A watch is something you keep for several years and oftentimes pass down through generations. When it comes to gadgets though, they become outdated in just a few years.
On September 7, 2016, Apple announced its follow-up to the Apple Watch, which it's calling “Series 2.” The new smartwatch line is available on September 16, and Apple wants to get one on your wrist.
When we tested the original Apple Watch in April 2015, we found that it didn't have the best battery life, is relatively slow and has a steep learning curve. We said the Apple Watch was for early adopters and people who deal with lots of notifications and always want to be connected. Although we praised the watch for its solid construction, we criticized it for its sluggishness, expensive price and lack of GPS.
The latest iteration of the Apple Watch alleviates some of our complaints.
Like the original Apple Watch, the Series 2 has different variations of watchcases and wrist straps to choose from. The anodized aluminum model with a glass screen is the most affordable – coming in at $369. The midrange model, which is made from stainless steel and has a sapphire display, starts at $549. Apple chose to do away with its most luxurious model, the $10,000 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition. Instead of solid gold, the Series 2 Apple Watch Edition will have a ceramic case and cost $1,249. Apple has again collaborated with luxury goods manufacturer Hermes and, most recently, Nike to sell Apple Watches that feature special edition watchbands. These special versions will be available in the fall.
All Series 2 watches have built-in GPS and a water resistance rating of up to 50 meters. This means the new Apple Watch can be worn in swimming pools, the ocean and the shower.
The watches feature a newer, faster dual-core processor, which Apple says provides up to 50 percent faster performance than the original Apple Watch. The GPU has also been updated, doubling the graphics performance. This especially will come in handy for the recently announced "Pokemon Go" Apple Watch app. Apple also updated its aluminum Series 1 smartwatch by replacing its S1 processor with a brand new S2 chip. It will cost $269.
Additionally, the Series 2 Apple Watch has an improved 1000-nit OLED Retina display. The screen resolution remains the same, but it's twice as bright as the first-generation Apple Watch – making it the brightest display on any device Apple has ever shipped. A brighter display means the Apple Watch is easier to read outdoors, especially in direct sunlight.
We are excited to get our hands on the Series 2 Apple Watch to see if performance and battery life have improved for this newer model. Apple claims the smartwatch gets 18 hours of battery life – the same as the first-generation Apple Watch. Further tests will determine if the faster processor and better GPU improve the experience significantly and if the added GPS and brighter screen hinder battery life.
Be sure to check out our full review of the Series 2 Apple Watch after it is released on September 16.