Apple Watch Series 2 emerges to jump-start smartwatch market -- again

The company's latest smartwatch comes nearly a year and a half after the original hit the market.

Erin Carson Former Senior Writer
Erin Carson covered internet culture, online dating and the weird ways tech and science are changing your life.
Expertise Erin has been a tech reporter for almost 10 years. Her reporting has taken her from the Johnson Space Center to San Diego Comic-Con's famous Hall H. Credentials
  • She has a master's degree in journalism from Syracuse University.
Erin Carson
3 min read
Enlarge Image

The Apple Watch Series 2 looks just about the same as the first iteration. The changes are on the inside.


Apple gets a second shot at winning over your wrist.

The company on Wednesday unveiled the Apple Watch Series 2, the follow-up to its original smartwatch, which hit the market nearly a year and a half ago.

The wearable device hasn't seen much of an update since its introduction, except for the addition of new wristbands and improvements to its operating software, or WatchOS. WatchOS 3 made its debut at WWDC in June, featuring a better interface, better fitness tracking capabilities and faster performance.

The Apple Watch Series 2, priced at $369, looks just about the same as its predecessor. The main changes are on the inside. For instance, the new generation will be waterproof up to 50 meters (164 feet).

"You can wear it whether you're swimming, surfing or doing that casual cannonball," said Apple's chief operating officer, Jeff Williams. Apple built a simulator to test the watch's endurance through the equivalent of years of swimming.

The Apple Watch Series 2 will also have a dual-core processor, up to 50 percent faster than its predecessor. A new GPU will offer 2x graphics performance, and the display will be 2x brighter. Williams said it's the brightest display ever shipped on a product.

Also in line with the rumors preceding the event, Apple Watch Series 2 will have a built-in GPS.

The new Apple Watch will come in aluminum, stainless steel and a new white ceramic finish, which Williams called the ultimate combination of strength and beauty as it's 4x harder than stainless steel.

If you're a runner, you might like to know that Apple is partnering with Nike on the Apple Watch Nike Plus, priced at $369. It's got a silicon strap, aluminum case and features made for runners, like a display showing distance and pace nice and big. If you want more detail, there's a mode for that. And the watch will even remind users to run.

In a way, the original Apple Watch is getting something of an update too. For $269, you can get the Apple Watch Series 1 with the new processor. Preorders start September 9, and both will be available September 16, with the Nike model available later in October.

After a bit of a lull, the wearables market appears to be heating up again with Apple entering the fray. Last week, Samsung unveiled its Gear S3 smartwatch at the IFA trade show in Berlin. As they are in phones, Apple and Samsung are the top two players in the smartwatch market, according to IDC.

Not that it's a particularly large market yet. Apple hasn't released sales numbers for the Apple Watch, but in July, research firm IDC put out a report saying the global smartwatch market declined for the first time, with shipments falling 32 percent. IDC estimated Apple shipped 1.6 million watches. An IDC report out Tuesday estimated Apple Watch sales fell 56.7 percent last quarter from the previous year.

Though the tech industry touts wearables as one of the hottest trends, consumers have been more cautious. There remain questions about their usefulness, and people have complained about their unwieldy size and short battery life.

Apple is hoping to change minds with its latest offering.