Amid all the excitement about the iPhone 7, Apple launched the new version of its wearable. And it looks almost identical to the current one.
But it’s got a lot riding on it, sitting at the beginning of Apple’s mission to make wearables a new focus and make people come round to the new market. So Apple’s changes are significant, even if they’re not huge – here’s all the differences.
The big changes this year are undoubtedly fitness based: Apple has added new features to let you swim with your Watch on, and walk and run without your phone in your pocket.
The first is new waterproofing that lets the phone survive during a swim. And Apple has changed the software, too, so that the phone can properly track people while they move through the water.
And it also has built-in GPS, so that the Watch can get its own location without the phone. That means that it can be used for mapping runs without the phone in your pocket.
They’re two minimal upgrades – the watch looks the same otherwise – but they’re big ones if you’ve been waiting for them.
Just as importantly, Apple refreshed the original version of the Watch and now calls it the Series 1. It’s got the same processor inside it as the Series 2, and is otherwise the same apart from a cheap price.
You can pick up the Series 1 from £269, compared to the cheapest Series from £369.
If you’re not bothered about using the Watch as a fitness tracker – or want to do it but aren’t keen on doing it while running or walking outside – then the Series 1 is a nice way of doing it.
Part of the launch event was taken up with the Nike+ launch, the latest of Apple’s tie-ups with the sport brand. It’s mostly the same as the other Watches, but it comes with a special aerodynamic strap and pre-loaded with Nike’s software.
If you’re keen on Nike, then it might be worth picking this one up – it’s a nice way of combining the two brands. But otherwise it doesn’t offer that much, since all of the running features are found in the normal Apple Watch.
Apple Watch Edition
This version of the iPhone – the gold and rose gold ones, that sold for five figures – was feared dead. It turns out it’s alive again, albeit in a different form.
Apple is now using the Edition name to refer to the new watch, made of ceramic. It’s considerably cheaper at £1,299 for the bigger version, and like the gold ones the focus is on the material.
Apple says that material is much hardier than the stainless steel used in the Watch – more than four times as durable. And it’s not given to scratching or tarnishing (though ceramic is prone to breaking when dropped, but Apple didn’t mention that).
Inside, the Watch is entirely the same. But if you were wanting to buy one of the elite watches and the price had put you off, or you’re keen on shelling out for a white one, then this might be for you.
Whether you should buy the watch, and which watch you buy, obviously depends entirely on what you want to do with it.
While the refresh of the original watch might be the least spectacular, it might also be the most important. It makes the Watch much cheaper, but still faster – so if you’d been on the fence before, this might be the one to make you switch over.
And if you’d been wanting the Apple Watch before but weren’t convinced by its running or swimming tracking, the the Series 2 should be the thing to win you over.