Apple Watch Series 2 UK release date, features and live blog: Apple unveils “swimproof” Apple Watch

Apple has announced its new smartwatch iteration – the Apple Watch Series 2. It looks (and presumably smells) a lot like the first Apple Watch, but with a few spec updates, in-build GPS and “swimproof” capabilities that allow the phone to be submerged up to 50 metres. We’ll have a hand-on review shortly, but from the keynote it seems very much like an Apple Watch 1s – more of an improvement than a full-blown shake up. 

The most notable updates may be GPS and speaker-pumping waterproof tech, but there are also updates to the screen – twice as bright as the Apple Watch 1 at 1,000 nits, a new dual-core processor that’s 50% faster than Apple Watch 1, and an S2 GPU, which Apple says is “up to 2x faster” than the first Apple Watch. There a new (£1,249) Ceramic finish for the Series 2, but slightly more dramatic looking from the outside is the Apple Watch Nike Plus, with its neon strap and watch face. That watch face also has a button to directly launch the running app. 

“We know runners — and we know many are looking for a device that gives them an easy, fun way to start running,” said Trevor Edwards, president of the Nike Brand. “The market is full of complex, hard-to-read devices that focus on your data. This focuses on your life. It’s a powerful device with a simple solution — your perfect running partner.”

As expected, Apple has pushed the fitness tracking angle, with GPS giving the smartwatch an added degree of independence from the iPhone. Walks can be recorded using the on-board GPS, and locally stored satellite data means you won’t always need to get your phone out to check the route. The Viewranger app and “swimproof” tech also go some way to widen the amount of sports you can use the Apple Watch with.  

Live blog

18:53 – Prices: Series 2 is available 16 September, entry cost is £369. Series 1 (original Apple Watch) will get a price cut to £269. Apple Watch Nike Plus will land late October, also starting at £369.

18: 50 – This guy sounds like he smokes 50 a day. “Are we running today?” he asks, like a downtrodden film noir detective. apple_nike

18:47 – Apple announce a new collaboration with Nike – the Apple Watch Nike Plus, optimised for running. 

18:45 – Ceramic Apple Watch announced, as well as three new Hermes straps.

18:44 – Viewranger is the first app to take advantage of GPS on the Series 2, and will show fun facts about locations you stumble across (probably not bears).apple_watch_viewranger

18:42 – We’ve had swimming, now we’ve got hiking. A dedicated hiking app – Viewranger – is being shown off, along with the Series 2’s build-in GPS. 

18:40 – Will run at 60fps, and comes with a 2nd-gen display of 1000 nits.

18:37 – The Series 2 will apparently be “swim proof”, making it more waterproof than its predecessor. The speaker will actual push out water after being submerged. Here’s a report on the patent that may be behind that tech. watch_2

18:35 – Apple Watch “Series 2” – Billed as the next generation of Apple Watch.

18:30 – Niantic man is now talking about Pokemon on Apple Watch. Walking distances will now show up on the Apple Watch, which chimes well with its whole fitness emphasis. If a Pokemon is nearby it’ll flash up on your Apple Watch, as will Pokestops. “Isn’t this exciting?” he pleads.

18:29 – Pokemon Go is coming to Apple Watch. CEO of Niantic labs is now coming on stage.

18:27 – Jeff Williams is now talking about WatchOS 3, which we’ve previewed in full here.

18:25 – “Apple Watch has really changed what people expect from a watch,” says Tim Cook, showing off about Apple’s rise in the watch market – now number 2 in worldwide watch market. 


18:24 – Apple Watch! It’s what we’re here for.

18:23 – iWork showsoff real-time collaboration. It looks a lot like Google Docs.

18:02 – Mario Run. Nintendo maestro Shigeru Miyamoto is on stage showing off a new Nintendo game for iOS. Looks a lot like traditional Mario, but can be played one handed. Mario runs automatically and the player taps to make him jump.  

18:08 – Event has started. Tim Cook talking about the app store but, what’s this, Apple seems to have tweeted out the iPhone 7 premature. Oops. The tweet has been swiftly taken down, but here’s a screengrab.


17:35 – Picture of the stage, if you’re into that. No smartwatches in sight.

17:23 – Press are piling into the Bill Civic Graham Auditorium, ahead of the show kickoff at 18:00. 


8 things to expect from the Apple Watch 2

Rumours point to a pair of new watches being unveiled. These rumours come from respected KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, and suggest that Apple will actually release two Apple Watches, both hitting shops in the latter half of the year. The first will be something more like an Apple Watch S, and come with slightly upgraded internals and waterproofing – but the second Apple Watch 2 will include some brand-new features.

So, what should you expect from today’s big keynote? We’ve put together a list of the main rumours below but, in a nutshell, expect an Apple Watch that’s marketing itself even more as a sporting accessory than its predecessor. Apple is going big on health, and the Apple Watch 2 is thought to come with in-built GPS, a barometer for measuring atmospheric pressure, a bigger battery and a faster 16nm processor.

