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At a press event in San Francisco today, Apple unveiled the second generation of its Apple Watch wearable device.
The Apple Watch Series 2, as Apple calls it, is “swim-proof,” rather than splash proof, as the first Apple Watch was. The new model is water-resistant for up to 50 meters. Many parts of the hardware have been updated to make this possible; the speaker pushes out any water that gets into its grille, Apple chief operating officer Jeff Williams said.
The new version features the brightest display Apple has ever released, with 1,000 nits, Williams said. It’s powered by a new dual-core S2 system-on-a-package and a new graphics processing unit (GPU) with graphics performance that’s twice as good as what you could get on the original Apple Watch. It also features built-in GPS, Williams said. That way, when you go on a workout with your Watch Series 2 but without your iPhone handy, the Watch will remember your route and report it back to Apple’s Health app once it’s connected again.
The Apple Watch 2 will still require you to pair it with an iPhone. But the new version includes new components that helps it become a little less reliable on a secondary device. The changes aren’t major surprises given the rumors about them that emerged last month.
The new version will run watchOS 3, which Apple first announced in June. The launch of watchOS 3 was a substantial revision of the core experience of using the Apple Watch, but today marks the first time Apple is giving the hardware itself another shot. Apple first announced the original model two years ago.
The new watch will features cases made of aluminum, stainless steel, and a new ceramic option.
New bands will be available as well, as a result of Apple’s existing partnership with Hermès.
There will also be an Apple Watch Nike+ version with an aluminum case, four sporty new bands, and custom software that invites you to run and gives you notifications about how you’re doing relative to friends.
The Apple Watch Series 2 and the Nike+ version will sell for $369. The Nike bands will not be available for sale independently.
The Series 2 will require an iPhone 5 or something newer running iOS 10 or a newer operating system.
Apple has also revamped the original Apple Watch and will call it the Apple Watch Series 1. It now features the same dual-core chip and GPU as the new version and will cost $269.
Preorders begin on September 9. The new watchOS 3 operating system will be available on September 13. And the watches go on sale on September 16.
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