Apple held its “Time Flies” event yesterday (September 15, 2020), which was a fast-paced one-hour presentation with new Apple Watches, new services and new iPads. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at each announcement and their impact on Apple fans.
As expected, Apple did not announce any new Mac or iPhone products. The company announced that four of the new operating system releases – iOS 14, iPadOS 14, tvOS 14 and watchOS 7 – is available for download September 16.
The big surprise: Apple One
For me, the biggest surprise of the event was not the hardware or even the announcement of a new Fitness + service, but the package of existing and new Apple services into a “one price for everything” package called Apple One (stylized as One). Apple One will arrive later this fall in three different flavors – Individual, Family and Premier.
As an example of what the package can offer, my wife and I share a 2TB iCloud plan, for which I pay $ 9.95 a month. Apple Music costs me an additional $ 9.95 per month, Apple TV + will charge an additional $ 4.99 a month when my one year free trial is over. We can replace this with the family plan, but it only offers 200 GB of iCloud storage. For about $ 5 more per month, we’ll also be able to get Apple Arcade, Apple News + and a new service – Apple Fitness +. In our case, we pay a little more, but we add three new services that we may not use.
Apple One especially benefits those people who do not use much iCloud storage. In our case, we will either stick with what we currently have for around $ 25 per month, or bump into the Apple One Premier plan.
Apple Fitness +
Before I dive into the new Apple Watches, let’s talk about the new service for those who are serious about fitness – Apple Fitness +. This service is designed to work with the Apple Watch for training tracking, but adds personal studio training. To quote the Apple Press Release,
Everyone from beginners to experienced trainers can access the studio-style workouts provided by world-class inspiring trainers and emphasized by motivating music from renowned artists, making it easier and more rewarding for clients to train, whenever and wherever they want.
Apple Fitness + costs $ 9.99 per month or $ 79.99 per year, so for those who really like fitness and who also subscribe to other Apple services, the Apple One package will be a really good deal.
Apple Fitness + covers most of the most popular types of exercise: treadmill, cycling, rowing, high-intensity impact training, strength, yoga, dance, core and mindful cooling. The trainers have chosen music (from Apple Music, of course!) To follow the workouts, and new workouts will be delivered each week with different lengths and music genres.
What I think is a positive aspect of Fitness + is that it works with any exercise equipment, so you do not have to worry about buying a particular brand or model of device. There are also workouts designed for absolute beginners who may want to try a new type of workout genre.
Apple Watch Series 6
No Apple event is complete without new hardware announcements, and those of us who write about Apple had a very good feeling that the “Time Flies” line (Apple also bothered us with “It’s About Time”) meant that the Apple Watch would be ahead and center in the presentation. Apple did not disappoint, with the announcement of Apple Watch Series 6 to be today’s first major announcement.
Apple has made health and fitness a selling point for the Apple Watch since day one, and the Apple Watch Series 6 adds a new one Oxygen sensor in the blood (SpO2) to the already impressive Watch line. With this year’s focus on the COVID-19 pandemic, one indicator of the virus has been low SpO2 levels. The Blood Oxygen Sensor works with a new Blood Oxygen app and can take a reading of just 15 seconds. Apple is conducting a study in coordination with the Seattle Flu Study at the Brotman Baty Institute for Precision Medicine and the faculty of the University of Washington School of Medicine to try to find a way to use devices like the Apple Watch as an early warning detector for influenza. and COVID-19-like viruses.
Not only can users see what their SpO2 level is on request, but the device will also take readings throughout the day. The app’s data for blood oxygen is stored in the Health app, so that users can see how health conditions, illness, condition and other factors affect SpO2 over time.
The SpO2 sensor uses a cluster of green, red and infrared LEDs along with the standard LEDs on the back of the watch to measure the light reflected back from blood, and then uses a custom algorithm to determine SpO2 levels between 70 and 100 percent.
Another new feature in the Apple Watch Series 6 is one always on altimeter. It uses a new, more efficient barometric altimeter, nearby Wi-Fi network and GPS to track altitude changes in as little as one foot. While this will be good for walkers, it should also have the added benefit of actually tracking the frequent walks up and down stairs that are ignored by today’s Apple Watches.
