Apple announced the successor to the 2-year-old Apple Watch this month and it adds useful features like waterproofing, GPS, a brighter screen and a faster processor. This Series 2 update is what I feel will catapult the Apple Watch to the top of the smartwatch market as with the added features, it provides a complete package in a beautiful chassis and with the most mature smartwatch OS to boot (WatchOS 3, the fundamental redesign of Apple’s smartwatch OS). And with Android Wear hitting a few roadblocks (manufacturers taking a rain check from releasing new devices this year and Google pushing Android Wear 2.0 back to 2017), Pebble still being a geek’s smartwatch and the Samsung Gear S3 being too big, the Apple Watch Series 2 is the best smartwatch to buy right now. Not for me, though. Having bought the Series 0 (what we, the geeks, fondly call the first Apple Watch) seven months back, I have decided to hold my money tightly in my hands till at least next year. Why? I’m glad you asked.
The Apple Watch Series 2 adds GPS and waterproofing to the mix and as a runner, those are two features that I appreciate a lot. So much so, that the GPS makes me want to rush to buy the Series 2. That said, these feature-additions still don’t bring my vision for the ideal smartwatch to fruition. The addition of GPS, theoretically, helps keep my iPhone at home when I go for a run but in the real world, I’d still carry (and be better off because of that) it along. Notifications are still important to me when I’m running and if there is an emergency, I’m better off having my phone around (even to use the useful SOS feature baked into WatchOS 3). My ideal smartwatch has to have some form of cellular connectivity (for basic notifications and calls) and till that happens (next year, maybe, if they figure out the battery life specifics), the benefits of the added GPS will still fall short compared to the pitfalls of not taking my phone along. Also, the original Apple Watch, though not explicitly stated by Apple, handles water quite well. I have read about people taking theirs for a swim and have exposed mine to heavy rains (Tim Cook even said that he showers with it on) and it is quite resistant to water. So, unless I take up swimming (not happening while I’m in India, at least), the water resistance of my current Apple Watch is perfectly adequate for me.
Another marquee feature of the Series 2 Apple Watch is the 50% faster processor. Well, to that I say, “WatchOS 3”. Although there’ll surely be speed gains due to the added processing power, the latest update to Apple’s operating system makes my old Apple Watch feel like a whole new watch. All my frustration with the lack of speed is gone and using apps is pretty fast now. I don’t use many apps on my Apple Watch and the ones that I do use launch so much faster now (the complications also get updated instantly) and I’m still shocked sometimes that WatchOS 3 runs like this on the same hardware that was the cause of all of my spinning-dots frustration till June.
Other than these, the brighter screen is a good thing to have to but doesn’t affect my use of the Apple Watch outdoors (I run in the evening or early morning and the times that I’m outside during the day, I find the display adequate).
So, ya, I’ll skip Series 2 and wait to see what Tim’s team cooks up for Series 3 (fingers crossed for a newer design and cellular connectivity and an ALWAYS ON screen). Let’s see how that goes.
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