READ NEXT: Everything we know about the iPhone 7

We may not be seeing any big changes on the design front. Nor are we expecting to see a watch with 4G capabilities. The latter has been a much-requested feature, but Kuo has previously noted that this probably won’t be in place until 2017. If that’s the case, the Apple Watch will be reliant on your phone for connectivity, although it makes sense for the exercise data-logging to have a degree of independence.

Below we’ve put together the most feasible rumours about Apple’s next wearable, so you should have a better idea of that to expect come its 2016 release date. 

Apple Watch 2 rumours and release date: Next wearable will launch with iPhone 7

1. The Apple Watch 2 could have new screen tech

The Apple Watch’s OLED screen is clear, vibrant and one of the best things about the original smartwatch, but new reports suggest Apple is about to ditch it for a microLED display.

According to DigiTimes, the new displays will be sourced from newly Apple-owned company LuxVue technology, and should be ready to ship by the second half of 2017. And the reason for the swap? According to those close to Apple, the move comes down to battery life. Although the screens are more expensive to make at the moment, microLEDs tend to have a longer battery life than OLED screens – and they’re thinner, too.

2. The Apple Watch 2 will probably cost the same as the Apple Watch on launch 

Kuo and others have predicted that the Apple Watch 2 will launch with the same pricing bands as the first Apple Watch, with £299 for the 38mm sports model up to £479 for the 42mm standard variant. The first Apple Watch will get a price cut, which chimes with Apple’s general pricing strategy.

If there is difference in pricing, expect it to come in the higher tier of the Apple Watch accessories. At the moment the most expensive Apple Watch is the 42mm Watch Edition, which will set you back £9,500. It’s possible that Apple will add a few comparatively cheaper (but still very expensive) premium case and strap materials for loadsamoney types. 

3. The Apple Watch 2 could be waterproof

It’s likely the Apple Watch design will remain largely unchanged, but it could become slightly thinner. In addition, it’s possible that Apple will make it even more suited to sport by increasing its IPX7 waterproof standard to an IP67 rating, like the Samsung Galaxy S5.

The current Apple Watch is protected for a “short duration of water immersion” at a depth of less than one metre, but we think this could be improved by the forthcoming Apple Watch 2. As a result, the new Apple Watch could be suited to a wider range of sporting and outdoor activities

4. GPS and a barometer will give the Apple Watch 2 more sporting capabilities

Independent 4G capabilities probably won’t surface in the Apple Watch 2, but Apple’s new watch is thought to be more useful away from your phone for fitness tracking. Several sources have pointed to the new watch having onboard GPS, as well as a barometer for tracking atmospheric pressure – if you’re into that.apple_watch_2_features_specs_release_date

5. The Apple Watch 2 looks like it’ll have a bigger battery

According to a leaked measurement of alleged Apple Watch 2 parts, the new module is reported to have a thinner display and a thicker battery. Don’t expect the Apple Watch 2 to last for several days, though. It’s thought the larger battery capacity is aimed at compensating for the added drain of having a new GPS radio.   

According to several reports, Apple’s research showed that most Apple Watch owners finished the day with around 30% to 40% of battery charge left on their smartwatches. With the slightly larger battery, the Apple Watch 2 is likely to have similar battery life to the existing model, suggesting that Apple wants its customers to continue charging their watches on a daily basis.

6. Apple Watch 2 may get a selfie camera 

One of the best features in the Apple Watch is its ability to be used as a portable controller for your phone’s camera. The follow-up may have its own in-built camera, front-facing of course (not sure why anyone would want pictures of their wrist).

The evidence for this comes from a patent, spotted by Patently Apple, which describes a camera that “can be disposed on the front surface of Apple Watch face to capture images of the user”. Just because there’s a patent doesn’t mean it’s being used in the Apple Watch 2, but it shows Apple are considering the idea.

7. The Apple Watch 2 module will look similar, but have more fashionable bands

Apple introduced more bands and finishes after the initial release of the Apple Watch, and rumours suggest it will extend the range even further in March 2016. It’s therefore likely that Apple will use its experience with the original Apple Watch to make sure the Apple Watch 2 has a good range of finishes and bands on release.

8. Tim Cook says the Apple Watch 2 will provide health warnings

The Apple Watch 2 will probably keep track of your stats even more than the previous Apple Watch, and it looks like Apple wants to use that information for good. According to report by Business Insider, Apple is on the lookout for an experienced lawyer specialising in health-privacy regulations. Why? Because the Apple Watch 2 may alert users to possible health risks way ahead of time. At the recent Startup Fest Europe in Amsterdam, Apple boss Tim Cook said the feature would work much like a car-warning system. 

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