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 6
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
54 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)
Avatar
54 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)
Avatar
54 months ago
I'll be ordering mine tonight...
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
54 months ago
Looks great! Im going to buy it for running :)
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
54 months ago
Does the warranty cover water damage?
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
54 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)

Top Stories

First Impressions From New iPhone 12 and 12 Pro Owners

Thursday October 22, 2020 4:20 pm PDT by
It's already Friday, October 23, in Australia and New Zealand, which means some customers who purchased an iPhone 12 or 12 Pro already have their new devices in hand. We've seen dozens of reviews of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro from media sites, but now first impressions from regular Apple customers are available. Image via MacRumors reader Boardiesboi New iPhone 12 and 12 Pro owners are...

Early iPhone 12 Tests Show Ceramic Shield is Stronger and More Scratch Resistant Than iPhone 11 Glass

Friday October 23, 2020 1:21 pm PDT by
Apple's new iPhone 12 models are protected by a Ceramic Shield cover glass that has nano-ceramic crystals infused right into the glass to improve durability. According to Apple, Ceramic Shield offers four times better drop protection than the glass used for the iPhone 11 models. YouTube channel MobileReviewsEh conducted some tests on the iPhone 12 using a force meter to compare its performance ...

Apple Distributing New Heated Display Removal Machine for iPhone 12 Repairs

Thursday October 22, 2020 6:20 pm PDT by
Apple is providing Genius Bars and Apple Authorized Service Providers with a new heated display removal fixture for iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro repairs, according to information obtained by MacRumors from a reliable source. To open iPhone 12 models, technicians will be required to slide the device into a specialized tray, and then place the tray into the high-temperature fixture for two...

Apple VP Kaiann Drance Interview Addresses Battery Life, MagSafe, and Power Adapter Concerns

Friday October 23, 2020 3:37 am PDT by
Apple's Vice President of iPhone Marketing, Kaiann Drance, has provided a new interview to Rich DeMuro on the Rich on Tech Podcast, to discuss the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. Although much of the interview repeated points from Apple's "Hi, Speed" event, there were a number of interesting tidbits regarding the affect of 5G on battery life, MagSafe concerns, and the lack of a power adapter in...

Teardown Video Confirms iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Use Same 2,815mAh Battery

Thursday October 22, 2020 9:47 am PDT by
With the iPhone 12 launching on Friday and in just a few hours to Australia and New Zealand, hands-on videos, teardowns, reviews, and other iPhone-related content has been coming out. A new teardown video delves into both the iPhone 12 and the 12 Pro, confirming battery life for both models and giving us a closer look at their internals. The video from Io Technology is in Chinese, but ...

Images of Supposed AirPods Diagnosis Tool Shared Online

Thursday October 22, 2020 5:24 am PDT by
Apple is reportedly rolling out a new tool to Apple service providers for testing AirPods, according to leaker known as "Fudge," who shared images of the tool on Twitter. Apple appears to be seeking to reduce unnecessary AirPods services by more accurately diagnosing the cause of a fault. Instances of a dirt-blockage, which may be difficult to ascertain visually, can apparently be...

New Photos Offer Better Look at iPhone 12 Color Options

Tuesday October 20, 2020 2:34 am PDT by
As we wait for the iPhone 12 review embargo to lift later today, more pictures are circulating of the devices in real-world lighting conditions, providing a better look at the different colors available. Leaker DuanRui has shared images on Twitter of the iPhone 12 in white, black, blue, green, and (PRODUCT)RED. The black and white colors are similar to the iPhone 11 colors, but the other...

Apple's AirTags Revealed in Newly Published Patent Applications

Thursday October 22, 2020 9:13 am PDT by
Two patent applications filed by Apple appear to depict the company's widely expected AirTags item trackers (via Patently Apple). The filings, which include a large number of images, are titled "Mounting Base for a Wirelessly Locatable Tag" and "Fastener with a Constrained Retention Ring," and describe a wirelessly locatable tag that can be used to determine the absolute location of an...

iPhone 11 Pro Outlasts iPhone 12 and 12 Pro in Extensive Battery Life Test

Friday October 23, 2020 8:36 am PDT by
Arun Maini today shared a new side-by-side iPhone battery life video test on his YouTube channel Mrwhosetheboss, timing how long the new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro models last on a single charge compared to older models, with equal brightness, settings, battery health, and usage. All of the devices are running iOS 14 without a SIM card inserted. In the test, the iPhone 11 Pro outlasted both ...

Apple Warns MagSafe Charger Can Leave Circular Imprints on Leather Cases

Friday October 23, 2020 3:23 pm PDT by
If you keep your iPhone in a leather case while charging with Apple's new MagSafe Charger, the case might show circular imprints from contact with the accessory, according to a new Apple support document published today. Apple's leather cases for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are not available until November 6, but a MacRumors reader has already shared a photo of a circular imprint on...