The Apple Watch first graced our wrists more than a year ago, and it has been two years since the first "iWatch" was unveiled. Now Apple has unveiled the Apple Watch Series 2. Here's what you need to know about the smartwatch, including its release date, UK pricing and new features and improvements. Plus: How to re-watch the Apple Watch 2 launch as it happened. You'll also like: Complete guide to the Apple Watch
For Series 2, jump straight to:
If you're interested in the new Series 1, jump straight to the Series 1 price, release date and specs details
Apple Watch launch in brief
So, Apple did in fact launch two new Apple Watches. The rumours were - surprisingly - true. The new Apple Watch is called the Series 2, and it will start from £369 but it's waterproof, faster and has a brighter screen and built-in GPS. The only downside is that it looks identical to the first Apple Watch, so it won't be obvious you've got the latest model. One upside is that the strap design hasn't changed, so straps are interchangeable between all Apple Watches.
The old Apple Watch is defunt, and will be replaced by the Apple Watch Series 1. This is identical to the original except for just about everything inside. It will get the new S1P processor which contains the same dual-core CPU and the same GPU as the Series 2 Watch. It costs only £10 more than the outgoing Apple Watch at £269 for the 38mm version or £299 for the 42mm.
There's also two other new models of interest in the Series 2: the Nike+ edition (£369), and a new ceramic-bodied Apple Watch Edition. It's white only, and is said to be 10x harder than stainless steel. It also costs a whopping £1,249.
- Water-resistant to 50m
- New screen that's more than 2x brighter
- Built-in GPS
- Faster processor and graphics
Apple says it has "completely re-engineered" the Apple Watch for Series 2. It has an S2 'system in package' which uses a dual-core that's 50 percent quicker than the original. Graphics are said to be twice as fast as before.
Built-in GPS was widely rumoured and it's true: you'll no longer need to carry your iPhone to get accurate pace and distance on a run.
Every 'entry point' has been made waterproof, so you can swim with the Series 2. There are two new Workout modes: Pool Swim and Open Water Swim. The app will also tailor itself to your stroke efficiency, rather than using the average swimmer's.
Here are the stats you'll see when swimming:
You can wear it in the shower, too. Only one orifice isn't waterproof: the speaker. This has been redesigned so that it can eject the water after you finish your workout.Bear in mind that the leather and stainless steel bands are not waterproof.
The second-gen display is twice as bright as the first Apple Watch, which means it should be much easier to see in bright sunlight. It's the brightest display yet on any Apple product at 1000nits.
As of yet, Apple hasn't mentioned anything about the Series 2's battery, which means we can assume it's no better than the original Watch, and may even be worse - especially if you use the GPS a lot.
So what didn't the Apple Watch 2 get? Here's what was rumoured:
- Built-in camera
- Standalone operation (LTE)
- Circular display
- Smart straps
You can see more below, where we've left the in-depth details of the rumours as they arrived.
Apple Watch Series 2 UK release date: When is the Series 2 coming out?
You can buy an Apple Watch 2, Apple Watch Edition or Apple Watch Nike+ today (16 September), with the Nike+ version coming in late October. For those with an original Apple Watch, the watchOS 3 update was released on 13 September.
The Apple Watch Hermes will be available from 23 September.
Apple Watch Series 2: UK price and models
Although Apple wasn't specific during the launch, there will still be two sizes, 38- and 42mm.
Here are the colour options for the aluminium cases:
- Rose gold
- Space grey
Here are the colour options for the stainless steel cases:
- Space black
Prices start from £369 inc VAT (or $369).
The Nike+ version will be available in these colours:
- Black/Cool Grey
- Flat Silver/White
- Flat Silver/Volt
The Nike+ bands will be exclusive to the Nike+ watches, and not sold separately.
There's also a new ceramic Apple Watch Edition, which will start at £1,249.
As well as the Series 2, there will also be a Nike+ edition. This also starts at £369 ($369).
The Apple Watch Hermes starts at £1,149.
Apple will also re-launch the original Apple Watch and call is Series 1, and it will have the same dual-core processor as the Series 2, but costs $269 (which is £269 inc VAT in the UK, £10 more than the current Watch Sport).
All prices are for the 38mm model - the 42mm will cost around £30 more.
You can pre-order a Series 1 Apple Watch on 9 September from Apple's website, and it will be arrive on 16 September, the date on which you can buy one in an Apple store.
It starts at £269, which gets you a 38mm Apple Watch Series 1 Sport. If you want a 42mm, that starts at £299. Some colours and strap combinations are only available in one size.
In terms of specifications, here are the main details of the Apple Watch Series 1:
- S1P 'System in Package' with dual-core processor
- watchOS 3
- 802.11n Wi-Fi
- Bluetooth 4.0
- heart-rate monitor
- ambient light sensor
The three features missing from the Series 1 are the GPS, brighter screen and water resistance for swimming.
