Apple launches Apple Watch Series 6, new iPads, Apple One bundle

Well, as you know, today was Apple’s Time Flies event. As Jeffrey Fowler tweeted: “Nothing quite like the excitement of waiting for someone to press play on a pre-recorded hour-long commercial.” But hey, it was just an hour long. A tight hour at that. Here comes the rundown, in roughly chronological order.

Apple debuted the Apple Watch Series 6, starting at $399, coming in new colors including red and graphite, a chip that’s up to 20% faster and a new blood oxygen sensor. The design is roughly the same if you account for the new sensor on the underside for these new health bells and whistles. The main bell and or whistle is the blood oxygen monitor. It comes with a new blood oxygen app that will, in 15 seconds, check the oxygen content of your blood. Something something Covid-19. But it will also take periodic background measurements, even while you sleep if you wear the watch to bed. The new S6 chip powers all this, it’s a dual-core chip based on the A13. There were some new watch faces announced, including a typograph face which looked pretty good to me. Also a bunch of new loops, or wristbands, I guess, right? Including one called the solo loop that has no clasp or magnets or nothing. You just stretch it to fit your wrist.

Couple of other things. There’s a new family setup feature. You can use one iPhone to pair and control other apple watches so you can, say give them to your kids. This only works with the cellular versions of the watch. The idea is this is a way to keep track of your kids without giving them a whole phone or something. Apple basically just killed the physical kid tracker industry. And also, Apple will no longer include USB power adapters with apple watches, which is weird considering we all have spare power cords from iPhones and iPads lying around, but the Apple Watch is a unique cable.

Apple also unveiled the Apple Watch SE, which has a Series 4-type design, an S5 chip for up to 2x faster performance than the Watch Series 3, but this is clearly a lower end entry level play cause it starts at $279 or $12 a month, but does have accelerometer, heart rate monitor, compass, gyroscope, motion sensor, fall detection and GPS. Meanwhile, the Series 3 does continue on sale at $199.

On all the watches: order today, available on Friday.

Apple also announced the expected Fitness+ service, a workout class subscription service for Watch and iPhone coming in at $9.99 a month, though you will get 3 months free with an Apple Watch purchase. So, imagine this. Pick a workout. Yoga. Cycling. Dance. Treadmill walk or run. The whole gamut. You then watch the video of the workout on your iPhone, iPad or Apple TV, and everything syncs to your watch in real time for full activity monitoring. Apple want you to know you can do these workouts on any existing equipment you might have, or no workout at all. It’s even synced up with Apple Music for workout playlists. Big shot across the bow of Peloton which is in a copyright fight with the music labels right now. Again, this is $9.99 a month, or $79.99 a year but your family can join for free. It’s coming later this year.

But, maybe you want to spring for a bundle for all those apple services. Say hello to Apple One which will bundle Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, various levels of iCloud storage, and, depending on what tier you get, might also include News+ and Fitness+. Those tiers are a bit confusing. There are three of them and they range from $15 a month to $30 a month. For example, the individual plan is $14.95 a month, but doesn’t include fitness, which is weird. Only music, tv plus, arcade and a tier of iCloud storage. You get that same bundle for $19.95 a month in the family tier. And then, coming in at $29.95 a month, you get that Apple News+ and fitness+.

On to the iPads. The iPad regular, the just… iPad, the 10.2 inch entry level iPad, got an A12 chip, bringing in neural engine capabilities. The design is similar to the last model, and so is the price. $329 to start. Apple claimed that A12 chip makes iPad 2x faster than the top selling Windows laptop, 3x Android tablet, 6x Chromebook. Order today. Available this Friday.

The iPad Air saw the biggest update. A new 10.9 inch edge to edge display, but in the same footprint as the old iPad Air. The chin is basically gone. It’s not exactly a bezel-less device, but getting there. So much so that touch id has been moved to the sleep wake button. The Air also got the A15 chip. Apple claims it’s the first 5 nanometer chip in the industry.  Has high-performance caches, a 6-core design (two high, four low). 40% performance improvement over last iPad Air. New GPU as well. In other words, is the iPad Air now more powerful, than the iPad pro? It didn’t get the lidar of the Pro, and the pro has more speakers and cameras, but unless I’m reading this wrong. It now has a slower processor. The iPad air works with the magic keyboard, starts at $599 and is available beginning next month.

One super interesting note: the iPad air gets USB-C. So, as Dieter Bohn tweeted, if USB-C is good enough for the iPad air, might it be good enough for the iPhone 12? Maybe we shall see next month.

Let’s see. That’s about it. Oh, Apple says Apple says iOS 14, iPadOS 14, watchOS 7, and tvOS 14 will be officially released tomorrow. So, that’s a bit interesting… to have the new version of iOS before the phones are even unveiled.

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