Apple’s September event didn’t feature the iPhone 12, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t packed. The hour-long video showed off Apple’s new Series 6 watches, upgraded iPads and some fancy new services. There was quite a lot the company announced (and somethings they didn’t). So here’s a deep dive into all the stuff Apple mentioned on stage.
Apple Watch Series 6
The new Apple Watch Series 6 retains the same form factor as older watch models, but with a 30% larger always-on Retina Display as compared to the Series 3. There’s a new Blood Oxygen monitor, thanks to a redesigned backplate that now incorporates infrared LEDs. The feature allows users to understand how well their body is absorbing oxygen, a key indicator of health especially for those diagnosed with COVID-19.
Other updates include an always-on altimeter, the addition of the U1 ultra wideband chip and a new S6 processor that Apple claims are 20% faster than the S5 on the Series 5. Internal storage is 32GB, the same as the Series 5. The device will be available in both 40mm and 44mm sizes, and in three finishes – aluminium, stainless steel and titanium. The aluminium watches now come in two new colours – Product (RED) and blue, along with the traditional Space Grey, Gold and Silver.
Apple has also introduced a new ‘Solo Loop’ band, a stretchable liquid silicon rubber band that doesn’t have any clasps, buckles or velcro. The band will be available in nine sizes, so ‘there’s a fit for everyone’ as per Apple. Like the Sport Loop, the Solo Loop starts at £49, and will be available in the same colours. The Solo Loop will be compatible with all 40mm and 44mm Apple Watch models.
As with the Series 5, there are also Apple Watch Nike and Hermes models as well on offer. The Series 6 is now available to pre-order starting at £399 for the aluminium model, £699 for the stainless steel model and £799 for the titanium model.
Apple Watch SE
For price conscious customers, Apple has introduced a new ‘SE’ Apple Watch that has some of the upgrades of the Series 6, built on the framework of the Series 3. The SE will be available only in aluminium (Silver, Space Grey and Gold colour options), but will offer both 40m and 44mm sizes and cellular and non-cellular models. There’s also a Nike edition of the SE.
The budget Watch includes a Retina Display (30% larger than the series 3) and an always-on altimeter. There’s no Blood Oxygen or ECG monitoring though. The SE retains the optical heart sensor and the S5 System in Package (SiP) processor from the Series 5. The Apple Watch SE is also available to pre-order and starts at £279.
Apart from the announcements back at WWDC, Apple has added a few new features to WatchOS7. Available from today (16/09/20), the latest version of Apple’s Watch operating includes a host of personalisation and family sharing features. Users can now customise all of their Activity Goals, including Stand Hours and Exercise Minutes, not just their Move goals. Apple has also added a bunch of new watch faces like Memoji, GMT, Chronograph Pro and Stripes. There’s also a new Memoji app right on the watch.
The biggest addition is Family Setup. This feature allows parents to set up Apple Watches for their kids and other family members from a single iPhone. If setting up for kids, parents will be able to approve contacts and downloaded apps. There’s also a schooltime mode, with limited functionality. For children, the Apple Watch no longer tracks calories burnt, but move minutes instead. Apple Cash has also been updated with a family option. The feature will only work on cellular models of the Apple Watch Series 4 and higher.
The 8th Generation iPad retains the same 10.2” Retina display of the previous generation, as well as a Home Button with TouchID and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Internally, the device has been updated with the A12 Bionic processor. This brings the Neural Engine and machine learning capabilities to Apple’s entry level tablet for the first time. In landscape mode, you also get stereo speakers.
The iPad will be available in both Wi-Fi and cellular (4G LTE) models, starting at £329 for the 32GB Wi-Fi model. Cellular models begin at £459 with 32GB. There’s also a 128GB model.
Apple’s iPad Air has received a massive update, giving it the same physical appearance of the iPad Pro. The rounded edges give the Air a new 10.9” Liquid Retina Display. As a result, Apple has removed the Home Button. TouchID has now been integrated into the sleep/wake button on the top of the device. Powering this new iPad is an A14 Bionic chip, which is the first Apple processor to be manufactured on the 5nm process.
The iPad Air will support the second Gen Apple Pencil, as it also loses the Lightning port in favour of USB-C. The new magic keyboard that was launched with the iPad Pros will also work with the Air. The iPad Air will now be available in five colours – Space Grey, Silver, Rose Gold, Green and Sky Blue. Customers can now pre-order the iPad Air, available in both cellular and Wi-Fi only models with storage options of 64GB or 256GB. The Wi-Fi only iPad Air starts at £579 and the cellular model at £709.
Apple’s latest subscription service is built around the Apple Watch. Dubbed ‘Fitness+’, the service will debut later this year and cost £9.99/month. There’s also a yearly subscription that costs just £79.99. All new Apple Watch owners will get three months of the service free. Fitness+ offers guided workouts from Apple’s trainers, with new workouts being added every week.
Users can start a workout from the Fitness app on iPhone, iPad or Apple TV, and their Apple Watch will automatically start the corresponding workout. During a workout, users will be able to see their metrics as well as Activity Rings on the screen. Fitness+ also integrates with Apple Music, allowing users to pick their choice of music to accompany the workout.
Workouts can be started anywhere at any time, with Fitness+ offering suggestions based on workouts users already do. Workout durations can also be customised, from as short as five minutes up to 45 minutes. At launch, Fitness+ will offer cycling, treadmill, rowing, HIIT, strength, yoga, dance, core, and mindful cooldown options. Users will also be able to pick from a variety of trainers.
Akin to Amazon Prime, Apple One offers Apple’s most valuable services in a single bundle. Users will be able to access Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade and iCloud storage (50GB) on the basic tier, at just £14.95/month. For families, that bundle will cost £19.95/month with 200GB of iCloud storage. There is also a Premier tier, that includes Apple News+ and Apple Fitness+ as well as 2TB of iCloud storage for £29.95/month. Premier will be limited to regions with News+ and Fitness+ right now. Apple users will be able to access Apple One ‘later this year’.
As with Family Sharing, members will have private access to each service in the bundle. For people who haven’t signed up to any of these services before, Apple will offer a free one month trial. Like with other services, users can cancel at any time. In case users require more iCloud storage, they can simply purchase that individually. A family subscription to Apple One will save the average user £7.50/month as per the company.
There’s of course plenty more Apple skimmed through at the event. The company is removing its USB adapters from Apple Watches beginning this year, a move which is expected to come to the iPhone as well. The company also said iOS14, iPadOS 14, WatchOS7 and tvOS14 will all launch on 16 September. There’s no word on macOS, but that is traditionally launched a few weeks later so it’s possible we could see macOS Big Sur by the end of the month. At the time of writing, Apple has seeded the GM versions of the software to developers.
While it is disappointing that Apple didn’t mention the iPhone 12, the announcements from the ‘Time Flies’ event are quite interesting. We could still see the iPhone 12, as well as other hardware like the AirTags sometime in October. FinalBoss will let you know when we do!
With 3 years experience in journalism prior to joining the FinalBoss team, Srivats has made a name for himself as the go-to guy for in-depth analysis and technical pieces. From the latest gadgets to major launches announced by the biggest tech brands, Srivats brings you content that keeps you in the know.