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I just finished reading my eighth article talking about why the Apple Watch is doomed to fail and how buying one is silly. And I’m thinking, did they watch the same announcement today that I did?
The Apple Watch Series 2 that I saw Tim Cook show off might look the same on the outside, but it’s a whole different animal with built-in GPS, a much faster chip and more nits for a brighter screen. (More on nits in a moment mostly because I like the word nits.)
The public, and by the public I mostly mean the media, can’t seem to grasp the age-old adage about judging a book by its cover. There’s a reason we shouldn’t do it and this is a prime example. Just like the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, the changes are mostly under the hood and they are awesome. You don’t have to see them to know they’re in there.
And believe me when I tell you friends that with the Apple Watch it’s all in there.
I’m the same person who wrote not that long ago that when I forget my Apple Watch on my nightstand that I won’t go back for it. When I buy a Series 2 (yes, I said when) I’ll go back if I forget it. What’s inside this version completely changes the game.
Before you decide whether or not to buy, allow me to share my favorite parts of Apple Watch Series 2.
WatchOS 3: This update to the Apple Watch software will run on your old Watch and the new ones, and in fairness it will even make your old one faster. But combine the power of watchOS 3 with updated hardware and this smartwatch is going to feel smart and you’ll feel like a genius for making the decision to buy.
Water, water everywhere: Goodbye, simply splash resistant. Apple Watch Series 2 is water resistant to 50 meters, and Apple explained they did a huge amount of laboratory testing to make sure. The technology is awesome (they use the speaker port, which has to be open, to eject the excess water.) If you are an avid swimmer or just want to take a shower without panicking when you realize as you put shampoo in your hand that you are still wearing it (please don’t judge me) then you’ll want this version of the Watch. That said, Apple mentions in the fine print that it should not be used while scuba diving or waterskiing and that stainless steel and leather bands are not water resistant.
Warp speed, captain: A new dual‑core processor makes everything snappier, and as I mentioned before combine that with WatchOS 3 for a real treat.
The GPS is built in: The world was pretty let down when Apple released the original Watch that relied almost fully on the iPhone to function. Now with GPS built in, you can go for a run without your phone (if you’re into that sort of thing). What remains to be seen, however, is how well the GPS works. We know from using other watches with GPS that the most annoying thing can be waiting for a signal to be acquired. Today’s demonstration made it clear that this GPS should just work, but the jury is still out whether even Apple, which is known for things that just work, can make this work. My gut says it can.
More nits: See? It’s fun, right? Nits is simply a measure of brightness (I’m sure that’ll be a Jeopardy clue someday) and the Series 2 is measured at 1000 nits, more than twice as bright as the original at 450 nits. I am excited about this feature alone because looking at an Apple Watch in the sun right now is far from fun.
Much of the rest is the same. Same 18-hour battery life, same Wi-Fi, same Bluetooth, same sizes, same heart rate sensor, same Digital Crown. It looks the same because for the most part it is the same. And that’s how Apple rolls, right? Look at the iPhone. Everyone wants a redesign but they fail to realize it’s what under the hood that matters. Nothing different here. If you really want to tell the world that you are wearing a Series 2, you can opt for the special Nike Plus edition which has big bold Nike font text on the screen and a band with holes in it, accented with that familiar Nike swoosh (bright green color).
Unlike the iPhone 7, which kept the same price points as the iPhone 6s, the Apple Watch Series 2 will cost a bit more depending on the model you choose. The Series 1, which is basically the old model with the added dual core processor, starts at $269 while the Series 2 starts at $100 more at $369. Remember, with the new version you’re getting the water resistance and the GPS, so if you are buying a new Watch it really doesn’t make sense to buy Series 1. $100 is more than fair for those changes.
But there’s one more thing, that Apple surprise like only Apple can pull off. After so much fanfare the first time around along with so much mockery, Apple has discontinued the gold Apple Watch Edition which ran as expensive as $17,000 and replaced it with a much more affordable, and in my opinion beautiful, ceramic Apple Watch Edition that starts at $1249. It only comes in white, although you can change the band if you want. All in all, it sounds like an absolutely stunning complement to the jet black iPhone 7. It’s so beautiful that if I thought Apple wouldn’t be releasing new hardware every year I might actually spend $1200 on it.
Are you sold? Are you buying a new Apple Watch?
If I haven’t pushed you to buy, there’s still something to get excited about. Just like with the iPhone, where non-upgraders can feel like they did by simply installing iOS 10, you can just update to watchOS 3 on the 13th, which as mentioned previously will make all versions of the Apple Watch faster and smarter. An activity dock will replace the friends wheel and make loading the apps you need much faster. You’ll be able to add cool animations to messages. You can even respond to a message by “scribbling” on the screen, despite its tiny size. There are new Watch faces and even a new app called Breathe that, along with move, exercise and stand, is a way to calm yourself and feel better. I’m a big fan of telling people to take a deep breath and calm down, and now you can do it with Apple’s approval.
And if a super cool smartwatch with super cool wireless headphones isn’t super cool enough for you, remember that this watch will play Pokemon.
There you Go.
What are your thoughts on the Apple Watch announcements? Tweet me at @scottkleinberg and @iDropNews and let’s talk.