The Apple Watch Series 2 made a big, water-resistant splash at Apple’s iPhone 7 launch event, giving us a revision that’s closer to the smartwatch we always wanted – and finally offering us a release date.
Its biggest highlight is the most requested Apple Watch 2 feature: a built-in GPS chip. This allows for more advanced tracking, whether you’re hitting the ground running or gazing up at the stars in the sky.
The new Apple Watch Series 2 won’t stop working if you get it wet in shallow water. It’s now waterproof up to a point. Swimming with your Apple Watch 2 on, for example, is not only an option, it’s encouraged.
The Series 2 is also faster than the first Watch and boasts a much brighter display. You won’t notice any other design changes, but you can of course get new bands, including ones from Hermes and Nike.
There’s a lot to unpack about the Apple Watch Series 2. Here everything you need to know.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The second-generation Apple Watch
- When is it out? September 16 release date, pre-orders start September 9
- What will it cost? $369 (about £369, AU$529)
Apple Watch Series 2 release date
You can buy the Apple Watch 2 at the same time as you pre-order and pick up for iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus, because they have the same exact pre-order release dates.
Series 2 pre-orders begin on Friday, September 9, just two days after Apple announced the Apple Watch sequel. You have to save your money and decide if you want to buy one rather quickly.
The official Apple Watch 2 release date is one week from that date on Friday, September 16. Which do you open and play with first: Your new smartphone or your new digital timepiece? Choices.
Apple Watch Series 2 price
The Apple Watch Series 2 price is a little more expensive than the first Watch launch price a year-and-a-half ago and way more than the currently discounted Apple Watch price.
It costs $369 in the US, £369 in the UK and AU$529 in Australia. That’s going to make the new Apple Watch a hard sell to anyone who isn’t a fitness diehard and obsessed with getting that GPS chip in their watch.
The good news is that Apple is going to continue to sell the Apple Watch with the same faster processor for a cheaper price. Dubbed Apple Watch a Series 1, it’ll cost $269 (£269, AU$399) for the entry-level Sport Edition.
Built-in GPS chip
The Apple Watch Series 2 allows you to leave behind your iPhone – at least on runs – now that it includes a GPS chip inside the casing.
There’s no need to have the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus jiggling around in your gym shorts or hold it in your sweaty hands. You can also throw away that annoying and equally sweaty rubberized arm band meant for runs.
The company showed off the ability to record runs from the Apple Watch Series 2 and display a map on your iPhone for real-time viewing. It’s complete with slow and fast colors to indicate your speed.
You won’t be able to ditch the Apple Watch for everyday use since it doesn’t have cellular capabilities, but this is definitely a start, and it’s a good sign of a completely tetherless Apple Watch in the future.
The Apple Watch Series 2 is waterproof up to 50 meters down, meaning you can go swimming with this smartwatch. The Series 2 even launches at the same time as a new swimming app.
Apple warns that you shouldn’t go scuba diving with this watch. This is in no way a divers watch, but it will survive just fine in shallow water. All of your laps in the pool finally count toward your fitness goal rings.
What’s really neat here is that the Apple Watch Series 2 flushes water out of its speaker grill – the only open portion of the watch
Apple Watch Series 2 has a water lock capability within swimming section of its fitness app so that errant touches and splashes don’t constantly swipe away from the all-important screen.
Design and display
The Apple Watch Series 2 doesn’t look any different from the current Apple Watch at first glance, but look at the display, and you’ll notice a different. It’s a big upgrade in sunlight, according to Apple.
That’s because the Series 2 smartwatch features Apple’s second-generation display that’s twice as bright as the original Apple watch at 1,000 nits. You’ll have an easier time reading it in direct sunlight.
There’ll be a new finish: ceramic. It’ll join aluminum and stainless steel cases, with the ultra-expensive gold Apple Watch cases being retired in the upgrade to the Series 1 and Series 2.
And of course, you can’t get away from new Apple Watch Series 2 bands from Hermes and Nike. The Apple Watch Nike Plus is more than just a new band, it’s a special Apple Watch Series 2 designed for runners, with a silicone band and special watch faces that launches you right into a running app.
Of course, all Apple Watch Series 2 watches will launch with watchOS 3, Apple’s big software upgrade for all versions of the Apple Watch, and you’ll be able to play Pokemon Go.
Is Apple’s newest smartwatch worth the upgrade? Let’s look at all of the Apple Watch 2 features point-by-point.
No FaceTime camera
There was a lot of speculation floating around regarding an Apple Watch 2 with a FaceTime camera. It’s a natural assumption, as some Samsung watches have included a camera.
Notice: all of the camera rumors have evaporated and we’re heard there’s a good reason for that: Apple is focused on adding the GPS chip and, eventually, untethering the watch from the phone.
While the Apple Watch 2 doesn’t have a camera, it could be poised to get such an upgrade with the Apple Watch 3.
What’s being saved for Apple Watch 3?
There were rumors of very different Apple Watch cases outside of the new Ceramic build. This includes speculation about titanium, platinum and perhaps even Liquidmetal
But big design shifts are expected for Apple Watch 3. Future models could also have a new breed of smart band, as a recent patent application has been filed for a strap that has light fibres woven in.
This means you’ll be able to get notifications on your wrist – all the way around. Hopefully it won’t flash or be too overt – simply function as a second screen for more information than possible on the small screen.
Since cellular capabilities didn’t make it to the Apple Watch 2, you can bet that the company will make it a priority on a 2017 Apple Watch.
Article continues below