Last month, Apple released an update to the Apple Watch line. The original Apple Watch is no longer being offered. Instead, a small spec-bump Series 1 is now available along with the flagship Apple Watch Series 2, which comes with all the newest goodies. Coupled with watchOS 3, the latest wrist-ready software version, Series 2, offers a major upgrade with true water proofing, a newly designed speaker that ejects water, and GPS navigation without the need for a companion iPhone. After a closer look, the Series 2 battery is also larger and consequently longer lasting. What internal changes were required for these new features? Find out more about how the Apple Watch Series 2 was made and whether or not you think it’s worth an upgrade.
Apple Watch Series 2 Teardown
iFixit.com, is well known for their exhaustively comprehensive repair manuals, part replacement sales, and toolkits to get the job done properly. Every time a popular gadget releases, the iFixit team is the first to take the hardware completely apart and see what makes it tick – pun intended. The full iFixit Apple Watch Series 2 teardown video is included above if you want to see the gory details.
To the eye, Series 2 is almost indistinguishable from the original Apple Watch “Series 0” or the newly launched Series 1. The first difference is the screen adhesive, which iFixit notes is incredibly stronger than Series 0 and 1, lending toward the advanced waterproofing. Immediately under the screen, new ZIF connectors replace the press connectors of Series 0, assisting in repair and better Force Touch actuation.
The battery connection ribbon, like inside iPhone, is held down with a cover plate. Unscrewing the ribbon and lifting the tacky adhesive away from the battery, reveals an improved battery. Measuring the 38mm version, the cell is 273Ah, which measures a full 32 percent larger capacity than Series 0. This is a major find, proving the increase in battery life, as indicated by Apple. Of note, Apple does not, however, indicate the battery life will last longer. With the onboard GPS, it will most likely gobble up the extra juice, leaving users with the same amount of operating time.
Near the battery, a much larger Taptic Engine is found. The Taptic Engine is Apple’s proprietary motor that provides feedback to users during interaction or for notifications. Having used the Series 0 ourselves, we can agree having a more powerful feedback engine will be a welcomed change. iFixit notes, by having a z-axis in the Taptic Engine, it provides more precise physical feedback from the linear resonant actuator.
Digging out the new speaker, iFixit confirms the speaker is designed to handle water, rather than keep it out. A series of gaskets protect the Series 2 internals, but the speaker pumping action design allows the speaker to eject the water. This is a major improvement in several ways. Importantly, it allows for a waterproof design. Moreover, it does not muffle the device audio. Finally, it prevents water from building up in the speaker housing.
Finally, the S2 silicon processor, which is Apple’s own proprietary system on a chip design, is capable of faster processing speeds. With the new chip and watchOS 3, the device has been noted in reviews to be much faster than Series 0 and 1.
Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2 are now available for sale online or at Apple retail locations. Starting price for a 38mm Series 2 Apple Watch is $369 and comes in a variety of colors, materials, and band options. Given the teardown details, you will need to decide for yourself if it is worth the upgrade.