At its product launch event on Sept. 7, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) revealed some updates to its smartwatch lineup. The new line of wearables, which the company dubs Apple Watch Series 2, features a number of enhancements over the first generation offering.
Let's take a look at these enhancements to see what consumers and investors can expect from the Series 2.
A much-needed speed boost
According to Apple, the new Apple Watch comes with a second generation system-in-package known as the Apple S2 (unsurprising, since the prior generation Apple Watch used a system-in-package known as the S1).
The S2 apparently features a dual core processor, which the company claims makes it up to 50% faster in CPU tasks relative to the S1. Perhaps more interesting, Apple claims that the S2 includes an "entirely new" graphics processor that's up to twice as fast as what the company included in the original model.
While there were no disclosures around the manufacturing technology used to build the new processor inside of the S2, according to KGI Securities' Ming-Chi Kuo (via DIGITIMES), the processor is manufactured using Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company's 16-nanometer process technology.
The move to a newer, much more efficient manufacturing technology was likely a key enabler of this significant performance improvement.
Apple says that the Series 2 includes an improved display that, according to COO Jeff Williams, is "more than two times brighter" than the display found on the prior generation device.
In fact, he claims that it is the "brightest display that Apple has ever shipped on any product."
"It makes all the difference when you're outside in the bright sunlight," Williams said.
Water resistance and GPS
Apple also says that the new watch "has a water resistance rating of 50 meters under ISO standard 22810:2010."
The company explains on its website that the device "may be used for shallow-water activities like swimming in a pool or ocean" but with the caveat that "activities involving high-velocity water or submersion below shallow depth" are not advised.
Given that the Apple Watch is pitched (and likely used) as a fitness device, being able to use it during swims, for example, should be a nice selling point.
On top of that, the Series 2 comes with a built-in GPS.
A solid update to the Apple Watch lineup
At this point, the company has one job: to make the Apple Watch increasingly useful and appealing to consumers. Cramming new features into such a device while at the same time keeping both battery life and size in check is no trivial feat, so Apple's efforts with the second generation watch should be lauded.
It remains to be seen how well the Series 2 will be received by customers, but my suspicion is that the new models should do better in the marketplace than the prior generation offering. The new features and performance enhancements appear to be genuinely practical and should improve the user experience, so there is reason for optimism.