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As we’ve been hearing from the rumor mill during the weeks leading up to Apple’s “See You on the 7th!” special media event yesterday, the Cupertino-company’s second-generation wearable — now known as Apple Watch Series 2 — was officially unveiled to much fanfare.
And while any Apple product refresh typically features several evident, and other not so evident, upgrades over its predecessor, some might be wondering what the Watch Series 2 can actually do that the original Apple Watch can’t.
And so, with those sentiments in mind, we decided to break all of the disparities down for you — in hopes that all of you Apple Watch hopefuls out there will be able to make a more informed decision about which of Cupertino’s wrist-hugging super computers is right for you.
As far as the Watch and Watch Series 2’s design is pertinent, the latter is essentially a carbon copy of the former. Everything from the device’s size, shape, and thickness, to the iconic Digital Crown, side button, and material composition, is exactly the same on both of them.
Also worth noting, for better or for worse, is that Apple has discontinued its $10,000+ Watch Edition — and, in lieu of that unreasonably priced, top-tier configuration, Apple’s Watch Series 2 will be offered in a new, $1,249 Ceramic material — which the company has touted as being about 400% stronger than stainless-steel.
Your original Apple Watch bands will work seamlessly with the Apple Watch Series 2, however, and a few new HERMES bands will be joining the ever-evolving litany of band offerings this year.
The two devices’ waterproofing, however, is where they vary slightly. Whereas the original Apple Watch is “splash proof” (featuring the same IP67 certification as the new iPhone 7), the Apple Watch Series 2 kicks things up a notch — ushering in the era of what Apple is calling a “swim proof” design. In practical terms, what this means is that the Watch Series 2 will still function, even when submerged under water at depths up to 50 meters (about 164 feet), which is pretty darn deep, I’d say. Also, Apple touted on stage yesterday how the Watch Series 2’s internal speaker has been reengineered so that it will be able to eject any water that seeps in while you’re swimming, diving, etc., once you get out of the water and dry it off.
Of course, by far the greatest advancements have materialized under-the-hood. Apple’s original Watch features the company’s home-brewed S1 SoC, which is largely based on Apple’s A-series silicon. Yet the Apple Watch Series 2 kicks things up a few notches — introducing the all-new S2 SoC, featuring a powerful new dual-core processor that Apple is claiming to be 50% faster than the S1, coupled with a graphics processor (GPU) that’s about 100% faster than the S1’s. And thus, the Watch Series 2 is capable of rendering apps at an impressive 60 frames per second refresh rate.
Also worth noting is that the Apple Watch Series 2’s screen is approximately twice as bright as the original Watch. Featuring a whopping 1000 nits of brightness, this increase will result in users being able to read the Watch Series 2’s display even under broad sunlight conditions.
A GPS chip, which is inherently lacking from the original Apple Watch, will also be on board the Watch Series 2. The chip will aid in both GPS mapping on Apple’s second-generation wearable, as well as in the more accurate tracking of your fitness activities in conjunction with the revamped Health app coming soon to watchOS 3.
Also, regarding watchOS 3: Apple Watch Series 2 will be shipping with it pre-installed, while the original Watch is pinned for an update later on this month. To learn more about all the great features coming to watchOS 3, feel free to check out our recent report of the forthcoming OS.
Finally, while we’ve heard lots of rumors about a bigger battery coming to the Watch Series 2, Apple made no mention of any battery changes during yesterday’s keynote. And therefore, just for the sake of not feeding you false information, we’ll just go ahead and assume that the Watch Series 2 will feature the same “all day” battery performance as the original Apple Watch.
In terms of pricing and availability: Apple Watch Series 2 will be available for pre-order starting tomorrow, September 9th — for a flat $369 — with the first units shipping next Friday the 16th. As for the original Apple Watch, which has since been updated with the new S2 CPU (and nothing else), the price, in typical Apple fashion, has fallen $100 to a modest $269.
Are you planning on picking up an Apple Watch Series 2? Let us know in the comments!