First look: Apple Watch Series 2 Sport with GPS, S2 chip, new ceramic back, second mic hole

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited September 2016
Though the new Apple Watch Series 2 looks largely the same as its predecessor, there are a number of subtle improvements to the hardware beyond the addition of GPS and a brighter screen. AppleInsider offers a first look at the newly released wearable.


Left: Apple Watch Series 2. Right: First-generation Apple Watch.


Most of the changes for the new second-generation Apple Watch are found on the inside, as highlighted by Apple in the product's announcement last week. Namely, they are a new waterproof design, as well as the inclusion of a GPS radio for pace and distance tracking while exercising.

Another standout feature is the improved display, which is twice as bright as the first-generation Apple Watch. Beyond these changes, however, there are a few other things Apple didn't specifically highlight in unveiling the Apple Watch Series 2.


Left: Apple Watch Series 2. Right: First-generation Apple Watch.


AppleInsider got their hands on a space gray Apple Watch Series 2 Sport with black nylon band on Friday. The back of the device has a few key changes over its predecessor, most noticeably silver rings around the lights and scanners that make up the device's heart rate monitor.

The text around it, too, reveals another change: The Series 2 watch now has a ceramic back, an improvement from the composite back of the first-generation model, and matching the material from the first-gen stainless steel and Edition models. The new Apple Watch Series 1 Sport with S1P dual-core chip retains the less expensive composite back.


Left: Apple Watch Series 2. Right: First-generation Apple Watch.


On the left side, the Apple Watch Series 2 reveals another change for this year's model: A second microphone hole has been added. Presumably this hardware revision will allow for better voice recognition for functions like Siri and fielding phone calls.

The Apple Watch Series 2 hardware is ever so slightly thicker than the 2015 model, though without placing the device side by side, most users would never even notice the difference. When worn on the wrist, the new Sport version looks essentially identical to its predecessor.


Left: Apple Watch Series 2. Right: First-generation Apple Watch.


The screen is also brighter on the new model, though admittedly we never found ourselves having serious issues with the clarity of the first-generation model.

As expected, virtually all accessories designed for the Apple Watch to date should work with the Series 2 version. That includes bands (both first- and third-party), as well as charging cables and docks.


Left: Apple Watch Series 2. Right: First-generation Apple Watch.


AppleInsider will have much more on the Apple Watch Series 2 in the coming days and weeks, including our full review of the new wearable.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29
    Does the Series 2 still have the mystery port where the strap connects to the watch?
  • Reply 2 of 29
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,033member
    1) It's actually 2.22x brighter if it's actually 450nt v 1000nt.

    2) I can't say the brightness was ever a factor for me in daylight, but I am happy that it's brighter a I prefer brighter displays, and for those that don't you get even better battery life if you maintain your current Watch display brightness as their battery life tests are based on a percentage of the range, if I recall correctly.

    3) The casing is noticeable thicker—which disproves at one person claiming that Apple must have made millions of cases that they weren't able to push on us iTards. I knew it was thicker, but wasn't sure that was because of a difference in the other elements like the bottom and/or top pieces.

    4) I can't say the thickness was ever an issue (except with some tailored long-sleeve shirts with tighter cuffs) but en looks and feels great on the wrist, but with how sensitive and precise our appendages can be, like with touch or walking up stairs, I don't think it's impossible that some will find they are hit It on things more easily. If that happens than either return it or adapt, but I beg of you not to bitch and moan. Finally, so what happened to this claim that Apple is only concerned about thinness. Note: this isn't even close to the YoY change where they've made a device thicker. The iPhone has plenty of them because the internal components required it.

    5) The ceramic back on the aluminum models nee Apple Watch Sport is interesting. I didn't notice that during the event. I assume the top is still GG, not sapphire. I can't say the back was ever a problem or even noticed. If it's lighter or allows for better radio transparency, or better inductive charging, that's great, but in reality I don't think I ever thought of the bottom once, and likely won't for this model. More ceramic use is interesting. I wonder if the antenna bands will be ceramic in the next iPhone. Simpler and cheaper cut than using it for the entire iPhone, while still getting to test it in the device.

