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Apple Watch Series 2 With Emphasis on Fitness


Apple today announced the much anticipated update to the Apple Watch during its annual keynote address at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco.

The biggest news for “Apple Watch Series 2,” as the new device is being called, is that GPS functionality will now be built into the watch. This is great news for runners who like to work out without a phone on-hand; the previous version of the watch required you to carry your iPhone to get accurate distance/pace and a map of your route after the work out—or to sync with training services like Strava.

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In making the announcement, Apple CEO Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams said the watch will get a quick satellite lock so you don’t have to stand around a long time before your run (though he did not go into specifics on how fast it will get a connection) and, after your workout, you can view a color-coded route map on your iPhone showing your speed fluctuations over the run.

The size and shape of the watch appears to remain unchanged, though the case has been made waterproof to 50 meters, making it suitable for swimming. That construction will also inspire confidence should you want to wear it to workout during a downpour.

Apple also is introducing a ceramic case, to go along with the aluminum and stainless steel models already available. Williams said the new glossy white body material is said to be four times harder than stainless steel.

Inside the Watch Series 2, the hardware is getting a boost, too. A new dual-core processor makes the watch perform 50 percent faster, while a new graphics processor will help speed up what you see on the screen (twice as fast as the previous version). Both of these are welcome changes, as we’d noted transitions between screens and apps was a bit slower than you’d expect from modern devices.

A final tweak to the new base model is a brighter screen—twice the intensity—making it even easier to read the display in direct sunlight.

A surprise announcement during the event was a special edition Apple Watch Nike+ model. The two companies have a long history together—a decade ago, Nike introduced wireless sensors in shoes that communicated with iPods and, later, iPhones to give you distance estimates of runs. The new Apple Watch Nike+ comes in four special colors, with a stretchy, perforated strap, and prioritizes running features on the watch.

Trevor Edwards, president of Nike Brand, introduced the model during the keynote, saying it is intended to be your perfect running partner. Making it easier than ever to get started, Apple built a shortcut to start your run easily, or you can simply tell Siri “start a run.” The screen will display just distance or pace in large digits, or you can enable “advanced mode” to see more data if you prefer.

But, beyond basic tracking of a workout, the Apple Watch Nike+ will actually prompt you to get out the door. Examples shown during the keynote suggest that you’ll get an on-screen notification asking “Are we running today?” if you’ve taken a number of days off. A similar message appears when the weather is ideal or if a friend is running nearby.

Notably absent during the discussion of the new Watch models was battery performance. We’ve been hopeful to see a boost in active runtime. As it stands, we find battery life limited, getting only about six hours of use before needing to recharge the watch.

We’re working to get a sample of the new Apple Watch Series 2 in-house to test and will provide a more complete review in the coming weeks. Until then, read our article 8 Things Runners Need to Know About Apple Watch.

Apple Watch Series 2 will retail for $369, and can be pre-ordered beginning September 9. The Nike+ version of the watch will also retail for $369 and is said to be available in late October.

A “Series 1” model will be available for $100 less. It’ll be much like the current Apple Watch (no GPS), though will benefit from the faster dual-core processor.