Today Apple presents, together with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 plus, its new version of the Apple Watch, called the Apple Watch series 2, while the version that was previously on sale will be reduced in price and called the Apple Watch series 1.
Apple has focused almost all of the new watch presentation on sports and the changes they have made to their device to make it more sports-oriented. And this should be a concern for the brands that reign in the GPS watch market right now. But do they have any real reason to be worried? Well, let's see what these new features are and then I'll give you my opinion.
What's New in the Apple Watch 2 Series
The new Apple Watch series 2, more than a new model, is an evolution of the first one. Not because there are no important changes, which there are (and important), but because aesthetically and functionally everything remains the same. At first sight you will not be able to distinguish a series 1 from a series 2 and, in fact, the first version also inherits the processor of the new one. But more about that in a moment.
There are four main new features in the second evolution of the Apple Watch, all for the better.
- Water resistant and submersible up to 50m depth, with support for swimming activities in pool and open water
- GPS satellite reception added
- New processor, including new, more powerful graphics GPU
- Brighter screen
This is precisely the first point to which they have devoted more time, since the first version of the Apple Watch (now called Series 1) was only splash-proof, so no getting in the shower with it and of course you had to forget about swimming with it. Well, all that has changed.
Apple has redesigned the clock, adding the necessary seals at critical points where water leaks can occur.
All but one, the speaker, because a speaker cannot be sealed, as it needs to move air to operate, so they have had to redesign the location and operation of the speaker, and in the new version, each time you finish a training session, the speaker will expel all the water from the space reserved for it by means of vibrations.
In the presentation they first showed the first version of the Apple Watch, along with the problem with its design and how it could affect the sound.
Comparing it to the new Series 2 and its method of expelling water that may remain in the speaker's cavity, the speaker will vibrate, forcing the water to leave the room reserved for it.
Not only will there be a swimming pool mode (counting lengths thanks to the use of the accelerometer), but also open water swimming which, although not specified, will presumably use the GPS for distance calculation (because simply counting strokes the distance covered can be very variable).
They've also talked about their sports testing lab and tests on more than 700 swimmers to get a calorie calculation algorithm. But unless they use the optical pulse sensor during swimming, the algorithm will miss the most important part of calculating it correctly: exercise intensity.
The next important point is the new GPS chip incorporated in the new model. There is no other specification about it; we do not know if it is GLONASS compatible or what is the recording rate (if it is 1 second like the main competitors in the industry or "smart" recording to save battery).
What they have confirmed is that developers will be able to access GPS, so there may be third-party applications that integrate its functionality into Apple's clock (Strava, I'm thinking of you).
However, Apple will have a basic analysis of the activity on iPhone, where you can view maps with the route in a different color to highlight the points where you've run the fastest.
Finally, Apple has teamed up with Nike to create a specific version of the Apple Watch, called the Apple Watch Nike +.
This edition is specially designed for runners and includes a specific Nike application, called Nike+ (which you may already know through the apps available for iOS and Android). The application does not provide anything special, just being integrated with Nike's services, providing motivation and including the social aspect of it.
It also has a different strap from the traditional Apple one, with a slightly more sporty design. And it will also be available in different colours.
Otherwise, it's still the same clock. In fact, I would bet that in not much time we will see that application in any Apple Watch. Nike is not particularly interested in the number of hardware sales, what they are interested in is the largest number of users within their platform.
Apple Watch series 2, availability and price
The new Apple Watch series 2 can be booked from September 9 in a number of countries, including Spain (unlike the first version, which had to wait several months to see it in our country).
On the other hand, the Nike+ version will take a little longer to reach the market and we will have to wait until the end of October to get it, I guess because Nike has to finish preparing the specific app for the watch.
As for the price, the series 2 will start from 439 euros for the version with 38mm aluminum case and 469 euros for the model with 42mm aluminum case, both with sport strap. The Nike+ version will have the same price as the normal version. And from there depending on the finish chosen: steel, ceramic, straps, etc.
The changes in the new version of the Apple Watch were what many of us were waiting for. The first model, at least in its sporty aspect, clearly sinned in two main aspects: the need to carry the phone with you to have GPS data and the fact that it was not waterproof.
Both have been solved in the new version, which was the most logical move. But apart from that, little else has changed. A new more powerful processor and a brighter screen. Those are the cards with which Apple was presented.
Will they be enough to shake up the segment dominated by more traditional brands such as Garmin or Suunto? Well, it depends, because I also think there are brands that will even be grateful after this presentation.
At Polar, they've probably uncorked the champagne. M600 were ahead of the game in introducing a smart watch for running, in this case with Android Wear. While the price difference in the U.S. is small ($329.95 for the M600, from $369 the Apple Watch series 2), in Europe is much higher, since from the 350 euros of the Polar we go to the 439 euros or 469 euros of the Apple model. And we must not forget that Europe is a more important market for Polar, where also Android has much more presence than in the U.S. (and unlike the Apple Watch, the Polar YES is compatible with iOS).
Garmin can be threatened in some of its ranges. The low or mid-range of watches for running or fitness activities (Forerunner 35, Forerunner 235 or Vivoactive HREven if there is a big price difference, many buyers will be willing to spend the extra difference for the added bonus of the Apple ecosystem; especially those more casual athletes who are not looking for the amount of data or analysis capabilities that Garmin can offer.
And let's not forget, the type of customer Apple has in mind when creating the Watch series 2 is not the competitive runner in stockings or marathons, it's simply the runner who goes jogging two or three times a week to keep fit or as a social activity, but who is not looking to follow a training plan to achieve a goal. For that, Apple needs much more than a GPS watch: it needs its own ecosystem, more advanced algorithms, more sensors in the watch and, in short, many years of hard work to be able to compete on a one-to-one basis with the higher ranges of Garmin.
Obviously manufacturers with multi-sport, or mountain-specific, or top-of-the-range watches have nothing to worry about. The Apple watch is not capable of doing an inch of what a Ambit3 Vertical or a Phoenix 3Neither for autonomy, nor for information (barometric altimeter and digital compass, for example), nor the possibilities of connecting to external sensors.
However, there is one manufacturer that should be worried, and a lot. It is none other than Fitbit, whose target customer is clearly the one Apple is looking for. And in the short term they will have it very complicated, given the mania of not providing their devices with mobile notifications beyond calls or SMS messages. Those who want a simpler device can find in the Charge 2 or Flex 2 something that fits him, but I predict a black future for him Blaze and the arises.Although it seems that Fitbit is starting to realize this since the Blaze will already be able to show all the notifications. In spite of that, it is in Fitbit where today's presentation will have sounded all the alarms. And there is still Google to present its new clocks.
And about if there will be a full test of the Apple Watch series 2... of course, the next day 9 I will be the first one to have the browser open at 9:01 booking a unit, so I can start with the tests soon and you can have the test available as soon as possible. The watch will be paid in full by me, so, as you know, it wouldn't be a bad idea to buy some support through the links I always give you :-).
Thanks for taking five minutes to read the article!