    6) Two mics are nice, but I'm not alone in thinking that Siri works better from Apple Watch, even though it's pushing the audio data to the iPhone to Siri servers for the speech-to-text to be converted in iOS 9.x and watchOS 1.x-2.x. I wonder if watchOS will ever get the on-board Siri language processing that is on iOS 10.
  • Reply 3 of 29

    " The new Apple Watch Series 1 Sport with S2 chip"

    The new Series 1 Watch does not have the S2 chip. It contains the S1P chip. S2 has the built in GPS. The S1P has the dual core processor and upgraded GPU only.

    http://www.apple.com/ca/watch/compare/

    edited September 2016 Soliireland
  • Reply 4 of 29
    Do any of the Series 2 models retain the sapphire crystal? 
  • Reply 5 of 29
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,033member
    despeck said:
    Do any of the Series 2 models retain the sapphire crystal? 
    Doing a spot check, it looks like the ceramic and stainless steel models have sapphire, while the aluminium models still contain Ion-X glass.
  • Reply 6 of 29

    " The new Apple Watch Series 1 Sport with S2 chip"

    The new Series 1 Watch does not have the S2 chip. It contains the S1P chip. S2 has the built in GPS. The S1P has the dual core processor and upgraded GPU only.

    http://www.apple.com/ca/watch/compare/

    Good catch, thanks. Story is updated.
    jbishop1039freshmaker
  • Reply 7 of 29
    I'm glad Apple decided to poise this product as a model made specifically for a class of user that was mostly left out with AW1. There is very little they could have done to poise this as an upgrade for AW1 users.
  • Reply 8 of 29
    The Series 2 Watch does not have a "Sport" designation. It is differentiated by its case type - aluminum or stainless steel. I assume you are referring to the aluminum model.
    Thank you for the first look.
    ireland
  • Reply 9 of 29
    Soli said:

    6) Two mics are nice, but I'm not alone in thinking that Siri works better from Apple Watch, even though it's pushing the audio data to the iPhone to Siri servers for the speech-to-text to be converted in iOS 9.x and watchOS 1.x-2.x. I wonder if watchOS will ever get the on-board Siri language processing that is on iOS 10.


    I concur. I've never got it wrong whenever I've used Siri to dictate messages or dial numbers from my Watch. And these are Indian names, so bonus points to Siri for parsing those correctly.

    watto_cobracali
  • Reply 10 of 29
    Be on the lookout for Samsung new watch which promises you'll never need matches again. Just pres any button and voila a fire will start. And in just one month the all new and improved Galaxy Asbestos edition. For when you just gotta charge it but don't feel like burning your house down.
    watto_cobracaliirelandGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 11 of 29
    GPS and waterproof is nice, the additional thickness and weight (11.4 mm and 34.2 gr., ouch...) isn't.
    It is still not useable as a sports watch.
    Its interesting to see that Apple shows the watch with screen on in its ads but it's always off in actual use.
    If you see it on someone's arm it looks like a dead empty window, and that's as unstylish as you can get (in every fashion era); real watches have a clock face that's always on and shows the most important design part.
    So, maybe in 6 years time Apple has the right specs: 5 mm (or less) thickness, a month battery life and a clock face that's always on.
    Remember that last years watch didn't include GPS and everyone having a problem with that was insane ...
    cali
  • Reply 12 of 29
    calicali Posts: 3,494member
    Did Series 2 launch sales not do good?

    It launched same day as iPhone 7 but it seemed everyone was in line for iPhone only. Contrast this with iPad 2 which had humongous lines for that product only.

    I hope I'm wrong as I want Apple Watch to be the new iPod.
  • Reply 13 of 29
    cali said:
    Did Series 2 launch sales not do good?

    It launched same day as iPhone 7 but it seemed everyone was in line for iPhone only. Contrast this with iPad 2 which had humongous lines for that product only.

