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 9
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

Top Rated Comments

nikhsub1 Avatar
99 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
99 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
99 months ago
I'll be ordering mine tonight...
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Supermule Avatar
99 months ago
Looks great! Im going to buy it for running :)
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Someone256 Avatar
99 months ago
Does the warranty cover water damage?
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lordofthereef Avatar
99 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

iOS 18 Siri Integrated Feature

iOS 18 Will Add These New Features to Your iPhone

Friday April 12, 2024 11:11 am PDT by
iOS 18 is expected to be the "biggest" update in the iPhone's history. Below, we recap rumored features and changes for the iPhone. iOS 18 is rumored to include new generative AI features for Siri and many apps, and Apple plans to add RCS support to the Messages app for an improved texting experience between iPhones and Android devices. The update is also expected to introduce a more...
top stories 13apr2024

Top Stories: M4 Mac Roadmap Leaked, New iPads in Second Week of May, and More

Saturday April 13, 2024 6:00 am PDT by
Apple's hardware roadmap was in the news this week, with things hopefully firming up for a launch of updated iPad Pro and iPad Air models next month while we look ahead to the other iPad models and a full lineup of M4-based Macs arriving starting later this year. We also heard some fresh rumors about iOS 18, due to be unveiled at WWDC in a couple of months, while we took a look at how things ...
iGBA Feature

Game Boy Emulator for iPhone Now Available in App Store Following Rule Change [Removed]

Sunday April 14, 2024 8:06 am PDT by
A week after Apple updated its App Review Guidelines to permit retro game console emulators, a Game Boy emulator for the iPhone called iGBA has appeared in the App Store worldwide. The emulator is already one of the top free apps on the App Store charts. It was not entirely clear if Apple would allow emulators to work with all and any games, but iGBA is able to load any Game Boy ROMs that...
new best buy blue

Best Buy Opens Up Sitewide Sale With Record Low Prices on M3 MacBook Air, iPad, and Much More

Saturday April 13, 2024 7:41 am PDT by
Best Buy this weekend has a big sale on Apple MacBooks and iPads, including new all-time low prices on the M3 MacBook Air, alongside the best prices we've ever seen on MacBook Pro, iPad, and more. Some of these deals require a My Best Buy Plus or My Best Buy Total membership, which start at $49.99/year. In addition to exclusive access to select discounts, you'll get free 2-day shipping, an...
iPhone 16 Camera Lozenge 2 Colors

iPhone 16 Plus Rumored to Come in These 7 Colors

Wednesday April 10, 2024 3:52 am PDT by
Apple's iPhone 16 Plus may come in seven colors that either build upon the existing five colors in the standard iPhone 15 lineup or recast them in a new finish, based on a new rumor out of China. According to the Weibo-based leaker Fixed focus digital, Apple's upcoming larger 6.7-inch iPhone 16 Plus model will come in the following colors, compared to the colors currently available for the...
apple silicon feature joeblue

Macs to Get AI-Focused M4 Chips Starting in Late 2024

Thursday April 11, 2024 10:10 am PDT by
Apple will begin updating its Mac lineup with M4 chips in late 2024, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The M4 chip will be focused on improving performance for artificial intelligence capabilities. Last year, Apple introduced the M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max chips all at once in October, so it's possible we could see the M4 lineup come during the same time frame. Gurman says that the entire...