Apple Watch Series 2 Impressions: Iterative Design, but Ceramic Impresses and Fitness Shows Promise

Alongside the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, the Apple Watch Series 2 was a major hardware announcement at Apple's media event in San Francisco yesterday. The company pivoted slightly from the Apple Watch's original, fashion-focused unveiling, this time focusing on the internals of Series 2, and what it can do to push Apple forward in the fitness tracking category.

As journalists got hands-on time with Apple Watch Series 2 after yesterday's event, a handful of impressions have surfaced online surrounding the new wearable device. Since most of its features are activity-focused (swimming, running, etc.), opinions on how the new Apple Watch functions under these conditions were left to speculation, but otherwise the resounding takeaway appeared to be that Apple has successfully innovated in areas where Series 1 lacked, despite the fact that extended battery and a slight design change would have been welcome.

apple-watch-series-23

Images via The Verge

Starting off with the most expensive Ceramic Apple Watch Edition, which runs for $1249 (38mm) and $1299 (42mm), Wareable noted that the ceramic finish "felt smooth and light to the touch" and was "more attractive in real life." The case was also reflective of more light in comparison to aluminum and stainless steel, but given Series 2's ultra-bright display, it doesn't seem to be an issue. Ultimately, Wareable sees Series 2 as Apple's next step "to be taken seriously in the fitness sphere."

I strapped on the new Edition, which starts at a casual $1249. Apple claims ceramic is one of the toughest materials in the world, and it felt smooth and light to the touch. It's more light-reflective than I expected, and looks more attractive in real life than from the presentation's images, if you're a fan of the gently rounded cube display and chunky straps.

While Series 2 doesn't offer much for those longing for new designs, the under-the-hood changes are clear indications of Apple's desire to be taken as seriously in the fitness sphere as Garmin and Polar, while retaining its minimalist design.

The Verge compared the thickness of Series 1 with Series 2, noting that Series 2 is about one millimeter thicker than Series 1, "though you really have to look closely." The site also commented on the similar battery life of each Series -- 18 hours, according to Apple -- but retained any in-depth opinions on the new Apple Watch for a future review.


TechRadar gave one of the most detailed opinions on Series 2, commenting on the "simplicity" of the fitness-focused features in the device, which might also be its "greatest drawback." The site gives an example of the Apple Watch miscalculating the user's stroke during a swimming workout, and not being able to alter the data because the bare-bones workout app doesn't offer such a feature. TechRadar feared that "if you can't trust what you're seeing, then you'll come to disregard it as a training tool."

The big question is whether these changes are enough – sure, the fitness credentials are good, and a solid upgrade, but these are the things we were hoping to see last time around, rather than having to wait two years for.

But then again, the smartwatch market is incredibly turbulent, and while Apple never disclosed sales figures of its first Watch, it was certainly the best-selling device of its kind by an absolute street. The Apple Watch Series 2 builds on that success, comes with water resistance and fitness smarts and a brighter, more useful screen – but it's iterative again.

Focusing on one of the cheaper collections, SlashGear took a dive into the Apple Watch Nike+ Edition, which won't launch until sometime in late October. The site called the Nike-branded Apple Watch "extremely similar" to the rest of the Sport collections, noting that "it's relatively light on the wrist." Still, given the short time in the Apple event showroom, the site is unsure whether or not the Nike branding, exclusive watch faces, and Siri commands will all be enough to pick this edition over other models.

p1280751-650-80

Image via TechRadar

This version of the Apple Watch feels extremely similar to that of the rest of the series - especially since it's nearly identical save the Nike branding on its back and the new set of straps. It's relatively light on the wrist and the strap seems to fit well for a wide variety of wrists.

Whether or not this particular version of the watch will be worth buying over the standard Apple Watch, we can't quite yet tell. We'll have to give the whole lot a try before we can give any definitive answers.

As the September 16 launch date for Apple Watch Series 2 gets closer, we should begin seeing more detailed reviews and impressions of the device, particularly how Apple's claims of a truly swimproof smartwatch hold up in daily use. In the meantime, check out even more initial impressions of Series 2 from the sites below:

- The Next Web
- ZDNet
- Wired

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 8
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

nikhsub1 Avatar
79 months ago
Rolex started using ceramic for their bezels about a decade ago... they are virtually scratch proof but the can crack/shatter with a large enough impact. I suspect we will see some that do once the masses get them.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sasparilla Avatar
79 months ago
These changes will unlock the watch for alot of people that were holding back on Gen 1, particularly the waterproofing & GPS. It'll be interesting to see how sales go because of this.

