Apple Watch Series 2: Essential guide to Apple’s first waterproof smartwatch

The Apple Watch Series 2 has been officially unveiled, and it’s bringing some pretty big new features that are set to turn it into a genuine sports watch contender.

Now available to buy, the Series 2 joins the upgraded original Apple Watch (now called Apple Watch Series 1) and will also be available in Hermès and Nike+ Editions, along with a pricey new Watch Edition too.

The full verdict: Apple Watch Series 2 review

We’re busy putting the new Watch through its paces, but if you want a breakdown of what to expect, here are the key details you need to know about Apple Watch Series 2.

Apple Watch Series 2: Design

Apple Watch Series 2

Like the original Apple Watch, you’ll be able to pick the Series 2 up in 38mm and 42mm case sizes, but the big news on the design front is that the Apple Watch Series 2 will be waterproof. So you can take it for a dip at up to 50 metres depth, which is the same waterproofing as the Fitbit Flex 2. For swimmers, it will have both pool swim and open water swim options.

Must read hands on: Apple Watch Series 2 review

In terms of the Watch case, aluminium dominates proceedings once again with your pick of silver, gold, rose gold and space grey finishes. There are also stainless steel case options and the new white ceramic model, which we’ll get to next. If you’re wondering what’s happened to the gold plated Apple Watch, that’s been ditched.

More designer accessory partnerships have been lined up, led by Hermès, including a Double Buckle Cuff in Swift and Epsom calfskin leathers and an exclusive Hermès Sport Band in orange. Hopefully we’ll see more team-ups like the Coach Watch one in the not too distant future. Apple is also offering a new white, ceramic model that it claims is four times harder than stainless steel and should be better at fending off scratches.

Apple Watch Series 2
Apple Watch Series 2

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It’s also teaming up with Nike for a special Apple Watch Nike+ edition that comes in four colours and includes custom watch faces and a perforated strap that’s reminiscent of the one Nike used on its Nike+ SportWatch, made with TomTom many moons ago.

Apple Watch Series 2: Display

Apple Watch Series 2

There are also changes in the display department, where Apple has opted for a new touchscreen that’s apparently two times brighter than its predecessor, offering 1,000 nits of brightness. That’s up from 450 nits on the first Watch. Apple says this is the brightest screen it has created on any of its devices.

Apple is sticking to the Sapphire crystal glass material for the new ceramic Watch Edition, while the standard Series 2 uses the ION-X strengthened glass featured on the original Apple Watch Sport. You still get to reap the benefits of Force Touch to make navigating your Apple smartwatch a little easier as well.

Apple Watch Series 2: Straps

Whether you call them Apple Watch straps or bands, you’ll be glad to know that there are plenty of options here and it’s very easy to mix up the styles. Simply press and hold down on the buttons on either side of the watch case and you can slip the straps out.

There’s still sport, woven nylon, leather and stainless steel straps to choose from, but if you want the stylish leather Hermès or sporty Nike+ straps, you’ll need to buy those versions of the Watch.

Apple Watch Series 2: Processor

Under the hood, there’s a new second generation dual-core S2 chip processor that’s 50% faster than the one inside the Apple Watch, while a new GPU offers twice the graphics performance.

Apple is also packing the new S2 processor into the Apple Watch Series 1, so you can benefit from the speedier performance there as well.

Apple Watch Series 2: Fitness tracking

Apple Watch Series 2

It’s fair to say the sports credentials of the first Apple Watch were not quite up to scratch. The general fitness tracking was great, but the lack of GPS and some questionable heart rate data meant it was far from a sports watch killer.

Now Apple has sought to make the Series 2 a more formidable Garmin and Polar rival by adding built-in GPS so you can now go running sans iPhone. This will work with walking and cycling as well, recording distance, pace and speed metrics.

Read this: Watch Series 2 proves fitness is key to smartwatch survival

There’s also swim tracking on board, for open and pool water swimming, letting you count laps, track average lap pace and auto-detect stroke type.

You get the same heart rate sensor here as the first Watch, to continuously measure heart rate during a workout and throughout the day with the data being fed into Apple Health and third-party health and fitness apps.

Apple Watch Series 2: watchOS 3

Apple Watch Series 2 watchOS 3

We already know quite a bit about Apple’s latest revision of its smartwatch operating system, having spent a good few weeks with the watchOS 3 beta, and this will be coming to the Watch Series 2 as well of course.

Read this: Living with watchOS 3

So there’s plenty to look forward to including new watch faces, the introduction of Instant Launch, a new dock, Apple’s new Breathe app and a host of performance improvements. WatchOS 3 is available to download now.

Apple Watch Series 2: Price & release date

So here’s the important part. How much does the Apple Watch Series 2 cost? Prices start at $369 for the Series 2 but that can go up as high as $1,099 if you opt for one with a stainless steel case and strap. You can buy it now from the Apple Store online or in high street stores.

The Apple Watch Nike+ edition will land in late October, and is priced in at $369. We should also mention that the Apple Watch Series 1, which comes with the same dual-core processor included in the Series 2, costs $269.

The new ceramic Apple Watch Edition starts at a whopping $1,249 while the Apple Watch Hermès is available starting 23 September, where $1,499 will get you the new 38mm Double Buckle Cuff.