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What to expect from the Apple Watch this week



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There has been a lot of talk about Apple adding an oxygen sensor in its blood to the Apple Watch Series 6 this year. But beyond that, we have not heard much else until this weekend about Apple̵

7;s latest laptop, which will be announced during their event on Tuesday. So what more can we expect to see?

Before I get to all this, just because the blood acid sensor has been discussed for a while in leaks and predictions, do not reject its significance. A few ongoing studies show that monitoring a combination of heart rate, blood oxygen levels and skin temperature over time can be very effective in diagnosing cases of COVID-19 before symptoms begin.

This can be a very effective tool to encourage people who may be infected to be tested early and to quarantine earlier if they test positive. As nations around the world struggle to return to a certain sense of normalcy while still embracing the spread of COVID-19, the new Apple Watch (along with new portable products from other major brands) can be a valuable tool in that fight. This means that oxygen measurement in the blood is not a trivial addition to the Series 6, although we have heard about it for a while.

But what else comes on Tuesday?

Supercharged

One of the newer rumors about Series 6, courtesy of cryptic leaker @ L0vetodream, is that fast charging will be added to Series 6.

The Apple Watch is already charging pretty fast as it stands, so this may not seem like an upgrade for some users. However, it is a big deal for anyone who wants to use the new sleep tracking features in watchOS 7.

I have run developer beta of the latest version of watchOS and I can tell you that this will be welcomed by anyone who is having trouble making a full day with Watch right now. Whether it’s exercise, streaming music over mobile during exercise or sleep tracking, there are many ways to run the battery down in your teens before bedtime. I do it almost every day.

If you have enabled sleep tracking in watchOS7, the watch will remind you that you need to recharge before going to bed if the battery is below a certain level, which is good. However, there is still some inconvenience and I am not always in a position where I can take off my watch and charge it when I get this alert.

Being able to charge the watch to a point where it can last the night and through the following day in a matter of minutes will make sleep tracking a more realistic option for people who put heavy on the battery. It’s a feature that makes perfect sense for this year’s release. Using sleep tracking has been a job during beta due to battery life, but this supplement should make it easier.

Are you blue too?

We have heard from several reliable sources that a new dark blue color is coming to the iPhone 12 Pro series this year, replacing last year’s Midnight Green. Now, however, we have @ L0vetodream which predicts that the Apple Watch Series 6 will also come in dark blue this year.

This leak is as cryptic as ever, but I think the message is clear enough. Although Apple has not dared in this direction before with the clock, I can see it. Navy blue is neutral enough to act as a Watch color. This is important since this device is worn on the wrist and is almost always visible. Apple has always tended to use Watch Bands to allow users to spice up their look, while the hardware has always stuck to neutral colors and earth tones. But this is not a strange change.

The interesting thing for me (assuming this rumor turns out to be true) is whether this option will only be available on the base model Aluminum Watch, or whether it will also be an alternative to the model in stainless steel. I have a feeling it will only be the former, but it’s just a guess. If Apple makes a navy blue iPhone Pro this year, they may already be configured to anodize stainless in blue, so it’s certainly possible.

While I love the gold color of stainless steel watches, I have to take a look if they also offer this model in blue. As much as I love gold, blue has always been my favorite color. If it comes, hopefully they will give us a really good look at it in a video at the event on Tuesday. It’s hard to make a good decision on photos on Apple’s website, alone.

Apple services come to the Apple Watch

Although this is not particularly related to the Series 6 Watch, I expect Apple to make a big deal about its new health and fitness subscription service on Tuesday. This rumor has also been covered by many reputable sources in the last two months, so there is good reason to believe it to be true.

This service will put Apple in play with major fitness brands like Peloton in offering workout plans and health advice directly to users. Considering that the most important use of the Apple Watch is training tracking, this move makes total sense. It also fits hand in glove with Apple’s hard pressure for subscription services. What we do not have are some details about how far it goes. Will Apple offer access to personal services, coaching or virtual classified management of live instructors, or just canned material?

I’m really interested in seeing what this new service from Apple looks like on day one. While services have become hugely profitable for the company, their track record is mixed, with Apple Music and iCloud proving to be very successful, Apple News + not so much, and Apple TV + very mixed early. Apple also has a habit of starting tough with initial service rollouts and making changes as they go.

Given how competitive this space already is, Apple cannot afford a fresh start that Apple News and Apple Music had. This service must be good right out of the box to get some traction. If so, it may prove to be very popular.

Bonus Round – Apple Watch SE

For the past two years, while I loved the larger Series 4 screen and the one always on the Series 5 screen, the Apple Watch Series 3 was the best-selling Apple Watch. It was a great value and provided the features that most users wanted out of the device. My wife and mother-in-law both have Series 3 and love them.

This year, it looks like Apple will update the Watch approach to match the iPhone. Instead of continuing to offer older models at cheaper prices like their second level, they will be releasing a modified older design like the Apple Watch SE. Based on some leaks this weekend, it sounds like the consensus is that the SE will be a Series 4 body and display with an updated processor.

Again, this is completely in line with how Apple treats the iPhone SE. It will have most of the important features that the users want at a good price. The larger screen also makes it a noticeable upgrade over Series 3. The interesting thing for me will be how close it ends up getting to Series 5 and 6 in specifications. But it shakes out, SE should sell like crazy and easily be this year’s best-selling model.

So it looks like a pretty modest upgrade year for the Apple Watch. There is no major redesign. No size increase. No massive feature upgrade. I do not owe Apple too much here. The pandemic has obviously affected all hardware in 2020.

For anyone who is in the market to upgrade, who is very interested in COVID, or is particularly interested in sleep tracking, the Series 6 has benefits that are worth looking at. However, I think this will easily be the year for SE. For those looking for a big jump in hardware, you may want to persevere until Series 7 next year.



James Rogers

I am a Christian man and the father of three living in the southeastern United States. I have worked as a programmer and project manager in the commercial and industrial automation industry for over 19 years, so I am practical with technology almost every day. However, my passion is in technology for mobile devices, especially Apple’s iOS and iPadOS hardware and software. My favorite is still the iPad.

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