The long awaited Apple Event for September was held yesterday and it started by focusing on two products. Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO right away said that it will focus on the new Apple Watch and the new iPads and that is what we got. This was not the typical Apple Event that has the iPhone as the centerpiece, but it had its moments.
The new Apple Watch lineup
Apple uncovered the new Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE at the Apple Event where the latter was a suprise.
The Series 6 will be the flagship in the Apple Watch category and it comes with new features. It looks like the Series 5 save for the new bands and the new feature: Blood Oxygen sensor.
The blood oxygen level metric is not new to the wearable market but it is new for Apple Watch. It shows how well oxygenated blood is delivered throughout the body.
In addition to the new blood oxygen sensor, it features a new S6 chip. This is based on the A13 Bionic and it is a dual core processor that runs up to 20% faster. It also features the U11 chip that we first saw on the iPhone 11 last year. The U11 chip allows for short range wireless location for finding stuff like next gen digital car keys.
The new Series 6 also has a Retina Display that is 2.5 times brighter than the Series 5, has faster charging and improved battery on certain workloads. They improved the altimeter to measure real time elevation using a barometer.
The Series 6 also comes in a new blue and red color that joins the silver, space gray and gold aluminum options.
The Apple Watch SE is the most interesting of the lot. Apple decided to abandon the whole idea of having the cheapest Apple Watch be the entry one. They repurposed the SE name for the entry Apple Watch which is good.
According to Apple, the SE has a retina display that is 30% larger than the Series 3. It has the S5 chip instead of the Series 6’s S6 chip. That S5 chip is twice as fast as the Series 3’s CPU. It also has an altimeter for elevation tracking, built in compass and more. This cheaper Apple Watch will start at $279.
New 8th Generation iPad and iPad Air
Apple also showed us the new iPads which are below their flagship iPad Pros. This included the refreshed base 8th Gen iPad and the middle of the pack iPad Air.
The iPad 8th Gen retained the same design as we saw with the 7th gen iPad. This includes the 10.2 inch Retina Display, Touch ID, Apple Pencil 1 support and 8MP/1.2MP camera combos. However, it now gets the much faster A12 Bionic chip from the iPhone XS generation. It still starts at $329 for the base 32GB model.
The previous iPad Air badly needed a refresh and it got a great refresh. Apple gave it a larger 10.9 inch display with iPad Pro like bezels. It got a better Touch ID sensor on the top button for login. Its blocky design is reminiscent of the iPad Pros. It is also the first device to see with Apple’s new A14 Bionic chip. The A14 gives it 40% boost in CPU performance and 30% improvement in graphics compared to the A12 in the old Air. The new chip also has machine learning accelerators that are 10 times faster. The combination of these features makes the new iPad Air incredibly powerful for computing.
The new iPad Air also comes in new colors, a first for iPads. Apart from the usual silver and space gray, there is a new rose gold, green and sky blue which look great. The new iPad Air will start from $599 for the base 64GB model.
More Apple Services
The Apple Event also took the chance to show off their new Apple Services subscriptions for their ecosystem. This includes Apple Fitness+ and Apple One
Apple Fitness+ is the company’s new subscription service that is centered around the Apple Watch. It incorporates metrics from the Apple watch which can be visualized on their iPhone, iPad or Apple TV. When you select a workout, the correct workout type starts automatically on the Apple watch. With Activity Sharing, you can see friends and family to see their Fitness+ workouts which can be shared on social media. It will launch with the most popular workouts and it is accompanied by music curated by trainers. There will be Fitness+ Trainers who will design and create fitness content for the service. This service will cost $9.99 a month or $79.99 a year.
Apple One on the other hand is Apple’s new all in one subscription bundle. It bundles Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, iCloud and more as one easy to pay bundle. There are three tiers: Individual, Family and Premiere. Individual costs $14.95 per month and gives you Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade and 50GB of iCloud Storage. Family has Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade and 200GB of storage for $19.95 a month shared up to 6 people. Premiere includes Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, Apple News+, Apple Fitness+ and 2TB of iCloud for $29.95 per month for up to 6 people. Apple says that it includes a 30 day free trial for customers that don’t have it.