A few thoughts on the Apple Watch Series 2

by Volker Weber


Since I am an active Apple Watch user, I got a lot of questions after yesterday's keynote. Some thoughts inspired by those questions.

  1. Do you need to upgrade from the original watch? For most people that is a definite no.

  2. GPS. That is the big thing people have been waiting for. It allows the watch to track you without an iPhone. That comes at a cost. GPS most likely is the top battery burner in a device that small. Apple says workouts can last up to five hours with GPS on. You probably need a full charge to go that distance and then return with an empty watch.

  3. Battery life. An original watch lasts about a day and a half on a charge. Having 40% left at night is a bummer. It does not last two days, and it could have burnt more during the day. That is going to happen with watchOS 3. My limited tests so far seem to back up my suspicion that the watch becomes more aggressive on the battery.

  4. WatchOS 3. That is a beautiful update coming to your watch next week. It's like an all new watch. I am not going to list all the details that you can read on Apple.com.

  5. Waterproofing. The original Watch and Watch Series 1 are splash-proof, Watch Series 2 are swim-proof. I never had any water damage with the original Watch, although I clean it under running water. I would however take it off when jumping into a pool.

  6. Brighter display. That may be the most useful feature in Series 2. I am often outside and it's between difficult and impossible to read Apple Watch in direct sunlight. More brightness helps. If you are mostly inside and sun isn't available where you live, you won't notice a difference.

Again, upgrade or not? If you spend much time around water or in the sun, yes. If you do short workouts up to an hour, without your phone, yes. For all others: upgrade the software next week and enjoy a new watch.

For those buying a new Apple Watch: 42mm is always right for men, 38 for women. Apple Watch is smaller than you expect. Sports Band is my favorite, some prefer the Nylon weave. You can buy the cheapest model without sacrificing anything. I always recommend getting the newest version though. That would make it the Series 2 aluminium model.


A side comment. I bought the Space Black Sport and each time I see your Stainless Steel I realise I made a mistake.

Ian Bradbury, 2016-09-08

An upgrade is tempting. Just for the swimming options. In particular for open water sessions. The GPS tracking can show you how good or bad you are in navigating. Though it was possible to have an app running on the iPhone while it is stored in the safer swimmer behind, I never did it because of the hassles of all moments involved. Yes, I have tested and used dedicated swimming watches like the Garmin or Suunto ones. But then I have to deal with 2 watches as these sport watches are not really day-to-day watches. Let's see what dcrainmaker finds out next week.

Federico Hernandez, 2016-09-08

Ian, Stainless Steel with Milanese Loop is $699, Space Gray Aluminum Case with Black Sport Band is $399 (Series 2) or $299 (Series 1). And they all do the exact same thing, and look good while doing it.

Volker Weber, 2016-09-08

Had the same thoughts, I will enjoy my "vintage" 42 mm Aluminum Silver model. Thanks Volker.

Dirk Bartkowiak, 2016-09-08

Regarding stainless steel vs aluminium: For me the argument for the steel watch would be the much more scratch resistant saphire glass.

Michael Schnatmann, 2016-09-08

Dirk, having the original is always cool. You were among the first. :-)

Michael, good point. My glass hasn't scratched. And I have seen both breaking after a fall.

Volker Weber, 2016-09-08

I will be upgrading, just not sure which version. And yes, the Hermes line. I think the screen is a big enough reason for me.

John Head, 2016-09-08

I am pretty sure I will upgrade from Aluminimum Space Black / Sports to the same flavor as Watch 2. Boring, but I like the design most.

When I purchased the original, I was worried that the AL's glass would scratch easily. It did not. I am wearing the AW each day, also when gardening and DIYing (I have to admit, at these occasions I do cover it with a sweatband as cheap but effective protection).

I am keen on the swimming option, making my Polar Flow obsolete.

I hope that GPS may be switched off to get some more battery life (or at least, that it will be deactivated automatically when AW detects it is just connected to an iPhone).

Sven Bühler, 2016-09-08

I've not really paid attention to the watch, but I just read a little.

I wonder if my understanding is correct: the Hermes and Edition versions are essentially a standard Apple watch with different straps (OK, OK, there are some additional faces in the Hermes software)… yet they cost over *three times* the price of said normal Apple watch??

As if there was any doubt: Apple are very good at marketing :-D

Ben Poole, 2016-09-08

@Ben - do you know what a Hermes purse (Birkin, Kelly, etc.) goes for these days? Or a silk scarf? Apple teamed with one of the best in luxury markups :)

John Head, 2016-09-08

Ben, I have to do the talk now. Go to wickedweasel.com and see what you can charge for a tiny bit of fabric. :-)

Volker Weber, 2016-09-08

I get the mark-up. I'm just very impressed at tripling the price. Crikey!

(Oh, and uh thanks for that link Volker… :-) )

Ben Poole, 2016-09-08

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