Apple Watch Series 2: the launch as it happened
Apple Watch Series 2: The features it didn't get
Updates that were rumoured, but didn't appear in the Series 2: Cellular rumours (14 July) | Selfie camera rumours (1 July) | Standalone operation using LTE | Better battery life | Circular display | Thinner
Apple Watch 2 rumours: Watch could automatically adjust iPhone alert volume
The latest patent to hit the internet regarding the highly-anticipated Apple Watch 2 is an interesting one. Instead of focusing on the design of the Watch or its hardware, this latest patent is more software orientated. The patent is entitled "Volume Control for Mobile Device Using a Wireless Device" which was filed back in 2015 along with a slew of other Apple Watch related patents. The patent describes a device that can adjust the alert volume of the iPhone based on the level of sound generated.
But how would this be achieved? According to the patent, Apple would use the smartwatch's built-in microphone to grab a sample of the iPhone ringtone, analyse it and adjust the volume of the iPhone accordingly. Though it seems a bit pointless, it could mean the end of missing notifications - if the iPhone's alert volume is too low, the Watch would notice and increase its volume. It could also work the other way around too, with loud alerts being turned down in quiet situations, such as in the office or a library.
On 16 June 2016, Patently Apple released a few images which showcase the Apple Watch 2 having the ability to take selfie pictures. The full details of the patent can be seen on their website and it shows how a camera will be integrated into the watch's user interface.
The image below clearly shows the inclusion of a camera module within the user interface.
With a FaceTime 'selfie' camera on the second-generation Apple Watch, users would be able to make and receive video calls via their wrists. It's apparently designed to sit in the top bezel of the Apple Watch 2.
14 July 2016: Industry analyst firms Canalys and IDC both predict a rise in cellular-connected wearable in 2016. This growth will only realistically be achievable if Apple releases the Watch 2 with cellular connectivity. It's therefore suggested that Apple will release the Watch 2 with this added functionality. It's therefore increasingly likely that Apple will include the feature, in order to really drive the market of wearables forward.
both of which are industry analyst firms have stated that wearables are set to rise in popularity within the next couple of years. In Canalys analysis, the firm predicted a total 7.5 million smart watches to feature cellular connectivity. This number does depend on Apple's inclusion of cellular connectivity in their upcoming Watch 2, but it seems that the analyst firm is confident that the feature will be included.
In addition to the rumours about a camera in the Apple Watch 2, 9To5Mac's sources also say that the next Apple Watch will rely less on the iPhone, thanks to a new feature it's dubbed tetherless.
The current Apple Watch relies heavily on the iPhone for almost every feature, aside from limited activity tracking, music playback and mobile payment. Should the rumours be true, the Apple Watch 2 should be more capable when your iPhone isn't connected, thanks to a new wireless chipset that should allow most tasks to be handled directly from the smartwatch.
One of the biggest complaints about the Apple Watch is the battery life. It should last for a day, but in many cases users have found themselves unable to make the Apple Watch last past 6pm, sometimes even earlier. Plus, the drain it puts on your iPhone's battery is quite significant too.
However, Apple has apparently deemed the Apple Watch's battery life sufficient, so doesn't intend to make any significant improvements there, according to 9To5Mac. That's disappointing news!
We think Apple needs to improve the battery life in the second generation to address the issue, because it's a pretty important one. In addition, if the battery was able to last a bit longer the Apple Watch could be used to track your sleep, something that many other fitness trackers are capable of.
When you compare the Apple Watch's battery life to the likes of the Pebble Time Steel's 10 day battery life, it's makes the Apple Watch's 'all day if you're lucky' battery life look quite terrible.
If you already own an Apple Watch and are struggling with the battery life, try some of our tips for making the Apple Watch battery last longer.
You might also like: Best Apple Watch charging stands.
There are rumours suggesting that the new Apple Watch 2 will feature an ARM Cortex A32 processor. ARM already provide Apple with a vast majority of their chips for Apple's iOS devices, so it wouldn't come as a huge surprise to see the latest Apple wearable to also include an ARM chip.
The processor would increase performance, improve power efficiency and most important provide a better media experience (meaning better animations).
This is something that Pebble has already allowed for the Pebble Time and Pebble Time Steel, so we'd like to see it arrive for the Apple Watch too. Third-party manufacturers could create Smart Straps that connect to the Apple Watch to bring additional features such as extra battery power, built-in LEDs that flash when you get a notification, extra sensors to improve workouts – the possibilities are endless
We were slightly disappointed when the Apple Watch was unveiled with a rectangular display. We'd fallen in love with the LG G Watch R, and since then a number of other stunning round Android Wear smartwatches have surfaced including the Motorola Moto 360. In fact, a new circular smartwatch from Samsung is expected to launch very soon.
Now that we've spent some time with the Apple Watch and seen how small it really is in the flesh, the rectangular display has grown on us, but that doesn't mean we're completely satisfied. We'd like the option of a circular watch face in the future, and perhaps that'll come with Apple Watch 2.
We've already mentioned that the Apple Watch is surprisingly small, particularly if you opt for the 38mm model, but it is a little bit on the thick side for our liking. It measures 10.5mm, which isn't too bad but if we had to choose one design tweak for the next generation Apple Watch we'd probably suggest making it thinner. It can be tricky to fit it beneath snug shirtsleeves, which is less than ideal if you plan on wearing it every day.