I'll be getting one for the holidays just for the exercise aspect making it a replacement for my watch and fitbit.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jonnysods Avatar
79 months ago
I'll be ordering mine tonight...
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Supermule Avatar
79 months ago
Looks great! Im going to buy it for running :)
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Someone256 Avatar
79 months ago
Does the warranty cover water damage?
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lordofthereef Avatar
79 months ago
I liked the ceramic until I saw the price. $1,200 for a 42mm. Yikes! I was expecting (obviously wrongfully) in the realm of stainless. Guess I'll be grabbing a sport.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iphone 14 pro max vs 13 max 2

Camera Comparison: iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max

Thursday September 29, 2022 7:44 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max introduce some major improvements in camera technology, adding a 48-megapixel lens and low-light improvements across all lenses with the new Photonic Engine. We've spent the last week working on an in-depth comparison that pits the new iPhone 14 Pro Max against the prior-generation iPhone 13 Pro Max to see just how much better the iPhone 14 Pro Max can be. Subscrib ...
tony blevins car

Apple Procurement VP Departs Company After Vulgar TikTok Comment

Thursday September 29, 2022 12:38 pm PDT by
Tony Blevins, Apple's vice president of procurement, is set to depart the company after he made a crude comment about his profession in a recent TikTok video, reports Bloomberg. Blevins was in a video by TikTok creator Daniel Mac, who was doing a series on the jobs of people he spotted with expensive cars. After seeing Blevins in an expensive Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, Mac asked Blevins what ...
Dark Sky App Featured

Dark Sky Removed From iOS App Store Ahead of Upcoming Shutdown

Wednesday September 28, 2022 4:27 pm PDT by
The Dark Sky weather app that's owned by Apple is no longer available for download in the U.S. App Store, suggesting that it has been removed ahead of schedule. Apple acquired Dark Sky back in March 2020 and has since incorporated elements of the app into the Weather app available on the iPhone (and soon, the iPad). Dark Sky remained available for purchase as a standalone weather app...
adaptive transparency airpods pro

iOS 16.1 Beta Brings Adaptive Transparency to Original AirPods Pro

Thursday September 29, 2022 1:08 pm PDT by
The third beta of iOS 16.1 that was released earlier this week expands the Adaptive Transparency feature introduced with the second-generation AirPods Pro to the original AirPods Pro. As noted on Reddit, first-generation AirPods Pro owners who also have the AirPods beta software will now see an "Adaptive Transparency" toggle in the AirPods section of the Settings app. The 5A304A beta...
tim cook malala

Tim Cook: Not Too Long From Now, You'll Wonder How You Led Your Life Without AR

Thursday September 29, 2022 7:26 am PDT by
Speaking at Università Degli Studi di Napoli Federico II in Naples, Italy, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that not too long from today, people will wonder how they led a life without augmented reality, stressing the "profound" impact it will have on the not so distant future. At the university, Cook was awarded an Honorary Degree in Innovation and International Management and also sat down for a...
iPhone 15 to Switch From Lightning to USB C in 2023 feature sans arrow

Kuo: iPhone 14 Pro Max Popularity Could Lead to More Differentiation Between iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max

Wednesday September 28, 2022 10:22 am PDT by
Apple has seen high demand for the 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max, which could lead the company to further differentiate the next-generation iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Apple could add exclusive features to the iPhone 15 Pro Max in an effort to encourage more people to purchase the larger and more expensive device. Kuo last week said that Apple asked...
iOS 16 Wallpaper Spectrum Feature

Five Wallpaper Apps to Check Out for iOS 16's New Lock Screen Depth Effect

Thursday September 29, 2022 9:08 am PDT by
One of the biggest new features in iOS 16 is a completely redesigned iPhone Lock Screen. The new Lock Screen is entirely customizable, letting you change the colors and fonts, add widgets and new wallpapers, and more to make your iPhone uniquely yours. Of course, even before iOS 16, you could customize your Lock Screen with a wallpaper of your choice. iOS 16 takes the Lock Screen wallpaper...
apple watch ultra deuglify 1

Apple Watch Ultra User Mods Titanium Casing to 'Deuglify' Design

Tuesday September 27, 2022 8:05 am PDT by
An Apple Watch Ultra user has modified their new device's casing to add a brushed finish and remove the orange color of the Action Button in an effort to make it more visually appealing. The Apple Watch Ultra offers the first complete redesign of the Apple Watch since the product line's announcement in 2014, and while the design has been met with praise from many users, some have criticized...
mx mechanical keyboard logitech

Logitech Launches New 'Designed for Mac' Mice and Keyboards

Wednesday September 28, 2022 12:01 am PDT by
Logitech today announced the launch of several new mice and keyboards that have been developed for use with Apple's Macs, including Logitech's first mechanical keyboard that has been optimized for the Mac. The MX Mechanical Mini for Mac Keyboard has a keyboard layout designed for Macs, with tools to customize shortcuts with Logi Options+. The keyboard uses Tactile Quiet low-profile switches...
iphone 14 iphone 14 plus in hand feature

iPhone 14 Is Secretly Hiding a Beloved Mac Feature

Friday September 30, 2022 3:24 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models bring over a longstanding Mac feature, but the setting to enable it is off by default. The feature, which is actually a new accessibility option, allows the iPhone to play a startup chime like the Mac. When enabled, the sound comes alongside a new shutdown chime. The Mac has featured a startup chime since 1987's Macintosh II, and the iconic "bong"...