369 for an aluminum case model with sports band. Stainless steel and ceramic models, as well as a wide selection of bands, are available for a higher price. The original Watch will be available — and upgraded with the same S2 processor to make it faster — starting at $269 for a more budget-friendly option. Look for pre-orders to start this week, on Friday, September 9. Watches will start shipping September 16, with the Nike+ shipping in late October.
[Image Credit: Apple]