The Apple Watch for Athletes Has Finally Arrived

Those data-tracking athletes who snatched up the first iteration of the Apple Watch weren’t immediately disappointed. The Apple Health interface was — and still is — easy to program, read, and downright useful. But it was all potential — the open platform software, the heart-rate monitor on the wrist, the many health-tracking partners all screamed that this would soon be a life-changer. 

Until it wasn't.

First, at the gym, it was a fun gadget — helping manage heart rate and track workouts with some limitations (lack of reps or movement tracking, etc.) But it held up. Then we went for a run, lugging along our newly enlarged iPhone 6. And then took it on a bike ride, sweating all over our iPhones in our back pockets. And we looked at the pool and the "water resistant" claim and knew it wasn't worth the risk. 

Why isn't this tightly sealed thing waterproof? And where the hell was the GPS? Our Garmin does it, our Timex does it. What gives, Apple?

Enter the Apple Watch Series 2.

The killer hardware has built-in GPS. This will allow you to map your runs and rides, check on your pace, and even get directions without lugging your phone. 

To this end, Apple has smartly partnered up with Nike to create the Apple Watch Nike Plus, essentially a band and case that is "designed with runners in mind” — in other words, it's stretchy, light, breathable and comes in an aluminum case that’s lightweight.

The next big news is for the swimmers out there. Yes, the watch is now "swim-proof" — with up to 50 meters of water resistance. To do this, Apple redesigned the speaker so that it removes water that gets in during your workout. There is also swimming software that comes with the Watch, now able to analyze and store over 700 swim sessions at a time. It will even learn about your stroke — we assume to make room for a forthcoming swim coaching app.

There are other throwaway details: A brighter display for sunny days (never had a problem with this ourselves), lots of bright colors to match your shoes or outfit, and a new processor that will get a tech geek's attention. But all this is lost on the runners, cyclists, swimmers, and triathletes out there, now drooling over a tracker that truly could best them all.

Apple Watch Series 2 with Nike Sports Band: Starting at $369, on sale September 16.