The Apple Watch debuted about 16 months ago and the time for a revamp has finally come. In typical Apple fashion, the new Apple Watch Series 2 looks nearly identical to the first-generation device although in practical terms it's been improved tremendously.
The Watch Series 2 packs a new dual-core SoC (called S2) that is 50% faster and brings up to 2x the graphics performance of its predecessor. A new brighter display is rated for up to 1,000 nits meaning it should work perfectly fine in direct sunlight.
The Series 2 is also "swim proof." It's water resistant for 50 meters and thus becomes an overall more competent fitness companion. Apple showed a video of a robot they used to test the watch's waterproofing that simulates someone swimming over years, so you don't have to worry about it breaking over time. Make no mistake, moving forward we'll rarely see smartwatches that do not offer waterproofing.
As was widely rumored, Watch Series 2 comes with a built-in GPS for accurate run/walk tracking, a feature other competitors and fitness trackers have been boasting about for quite some time. In fact, most of the software discussed in the announcement came with a focus on fitness and as an extension of that, Apple's new partnership with Nike.
The Apple Watch Nike+ Edition comes with a sporty perforated rubber band, custom watch face and software shortcuts that will come especially handy to runners. You might recall Nike stopped making the "FuelBand" fitness tracker years ago after big initial success. Now they are partnering with Apple and not coincidentally Tim Cook sits on Nike's board.
Apple's updated smartwatch platform watchOS 3 is also set for release this month. The wearables OS has been on beta since June promising better performance and new stock apps, though undoubtedly the new hardware will certainly be a better match for new advanced features.
There was no mention whatsoever about battery life.
The Watch Series 2 is set to arrive September 16 for $369 for the basic aluminum model. The Nike+ version will also be $369 but coming later in October. The original Watch will still be offered, renamed to Series 1, and will get the upgraded dual core SoC for $269.
In addition to aluminum and stainless steel, there is a new white ceramic watch edition that Apple says is 4x harder than steel. Oh, and Pokemon Go is coming to the watchOS platform, too, which may be a big incentive for some users, I guess.