Today in what would normally be an iPhone-led September event, the Apple Watch could serve as a headliner since new iPhones will not arrive until October. It was a fitting change because Apple had news to share about not one, but two new Apple Watch models: the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE.
These two devices follow Apple’s strategy with the iPhone, where there is a flagship line plus a less expensive alternative that uses a mix of old and new parts. Apple Watch Series 6 includes a new oxygen sensor in the blood, always-on-screen enhanced, S6 processor, an always-on altimeter and new surfaces. Apple Watch SE also has an always-on altimeter and a similar design, but without the new colors, it includes the S5 processor from last year, but it does not get the oxygen sensor in blood and does not include an always on display. A new software add-on is another important incentive for both Series 6 and SE: Family Setup, which allows children to be Apple Watch users without having their own iPhones.
Both new Apple watches are available for order now, and will ship Friday, the 1
Apple Watch Series 6
The tent pole function of this year’s flagship Apple Watch is the new oxygen sensor in the blood, which arrives at a particularly appropriate time as the current pandemic has directly affected the oxygen level for many who have been infected with COVID-19.
As the ECG app was added a couple of years ago, the Apple Watch Series 6 has a dedicated Blood Oxygen app where a user can get a needs reading of their current oxygen level in the blood. The scan takes 15 seconds to complete, using the new watch’s cluster of red, green, and infrared LEDs and photodiodes to measure light reflected back from the user’s blood. The Watch will also periodically perform oxygen checks in the background passively, storing all data in the iPhone’s Health app. If you’ve ever used the ECG app on a previous Apple Watch, Apple has built a very similar experience here for monitoring oxygen in the blood.
Following the introduction of this oxygen function in the blood, Apple will launch three new research programs for interested users, one related to asthma, another related to heart failure, and a third that assesses respiratory diseases such as COVID-19 and influenza.
Another core enhancement in the Series 6 is a better always on screen than what the Series 5 contained. Although the watch has the same size options 40 mm and 44 mm as last year, Apple has made the screen 2.5 times brighter when the wrist is lowered outdoors, so you do not have to lift your wrist as often just to read the screen. Another nice change is that users can now tap on complications, access the alert center and control center, and change clocks without having to wake up the entire screen. last year’s series 5 model did not allow any interactions while the screen was muted.
A couple of specific bump updates include the new S6 system on a chip, which includes a dual-core processor based on the A13. Apple says that the S6 is up to 20% faster than last year’s S5. There is also now an always on altimeter available; Apple Watch previously included an altimeter, but thanks to a more efficient design in the new watch, the altimeters can now run continuously and give live readings from the dial.
Finally, the Series 6 model differs from its predecessor by offering a number of new feeding options, in addition to a wealth of new band styles. The most affordable suitcase material, aluminum, now offers blue and (PRODUCT) RED color choices in addition to standard silver, medium gray and gold. Options in stainless steel include the new graphite and yellow gold. The Apple Watch Edition line continues for another year, with natural and room-black titanium finishes.
With bands, the most unique additions are Solo Loop and Braided Solo Loop, both of which are free of buckles and buckles, and instead have a single continuous loop that you can slide right on your wrist. To ensure a good fit, the Solo Loop styles come in nine different lengths. Another notable band debut is Leather Link, which looks good and uses magnets for a snug fit.
Apple also announced a number of new dials today that will be available on all Apple Watch running watchOS 7, these include a new Memoji face, Stripes, GMT for viewing multiple time zones, the beautiful Artist face and more.
Speaking of watchOS 7, another surprise feature shared today, and a big one, is Family Setup. Available on all Apple Watch models in Series 4 and later, it allows parents to set up an Apple Watch for their child without having to have their own dedicated iPhone. With Family Setup, a child with a compatible mobile Apple Watch gets their own Apple ID and phone number that can be managed from their parents’ iPhone. Parents will be able to control which contacts their child communicates with and can receive automatic alerts that update them on the child’s location. There is also a new school time mode to limit the child’s distractions while going to school. Aside from a few other modifications, such as Activity Ringer Tracking Move Minutes Instead of Burning Calories, an Apple Watch configured through Family Setup will remain a full-fledged watch.
The Apple Watch Series 6 starts at $ 399 for the GPS aluminum model just like last year’s Series 5, with a notable change being that it does not include a USB power adapter in the box, nor does the new Apple Watch SE.
Apple Watch SE
Apple Watch SE is a mix of mostly old and a bit new, just like the iPhone SE. It is perhaps most similar to last year’s Series 5 model, but without it always on display technology.
SE has the same hardware design as the Series 5 model, some of the same health features as fall detection, international emergency calls and Emergency SOS. It includes the modern Digital Crown with haptic feedback, as well as the S5 system on a chip. The major feature it lacks, compared to both the Series 5 and Series 6 models, is that there is no function that is always displayed, and no ECG or oxygen function in the blood. A function from the series 6 it includes is always on the altimeter.
Family Setup is likely to create additional demand for the SE model, as it is the most affordable Apple Watch that supports the feature (Series 4 is no longer for sale). So parents who want to get a watch for their child are likely to buy SE.
The Apple Watch SE starts at $ 279, and Apple keeps the Series 3 model around a year to $ 199. A notable change is that Apple Card financing is now available for the Apple Watch, allowing buyers to divide the device’s costs into monthly payments.
The Apple Watch Series 6 with its oxygen function in the blood adds an important new area for health tracking that should prove to be particularly valuable in our current pandemic. The enhanced on-screen display is another big draw, especially since the Apple Watch SE does not offer an on-screen display at all. However, both Watch models have unique appeals, and as Family Setup opens the device to more potential users, Apple looks set to see another strong year of Apple Watch adoption.
Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE can both be purchased now on Apple’s website, available from Friday 18. September.
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