    I hope I'm wrong as I want Apple Watch to be the new iPod.
    Ipad 2 was a more general use product and distribution was more limited at that time than the watch is now, thus more people in line.
    A lot of people seemingly order the Watch online.
    In fact, Apple seems to be discouraging people from waiting in lines.
  • Reply 14 of 29
    TurboPGT said:
    I'm glad Apple decided to poise this product as a model made specifically for a class of user that was mostly left out with AW1. There is very little they could have done to poise this as an upgrade for AW1 users.


    If you are referring to the 'class of user' called "runner" (or similar):  it is not 'poised' that way, it is a definite step forward in eliminating deficiencies that pushed those users away from the Apple Watch and toward activity trackers such as Fitbit and Garmin watches -- which met needs that the Apple Watch could not.   I think Apple still has a ways to go to meet the needs of those athletes (particularly gym rats, martial artists and yoga practitioners) -- but it nevertheless came a long way with Apple Watch 2 and Watch OS3.

    Actually, I think, the biggest improvement was not in the hardware but in the OS:   the new OS opened up the watch's sensors (such as heart rate) to third party apps.   Those apps run exceedingly well on the IPhone -- but were near worthless on the Apple Watch without access to heart rate.  Now, third party apps have parity with Apple's health/exercise trackers (which themselves were significantly improved).  So, the biggest improvements will be seen over the coming months as third party apps start to take advantage of the features of the watch and its OS.

  • Reply 15 of 29
    knowitall said:
    GPS and waterproof is nice, the additional thickness and weight (11.4 mm and 34.2 gr., ouch...) isn't.
    It is still not useable as a sports watch.
    Its interesting to see that Apple shows the watch with screen on in its ads but it's always off in actual use.
    If you see it on someone's arm it looks like a dead empty window, and that's as unstylish as you can get (in every fashion era); real watches have a clock face that's always on and shows the most important design part.
    So, maybe in 6 years time Apple has the right specs: 5 mm (or less) thickness, a month battery life and a clock face that's always on.
    Remember that last years watch didn't include GPS and everyone having a problem with that was insane ...


    How so is it not "useable as a sport watch"?
    True, it is far from perfect.  But this iteration (particularly the new OS) has made vast improvements in it that makes it fully competitive in every way with any fitness tracker out there.  Actually, the differences at this point are mostly down to personal preferences rather than actual capability.

    And, why does the watch face always have to be on?  What difference does that make when a twist of my wrist turns the display on faster than my eyes can focus?   And, for athletics, the color display is especially helpful because it helps make the individual metrics stand out from the others (for example, it's easier to distinguish pace from time if they are different colors.)

    macgui
  • Reply 16 of 29

    I would be interested in hearing more about the newer sensor with the silver ring (are they more accurate?) as well as the ceramic backs on the Series 2.  

    On the original watch the back was prone to scratches and scuffs -- probably when the watch was laid down on a table on its rear ceramic face and then dragged across the table as it was picked up again -- but many users blame it on the charger (which makes no sense to me).  Apple never admitted that those scuffs and scratches could affect the accuracy of the heart rate sensors -- but could they?   Doesn't scratched, scuffed window disperse the light the sensors rely on?   So, why the switch to a ceramic back on the high-end, athletic oriented Series 2? 

    Are the sensors more accurate and durable now with the silver rings and ceramic back?

  • Reply 17 of 29
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,033member
    knowitall said:
    It is still not useable as a sports watch.
    Name a smarter sports watch? As Gruber pointed out, he has to wait at stop lights when he jogs, which meant manually pausing and starting his running workouts if he wanted the times to be accurate. With Watch Series 2 (or maybe it's watchOS 3) it understands that he's stopped moving forward and pausing and starts the workout for him. 

