Two years after Apple released their first Apple Watch, I wrote a post outlining things triathletes and serious athletes would like to see to consider the Apple watch for their daily grind.
So does the new watch meet the serious athlete requirement? Let’s take a look.
Built in GPS: (Score: A) That was the main function that was missing in the first Apple Watch. Without stand alone GPS, then it’s a no go for runners and triathletes. With Series 2, Apple added a built in GPS, so now we can go out for a run without having to rely on the iPhone. Still, it’s unknown how good the GPS is in the Apple Watch. Here is what Apple says about its GPS
With built-in GPS, Apple Watch Series 2 can record precise distance, speed, and pace while you’re walking, running, or cycling outdoors. It picks up a signal right away, so you don’t have to wait to get moving. And when you’re done, you can check your iPhone to see a map of your route and where you ran your fastest.
That’s all good to me. Once I have my hands on one, will do more testing and compare it with my current Garmin 920xt.
Full Waterproofing: (Score: A+) That was my second request. Without full waterproofing, then how are we going to swim with it? Run or bike in heavy rain? So with Apple Series 2, Apple added full water resistant. You can even dive with the watch up to 50meter. That’s pretty deep.
What’s more interesting about its waterproofing is, Apple built its own water test chamber to make sure the water doesn’t damage the watch from all the splashing and fast hands movement in the water resembled by swimming. On top of that, they’ve done some testing with swimmers to accurately measure calories burn while swimming. Something I am not sure other companies have done or even thought of.
Apple Watch Series 2 is rated water resistant 50 meters,1 so you can leave it on when you’re in the pool or ocean. Since a speaker can’t be sealed because it needs air to produce sound, we reinvented ours — it lets water in, then uses sound vibrations to force it back out.
The only thing remain to be seen, is how good the GPS is in the open water? And how good the touch display when wet? Also, how good the watch is in measuring number of strokes and other swim metrics. But for now, I will give an A+ on this.
Long Battery Life: (Score: D-) Apple Watch Series 2 comes with bigger battery and deliver longer battery life because it uses “less processing power” according to Apple. However, we know GPS is a battery killer and Apple didn’t release any information on how long the battery last with GPS on. According to some unconfirmed sources, with only GPS on, the battery lasts up to 5 hours. If that is the case, then the watch will last most athletes through their long runs, and if you are a 4-hours marathon runner then the watch might be good enough to race with.
However, for us iron triathletes, we need a battery that last a lot longer than 5 hours if you want to wear the watch through all 3 legs of a triathlon.
So for the lack of information Apple released and the unconfirmed information, I am giving them a D- on this one.
ANT+ Support: (Score F) There is no ANT+ support and in all honestly, I didn’t expect Apple to support ANT+. They removed the headphone port from their iPhone 7 after all, so adding ANT+ technology is out of the question. However, the Apple Watch does support Bluetooth. So if your Powermeter support Bluetooth technology like the Powertap P1 pedals, and you are interested in using the watch to capture power, then you should be able to see it as long as the App you are using can display that information.
Heart Rate Support: (Score B) Heart rate support isn’t new to the Apple Watch Series 2. The Series 2 uses the same technology as in the first generation. Apple Watch uses what is known as photoplethysmography. This technology, is based on a very simple fact: “Blood is red because it reflects red light and absorbs green light. Apple Watch uses green LED lights paired with light‑sensitive photodiodes to detect the amount of blood flowing through your wrist at any given moment“. So with a good fit, you should be able to see your heart rate number without a problem.
However, during a run and sweaty wrist, that can be an issue and many reported problems measuring their heart rate while running with the Apple Watch 1. However, if you train with heart rate, you can pair it with a Bluetooth heart rate strap like the Wahoo TICKR Heart Rate Monitor.
With Apple Watch Series 2, I think Apple is cutting into some of Garmin, Suunto and Polar market but I don’t think it will make much of an impact. I expect, you will see a lot more runners wearing it in your next 5k, half marathon or full marathon. However, among the more serious athletes, triathletes, and ultra runners, Garmin & Suunto will continue to dominate that market.
I will have my hands on an Apple Watch 2 soon and will put it through some runs and swims and will have a more in depth review here.