Apple just introduced the Apple Watch Series 2 during its traditional September press conference. While the iPhone 7 is going to be the star of the show, many have been waiting for an Apple Watch refresh.
In the introduction video, Apple insisted on the water resistant feature. The Sport version comes in silver, space gray, rose gold and gold. And it looks just like the original Apple Watch — there should be some new bands though. There are now three options — aluminum, stainless steel and white ceramic. It’s four times as hard as stainless steel. Hermès is back with a new partnership. The Series 2 will come with new Hermès bands and colors. Apple is also introducing a Nike Apple Watch with a special band, custom watch faces and a fuel tracker. There are some motivation features to get you running.
As for the really expensive Apple Watch Edition, it seems like Apple is killing the product. The company probably wanted a flagship model to show that it was serious about fashion. But now that the Galeries Lafayette, Colette and Hermès sell the Apple Watch, Apple can focus on mass-market watches.
The Apple Watch (aluminum model) and the Apple Watch Nike+ model will cost $369. It’ll be available on September 16. The Apple Watch Nike+ will be available in late October. The Apple Watch “Series 1” will stick around and cost $269. It’ll come with a new dual-core processor. No word on pricing for the stainless steel model.
“We call it the Apple Watch Series 2 and it has been completely re-engineered,” Jeff Williams said. The Apple Watch Series 2 is swim-proof. You can swim up to 50 meters. The Watch Series 2 is completely sealed, except the speaker. The speaker itself ejects the water at the end of a workout. There are two new workout features now. You can start a swimming workout for instance.
The S2 system-on-a-chip features a dual-core processor that is 50 percent faster, a GPU that is twice as fast. The display is twice as bright, which could be useful if you live in a really sunny country. It’s the brightest display has ever made. And the Watch Series 2 has a built-in GPS, which is going to be useful when you go for a run without your phone. At the end of your workout, you’ll get a map of your run with your pace.
The built-in GPS can be useful for an app like ViewRanger for instance. As the company demoed on stage, you can go for a hike and get alerts if you’re going on the wrong paths as well as fun facts.
The Apple Watch was introduced two years ago and launched 18 months ago. It’s time for a refresh. While it doesn’t seem like a big refresh, it should be enough to boost sales for the holiday season.
“Apple Watch has really changed what people expect from the watch,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said on stage. Cook also compared the Apple Watch with other watch brands. Apple is now the number two watch brand in the world behind Rolex, ahead of Fossil and Omega. “But we are just getting started,” Cook said.
Jeff Williams also recapped some of the new features in watchOS 3. Back at WWDC, the company really touted how fast apps will now run, a much needed improvement from the lagginess of the first and second versions of the operating system.
So how exactly will Apple achieve this? By allowing both third-party and built-in apps to be kept in memory, as well as update and refresh information in the background, even while a user isn’t using a particular app. It’s going to be particularly useful as Pokémon Go is coming to the Apple Watch. You’ll be able to swipe on Pokéstops, see nearby Pokémon in a watch complication. It’ll be shipping before the end of the year.
The third version of watchOS also has a ton of health-related improvements. For instance, Apple is launching a second native Health app called Breathe. The app is meant to help you relax and focus by controlling your breathing rate. Users open their app, select the amount of time they want to practice for, and follow along either via visual or haptic cues. watchOS 3 will be released on September 13 for all Apple Watches.