    I haven't seen how Watch Series 2 registers swimming different laps, but since most other fitness bands don't have a swim function at all Watch Series 2 wins there.
    macgui
  • Reply 18 of 29
    knowitall said:
    GPS and waterproof is nice, the additional thickness and weight (11.4 mm and 34.2 gr., ouch...) isn't.
    It is still not useable as a sports watch.
    Its interesting to see that Apple shows the watch with screen on in its ads but it's always off in actual use.
    If you see it on someone's arm it looks like a dead empty window, and that's as unstylish as you can get (in every fashion era); real watches have a clock face that's always on and shows the most important design part.
    So, maybe in 6 years time Apple has the right specs: 5 mm (or less) thickness, a month battery life and a clock face that's always on.
    Remember that last years watch didn't include GPS and everyone having a problem with that was insane ...


    How so is it not "useable as a sport watch"?
    True, it is far from perfect.  But this iteration (particularly the new OS) has made vast improvements in it that makes it fully competitive in every way with any fitness tracker out there.  Actually, the differences at this point are mostly down to personal preferences rather than actual capability.

    And, why does the watch face always have to be on?  What difference does that make when a twist of my wrist turns the display on faster than my eyes can focus?   And, for athletics, the color display is especially helpful because it helps make the individual metrics stand out from the others (for example, it's easier to distinguish pace from time if they are different colors.)

    For running a watch has to be (ultra)slim and ultra light. For cycling it also has to be on all the time (it's strapped to the bicycle in that case because it will kill you when it's on your arm).
    I strongly suspect that a long training - especially when cycling - will kill the battery before its finished ...
    The display isn't good enough when cycling in full sunlight, a $10 LCD will do a much better job.
    Doing long hikes is also out of the question because of battery life and display technology used.

    From a technological point of view Apple made some serious improvements and that's an indication to me that Apple can produce a usable sports watch in 6 years time.
    Chris13
  • Reply 19 of 29
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,033member
    knowitall said:
    For running a watch has to be (ultra)slim and ultra light. For cycling it also has to be on all the time (it's strapped to the bicycle in that case because it will kill you when it's on your arm).
    I strongly suspect that a long training - especially when cycling - will kill the battery before its finished ...
    The display isn't good enough when cycling in full sunlight, a $10 LCD will do a much better job.
    Doing long hikes is also out of the question because of battery life and display technology used.
    1) Being (ultra)slim makes no effective difference over being slim, or do you shave your body when you run to cut down on wind resistance?¡

    2) If you think Watch on your arm is unsafe, then that goes for all sports bands. If you can't just bike and have it on without looking it every 5 seconds to check your performance, then get a proper bike computer.

    3) I can go 2 days with my Watch. I'm pretty sure you don't bike for 12+ hours in a single session.

    4) 1000nt it's bright enough? Note that it's not the LCD that supplies the brightness to the display, but the backlight. What $10 LCD with presumably an LED backlight would you replace the Watch Series 2's OLED display with?

    5) Watch Series 1 will last many days on a single charge. I've personally tested this. Since I was in the mountains with no cellular coverage I enabled BT mode on the Watch and turned off my iPhone. If you are lucky enough to have a cellular connection, then bring a small battery backup which will give you more than enough changes and/or use solar.
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 20 of 29
    Soli said:
    knowitall said:
    For running a watch has to be (ultra)slim and ultra light. For cycling it also has to be on all the time (it's strapped to the bicycle in that case because it will kill you when it's on your arm).
    I strongly suspect that a long training - especially when cycling - will kill the battery before its finished ...
    The display isn't good enough when cycling in full sunlight, a $10 LCD will do a much better job.
    Doing long hikes is also out of the question because of battery life and display technology used.


    5) Watch Series 1 will last many days on a single charge. I've personally tested this. Since I was in the mountains with no cellular coverage I enabled BT mode on the Watch and turned off my iPhone. If you are lucky enough to have a cellular connection, then bring a small battery backup which will give you more than enough changes and/or use solar.
    I m really wondering how long can last a series two with the gps on if you are running or walking. I m regularly running 1h/1h30 i m affraid to cannot have a full day of use and an a sport activity.


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