I could have trotted out a review of the Apple Watch when the first version hit the market. Or again when WatchOS 2 came out, but I waited for Series 2 and WatchOS 3 before sitting down to write my own thoughts on how Apple is doing with the Apple Watch.
Aren't I late to the party with this?? Of course I am. But I received the Series 2 watch for Christmas, and I've now had enough time to give it a workout, so to speak. I thought I'd share how I feel about the best watch in what Above Avalon refers to as the "Apple Watch Market" rather than the smart watch market:?
"The writing is on the wall. There isn?t a smartwatch industry. Instead, there?s only an Apple Watch industry."
A few thoughts on how to think about the improvements:
- I?m not worried about water. I know the previous version was ?splash proof? but I didn?t intentionally go swimming or in the shower with it.? Still, I did in fact go swimming with the original watch on a few times by accident and it continued to work like a champ.? Each time I discovered it was still on my wrist I took it off and set it out to dry immediately.? My original Apple Watch still works like a champ.
- The original watch had what I would call a one-day battery.? I always made it through the day with room to spare (30-40%) unless something got stuck in the ?on? position - desperately exchanging map locations or direction info for example - in which case the battery could run down to nothing in a few hours.?
- The new Series 2 watch - I used it for 2 days straight, and had that same 40+% buffer left.? And this was while walking all over the streets of Madrid on tours, and checking frequently to see if those little Activity circles had closed.? I think it is safe to say that this is genuinely a two-day watch battery and for some, a 3-day watch battery.
- It?s faster. Watch OS 3 was loaded on my previous watch - and it made dramatic improvements, but the new Series 2 is noticeably faster.? I doubt further speed improvements will be as noticeable as the first major hardware bump.?
- Screen brightness is much improved.? I know they can quote nits, or lumens, but what I go by is daylight viewing - I can read my watch face in daylight, with sunglasses on.?
- I can track my swimming as exercise.? I like having one device to track everything and it always bothered me that as Apple was tracking my progress, any days that I spent swimming would show up as days that are ?worse than normal? rather than better, because my swimming activity went undetected.? I think this will be a good motivator for me to spend more time swimming as the weather warms up.
- Stainless steel really does feel and look better than the aluminum that I settled for in the first version.
As far as Apple.? You can see the process behind the design and hardware improvements. The basics are to leverage ongoing improvements in processor design and system on a chip design, battery tech, and screen tech.? Moreover, with Apple's custom SoC design capabilities, they're able to push the boundaries of battery consumption and performance further and faster than their current crop of competition.? Apple had all the incremental and noticeable improvements - not unlike the iPhone in early years. Secondarily, there is the constant attention to detail and improvement that Apple focuses on for the software - better apps, more responsive behavior, improvements in interactions and design.
One thing is different from the iPhone playbook - Apple?s might allows it to build more options from day one - Aluminum, Steel, Gold, each in two colors.? Then Aluminum, Steel, and Ceramic.? And like the iPhone case, there?s an option for infinite personalization of the watch - the watch band.? They just couldn't take that kind of market risk in the early days, but they can now.?
I'm enjoying my experience with the Apple Watch Series 2.? It strikes me a bit like the iPhone 3G - the first iPhone that crossed the line to mainstream usability.? Apple learned a lot from Series 1 and applied that learning well.