Today Apple held its big annual September event, including a wild pre-taped presentation that saw the camera shuttling between Apple CEO Tim Cook and other famous faces on the Apple campus in Cupertino as they ran through new announcements. Apple fans hoping to hear some news about the iPhone 12 or new Macbook or iPad Pro models will have to keep waiting, as today’s presentation focused on the Apple Watch, Apple’s new premium package subscription Apple One, and the base level iPad, offering a more practical drop of items aimed at a casual market, likely to coincide with the holiday season.
The lack of any iPhone news shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, as Apple had previously announced that the new iPhone would be delayed due to pandemic-related supply chain issues. Despite the minor upset, Apple still pulled off a pretty packed presentation, filled with new announcements. Let’s get into them!
Apple Watch Series 6/ Apple Watch SE
With the absence of any new iPhone news, Apple spent a considerable portion of today’s event focused on the Apple Watch — unveiling of the Apple Watch Series 6 and the budget-minded Apple Watch SE. The Series 6 is Apple’s “most colorful lineup” and boasts all sorts of new health-focused tech that really positions the device as a fitness-focused health device, rather than a communication device. Its biggest new feature is the ability to measure the wearer’s blood oxygen level using infrared sensors that scan the color of your blood in just 15 seconds.
The Series 6 will also increase enhancements to Apple’s heart-monitoring technology and will feature a sleep app that tracks your sleep quality, a COVID-19 appropriate hand washing detector that encourages you to wash your hands for a full 20 seconds, and a new watch face interface that makes it easy to keep track of your elevation in real-time to better monitor your blood oxygen levels.
The internals of the watch also get a boost — with a high-performance processor that works 20% faster than the previous Apple Watch generation with a display that is 2.5x brighter when outdoors in the wrist down position. The watch face has also been given several new design tweaks, including a Memoji display (for extra vain people), GMT Time Zone display, a racing inspiring design, and a few more customizable options, including special features for surfers, photographers, doctors, and creatives.
The Series 6 Watch also features new band designs, including an option to go clasp and buckle-less with the Solo Loop, a continuous piece of stretchable material made in your choice of two different band designs in multiple colors. The Apple Watch Series 6 will retail for $399.
On the budget end of the spectrum, Apple unveiled the Apple Watch SE which will retail for $279 and features the discontinued Series 5 chip, which is twice as fast as Apple’s Series 3 model (now priced at $199) and will run the latest version of Watch OS. It doesn’t appear that the SE will be able to measure blood oxygen though, so that’s a bit of a bummer.
The Apple SE is set to drop this Friday.
Apple now has several premium subscription services under its belt, so it was only a matter of time before they’d bundle them all together and find a way to sell them to us. Again. Today, Apple unveiled Apple One, a three-tiered monthly subscription service that bundles Apple Music, Apple Arcade, Apple TV+, and bumps up your iCloud storage for an individual price of $14.95 a month, or a $19.95 Family Plan.
For those looking for a more premium experience, Apple has the Premier tier, which is $29.95 a month, and features all the other premium services plus Apple News+ and the new Apple Fitness+, with yoga and cycling classes.
Apple One will launch this fall.
iPad 8th Generation/iPad Air
The base-level iPad finally got a refresh with the unveiling of the 8th Generation iPad which features an all-day battery, a better camera, an upgraded A12 Bionic chip, and Apple Pencil support — for a retail price of $329, with a discounted $299 education price.
The more exciting announcement was the new iPad Air redesign, which is a complete cosmetic revamp of the iPad Air with a larger 10.9-inch display, an A-14 silicon chip powering the insides, USB-C compatibility (about time!), and five different eye-catching colorways that include rose gold, green, blue, grey, and silver. The new iPad Air will perform 40% faster than last year’s model and features a 2x jump in graphics. The new iPad Air will retail for $599 with availability beginning sometime next month.
Apple also announced a new operating system for the iPad, dubbed OS14, which includes some serious advancements in the Apple Pencil technology, including the ability to recognize shape, which helps the iPad differentiate your notes from your doodles, allowing you to paste handwritten notes directly into text boxes. It’s not exactly a new iPhone, but if you’re a fan of the Apple Pencil, there is a lot to love here.
iPhone fans aren’t totally out of luck though, as Apple also announced iOS 14, which will add widgets to the home screen, and features a new app library, adds the iPad’s picture-in-picture mode, as well as includes improvements to the Messages, Maps, and Music app.