Prices start at $ 399 for a single GPS model, with the GPS + Cellular version starting at $ 499. The new Series 6 is available this Friday.
Apple Watch SE
In the iPhone world, “SE” indicates a product that has many of the features of the top model models, but which comes in at a lower price point. Apple introduced the Apple Watch SE, a “mid-line” model – the Apple Watch Series 3 is still available as a $ 199 entry-level watch, the Apple Watch Series 6 is the luxury model with all the bells and whistles, and Apple Watch SE prices start at $ 279 for the only GPS model and top $ 329 for the GPS + Cellular version.
For that price, you would think that the Apple Watch SE lacks something in features, but right outside the bat it will run watchOS 7 and support many of the same features in the Series 6: it always on altimeter, drop detection, Emergency SOS, international emergency calls and Noise apps.
Apple Watch SE can attract a larger group of customers to the training device, as it is much more capable than Apple Watch Series 3 and not much more expensive. For parents who want to stay in touch with their kids 24/7, the $ 329 mobile version and watchOS 7 Family Setup feature allow kids to have a device they can wear anywhere and communicate with people and friends.
The Apple Watch is already the best-selling watch in the world; With SE, Apple will really take much more of the market.
By the way…
Apple made an interesting announcement yesterday, saying that for environmental reasons and the fact that most consumers have a bunch of power adapters, they will not include the power adapter with the new watches.
8th generation iPad
In case you thought the event was “all about watches”, the iPad also got some love. Ten years after the first iPad was released, the eighth generation iPad was announced. While still having the same 10.2-inch Retina display as its predecessor, the 8th-generation iPad is much more powerful.
An A12 Bionic chip brings the Neural Engine for machine learning to the low-end iPad for the first time, making the device much more capable. This chip provides 40 percent faster CPU performance and twice the graphics capacity of the previous version. Apple noted during the event that the new iPad is twice as fast as the best-selling Windows laptop (an HP model), up to three times faster than the best-selling Android tablet, and up to six times faster than the best-selling. Chromebook.
I think Apple just threw the glove to the education market, with a device that surpasses anything else, supports Apple Pencil and keyboards, has a battery life all day, Touch ID for security, and still starts at $ 299 per device for education buyers. Add to that the more than a million apps available for the iPad, and it’s going to be difficult for teachers to justify buying something else for student use.
The center of the iPad line also received attention in the form of a completely new design. The screen mimics the state-of-the-art iPad Pro in that it has a very thin frame, but instead of using Face ID for authentication, it uses an innovative Touch ID button built into the power button.
Available in five colors, including green and blue for the first time, the new iPad Air 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display has 3.8 million pixels, P3-wide color support, True Tone and an anti-reflective coating. As you’d expect, the new Air works with the “floating” Magic Keyboard with the built-in trackpad.
Sure, it looks good, but what’s under the hood? It is the most advanced chip that Apple makes, A14 Bionic. This packaged system uses a 5-nanometer process technology to pack 11.8 billion transistors, making the chip more powerful and more efficient than ever before. The chip has a 6-core CPU and 4-core GPU, as well as a new 16-core Neural Engine that can perform up to 11 billion operations per second.
The iPad Air has a 7MP front-facing FaceTime HD camera, but now has the same 12MP rear camera as the iPad Pro. It enables 4K video recording … and the large video files can be quickly moved to your Mac, as the iPad Air now uses a USB-C port. It’s obvious that Apple is starting to move the product line to all USB-C; I’m hoping that the upcoming iPhone 12 will use USB-C for data transfer and power.
The new iPad Air will not arrive in October, starting at $ 599 for the Wi-Fi version and $ 729 for the mobile model. It is available in both 64 GB and 256 GB models,
With another Apple event behind it, the Apple Watch and iPad and low- and medium-sized iPad lines are good for another year. The next big announcements from Apple will come next month, with the new iPhone 12 being introduced to the public. It would not surprise me at all to also hear about the first Mac (s) equipped with Apple Silicon.
Apple started the fall season with a bang, and even better things are on the horizon.