Apple Watch Series 2 proves that fitness is key to smartwatch survival

Taking the sports watch approach could pay off big for Apple's second smartwatch
Apple Watch Series 2: Fitness is key

If you love fitness, then the Apple Watch Series 2 provides much to get excited about. We finally got built-in GPS (no more awkward runs for you, iPhone 7 Plus) and a waterproof design for tracked swimming workouts. There was even a special Nike+ version of the second generation Apple smartwatch as well.

Apple talked up the Series 2's sporty credentials more than anything else during its unveiling alongside those new phones. We already know the GPS will track multiple sports and is going to being opened up to third party app developers. The new swim tracking should offer up a bunch of useful metrics when you're in the pool (or the ocean).

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But there was significantly little less chat about the hundreds of watch strap combinations and various Apple Watch models, and the ridiculous 24K Apple Watch Edition was also quietly axed. This time around, Apple created its smartwatch less like a fashion item and more like a sports watch.

Two years ago when the original Apple Watch was unveiled, sport was just part of the story. The focus back then was on multiple editions, notifications, apps, sending primitive cave drawings via Digital Touch and step tracking. Yet tracked workouts were woefully half-baked. The heart rate sensor served up questionable data, run tracking disappointed and Apple didn't let third party developers use any of its sensors. And we wrote on the Apple Watch's first birthday that proper fitness smarts were its biggest missed opportunity.

What's more significant here though is that fitness remains key to wearable success and there's the data to back it up. Fitness-focused wearables remain the leading light and Apple is clearly seeing this data too. But it's not just Apple that's realised this. Only a week ago Samsung announced two versions of its Gear S3 smartwatch adding built-in GPS in both and a host of sensors to give them more sporty appeal.

Pebble is doing something similar adding optical heart rate sensors to its new smartwatches, making a bigger push with the Pebble Health platform and announcing the Pebble Core, its first non-smartwatch that's firmly aimed at runners. It's happening with Android Wear as well with the Moto 360 Sport, the Nixon and the Casio smartwatches.

I'm sure Apple will have also noticed Garmin's growing presence as well alongside big wearable sellers like Fitbit and Xiaomi. A company with such rich sports tracking heritage is finally starting to get to grips with what it takes to make a good wearable and the numbers are beginning to back that up.

With the original Watch, it felt like Apple was hedging its bets. Trying to cover all the bases but not successfully delivering in any one department. With the Series 2, there feels like there's a clearer plan of what it wants to achieve with its smartwatch. It still wants to draw you away from your smartphone, but it's gunning to be your running or gym companion too. Let's hope this time it can really deliver.

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Samsung Gear S3
Samsung Gear S3
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Pebble 2
Apple Watch Series 2
Apple Watch Series 2
Huawei Watch
Huawei Watch

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  • yogibimbi says:

    Yup, this time around the temptation is actually there. Can't wait until the reviews are in. And how it compares to the Mission and Polar's smartwatch. Or maybe I wait until LG waterproofs the Urbane 2? :-P

  • ChrisLaarman says:

    Yes, fitness and "jewelry" seem to be the main factors in smartwatch survival. I seem to be in a small minority that uses smartwatches more as devices for interacting with smartphones. I love taps on my wrist to notify me of turns to take on my bicycle while I can concentrate on the traffic. (Currently Apple Maps has the haptics but not the navigation for cyclists, Google Maps has that navigation but not the tapping patterns. My Android Wear watch has this vibration that is crude, compared to these taps of my Apple Watch.)

  • Nischit says:

    Can't wait for the full review of the Apple Watch Series 2

  • jennifera says:

    Apple Watch Series 2 is long awaited,look forward it

  • bradmon says:

    I just purchased the Apple Watch Series 2 and will be returning it today.  I based my purchase on the fact I was told it was compatible with IOS 8.1 and higher.  After no success syncing it to my Ipad Air 2 which has IOS 10.1.1,  I contacted Apple support.  they informed me it can ONLY be synced with Iphones, not any other Apple products or any other products for that matter.  In fact only Iphone 5 or higher.  Don't be misled in their IOS 8.1 or higher claim.  Also seems like a major design oversight, the tiny screen size of smartphones will not display the type of information I could see on my Ipad from my previous Activity Tracker.  Probably going to get a Garmin or something that will sync with my Ipad

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