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Tech Times | With Series 2, Apple admits its smart watch isn't for everyone

Published:Monday | September 12, 2016 | 9:00 AM

Two years ago, Apple Inc executives made the case that anyone with an iPhone would be better off also owning the company's new smartwatch.

But as many gadget buyers remain unsure about the usefulness of high-tech timepieces, Apple last week pitched its second-edition watch to a much narrower audience.

Workout and activity-tracking capabilities surged to the front and center, taking over the spotlight from messaging features and customisable timefaces. The promotional video for the Watch Series 2 featured almost only athletes: swimmers, tennis and basketball players, cyclists, skateboarders and runners.

The shift in approach reflects some major technical changes. The Apple Watch Series 2 has built-in GPS - essential to athletes who don't want to lug their phones on runs or bike rides - and is water-resistant for use while swimming and surfing.

But establishing the Watch as a fitness tracker rather than a catch-all smartwatch serves a bigger purpose too, analysts said. Thanks to smartphones and popular devices such as the Fitbit, consumers now understand how devices can track steps and monitor sleep. Emphasising those features make the Watch a more familiar device than the revolutionary communications tool Apple touted in 2014.

The Watch Series 2 starts at $369, including a set of wristpieces with unique colours and features designed in collaboration with Nike.

- Paresh Dave