There are actually several choices that go into picking an Apple Watch, including size, casing, color, and bands. With the newest Apple Watch, Apple has added another choice to the mix: features. Now, when clients go to order their wearable, they will have to decide whether they want to get an Apple Watch from Series 1 or Series 2. What's the difference? Which is best for one's needs?
When the Apple Watch was released in April 2015, it offered different casings, but only one set of internal features — call it "Series 0". In September 2016, Apple announced two new feature variations, called Series 1 and Series 2, respectively.
Series 1 is nigh-identical in pretty much every way to Series 0, but it gets the same dual-core processor present in Series 2.
In contrast, Series 2 gets a bevy of new features: Water resistance for swimming, a speaker that spits out water after said swimming workouts, GPS and run tracking, upgraded ceramic backs for all models, and a brighter 1000-nit Retina display. Series 2 watches are also a bit thicker and heavier than their predecessors.
Series 1 and Series 2 are primarily differentiated by internal features, but they also have markedly different exterior Watch models.
Series 1 is essentially Apple's entry-level Watch option for new users: It's limited to Silver, Space Gray, Gold, or Rose Gold Sport aluminum casings, and pricing ranges from just US$ 269- US$ 299.
Series 2, in contrast, offers all of Apple's current case options: Like Series 1, anyone can buy a watch in any of the aluminum Sport casings, but with greater variation in paired bands. In addition, however, users can also get a Steel Apple Watch, Ceramic Apple Watch Edition, Nike+ Apple Watch, or Hermes Watch with Series 2 internals.
When it comes to the speed of the watch, anybody will be equally served by either Series 1 or Series 2.
Technically, the two watches have slightly different system-on-a-chip options powering them: Series 1 sports an S1P, while Series 2 has the S2. But as everyone understands it, this primarily refers to the other bits on that chip, including Series 2's integrated GPS antenna, rather than any real change in speed. In that regard, both the S1P and S2 feature the same dual-core processor.
For those who want their watch to be snappy and responsive, they will be happily served by either Series 1 or Series 2.
As mentioned previously, all of the Series 2 models come with integrated GPS: Users will now be able to track their walks and runs in the Activity app (and in third-party programs) without having to bring an iPhone along for the ride.
Unfortunately, because GPS chats with satellites and local cell towers to get location, it can prove to be a bit of a drain on the battery life. On Apple's battery testing website, the company acknowledged that using GPS features like run-tracking without an iPhone nearby will nix up to three hours from the workout time (up to 8 hours with iPhone present, up to 5 hours without iPhone).