Apple has announced the latest line of its smartwatch product, the Apple Watch Series 6, as well as a new entry-level Apple Watch SE. The Series 6 repurposes the same design introduced in the Series 4, but with updated sensors that monitor blood oxygen and tracks its user’s sleeping pattern.
According to Apple, the Series 6 is able to measure blood oxygen levels in 15 seconds by utilizing red and infrared light. As such, the company has partnered with health networks for a large study of the new feature, including tests to see if it can detect those infected with COVID-19.
The new smartwatch also introduces a new S6 processor that’s capable of 20 percent faster performance than its predecessor. Last year’s Series 5 used the same CPU introduced in Series 4, but this new processor builds on Apple’s latest A13 chip.
The Series 6 will utilize watchOS 7 announced at WWDC earlier this year. The new operating system adds native sleep tracking support, a rebranded Fitness Plus app with new workouts, a new hand-watching feature focused on the ongoing pandemic, and support to share watchfaces. WatchOS 7 will be available on all smartwatches from the Series 3 on up, including the new Apple Watch SE.
The Apple Watch SE will serve as the successor of the Apple Watch Series 3 and a lower-cost entry for the product line. It features several Series 3 hallmarks, including compass, fall detection, swim-proof chassis, face sharing, and more. But it does not feature the always-on display shown on the Series 5. However, it will utilize the previous S5 chip, run watchOS 7, and is available in Bluetooth-only and cellular options.
The Series 6 introduces a new Solo Loop strap made of one piece of silicone in a range of different styles and colors. A new Solo Loop made of yarn is also available in five colors, as well as a new leather link strap. The smartwatch itself will be available in gold, graphite, blue, and Product (RED) starting at $399 USD. The Apple Watch SE starts at $279 USD. Both are available to order today and are slated to ship on September 18.
In other tech news, case designs confirm the design of four Apple iPhone 12 models.