The second Apple Watch is now official, and it looks a lot like the first. It doesn't reinvent the wheel (or let you leave your iPhone at home), but the Apple Watch Series 2 does maintain its slim, sexy and rectangular build while adding a few internal upgrades.
While much has changed at Apple since the days of Steve Jobs, one thing that hasn't is the company's approach to second-gen products. Like the second versions of the iPod, iPhone and iPad, this is a remarkably familiar-looking product that focuses on a handful of key changes and performance tweaks on the inside.
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In this case, the list of new goodies includes water resistance up to 50 m, built-in GPS, a much brighter screen and zippier performance.
Along with the water resistance, Apple added new software to watchOS 3 to track swims (with different modes for pools and in open water) and surfing. We've seen dedicated fitness trackers that log your laps, but this is the first time such functionality has shown up in a flagship smartwatch.
GPS isn't a first in smartwatches, with entries from Motorola, Samsung and Sony ticking that box long before today's announcement. By adding it, though, the new Apple Watch lets you track your path on a workout without bringing along an iPhone, though there's still no standalone cellular data, so that's one of the few things you'll be able to do sans phone. Once you bring your sweat-drenched butt home, you'll be able to check out the speed variations from your run in the Activity app on a paired iPhone.
A 2nd-gen Apple device being faster than its predecessor will surprise exactly nobody (except, perhaps, that guy who also looks floored when Apple says "it's the best iPhone we've ever made"). The new Apple Watch's S2 chip moves to a dual core processor, which Apple says is up to 50 percent faster than the S1 in the O.G. Apple Watch. There's also a new GPU onboard, offering supposedly twice the graphics performance of the 2015 model.
A less expected upgrade that could end up helping out on outdoor, mid-summer jogs is a brighter display: At 1,000 nits max, it can get twice as bright as the screen on the first Watch. What it doesn't appear to have is an always-on display option, something most high-end rivals have offered for a couple of years.
Apple was also silent on battery life in the new model. Though if the only way to extend battery life is to make an oversized man-gadget like the Samsung Gear S3, we're betting at least half the population will appreciate Apple's more compact approach.
The new Apple Watch will be available in a variety of new colors and styles, including an updated Hermès line. The oft-mocked Apple Watch Edition lineup, ye of $10,000 starting price, switches from gold to ceramic (above) and now starts at a tamer $1,249.
As for the more common options that most people will buy, pricing starts at $369 for an aluminum 38 mm Watch; the 42 mm equivalent starts at $399. Stainless steel versions start at $549 and $599, respectively, for the two sizes.
The new Apple Watches go up for pre-order this Friday, September 9 and start shipping on the 16th.
Product page: AppleView gallery - 4 images