On Wednesday, Apple rolled out the newest version of the Apple Watch.
Among other things, the Apple Watch Series 2 has a claimed water resistance of 50 meters, or about 160 feet. The video Apple created to celebrate the new version of the watch is an aquatic-palooza. Water, water, everywhere.
A swimproof shell is suppose to ensure that the watch — which given its health-monitoring features is meant to be a sporty device, not a costly bangle — can survive a few laps doing the backstroke. During the presentation, we heard that the watch was surf-worthy. That would imply resistance to salt water.
But you'd have to be nuts to take a $370 watch with a depth rating of only 50 meters swimming. I wouldn't even take one in the shower. Salt water would be completely out of the question.
I used to go swimming in a Timex Ironman watch, but that utilitarian piece only cost around $50 and was rated to 100 meters. I heard at the time that sailors liked the watch because it was kinda-sorta waterproof and wouldn't cause any tears if it went into the drink.
The only hardcore dive watch I own — a Seiko Diver — is rated for 200 meters and has the requisite rubber seals and a "screw-down" crown that prevents water under pressure from getting into the case and damaging the movement. The point is, it's designed to keep water out.
I wouldn't feel comfortable even swimming in a watch, let alone a pricey and fashionable wrist computer, that had less than a 100M rating. And even then, I'd prefer 200M.
Apple would clearly like buyers to believe they can now treat the Watch 2 as an indispensable, go-anywhere watch for an active lifestyle, on land and in water.
And the company says that it put the watch through water torture: hours upon hour, sloshing through fluids.
But Apple also said that the new Apple Watch isn't full sealed: the speaker lets water in, and can later eject it, through some sort of sonic process. This might sound impressive, but it's just a system that's probably going to fail. Water kills all watches that aren't designed to handle H2o.
But this just goes to show how Apple keeps misunderstanding the longtime existence of the "tool" watch — a timepiece intended to perform a few basic functions under specifics types of stress. My Seiko is a tool watch: it tells time and will let you track how long you've been underwater, and it cost be $200. An $8,000 Rolex Submariner does the same stuff.
Complicated electronic circuitry and water have never mixed, not without serious effort being made to seal out the wet, as is the case with modern dive computers.
So as far as I'm concerned, it is not now suddenly safe to go into the water with your Apple Watch.