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No iPhones, but Apple Watch 6, new iPads unveiled at Apple event

September has become the usual time for Apple to unveil new iPhones, but there’s nothing usual about 2020. Apple’s September event this year, dubbed “Time Flies,” focused on a slew of gadgets, including the all-new Apple Watch 6 and two new iPads alongside a few services and software updates. Unlike past September events held in big theaters with a large and enthusiastic crowd, Time Flies was a live-streamed online-only event because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are the top announcements at yesterday’s event:

Apple Watch 6

Apple announced its latest-in-the-series Apple Watch 6 with an all-new health sensor onboard. The device will be able to monitor the user’s blood oxygen levels. The built-in technology that performs this action will take 15 seconds and will give out the result in percentages. The Apple Watch 6 does not boast any radical design changes from those in the previous Watch 5, but it packs in the latest S6 chipset, which Apple says is based on the iPhone 11’s A13 Bionic chipset.

Apple also said that the new Watch 6 is 2.5 times brighter and sports an always-on altimeter. There was a whole set of new watch faces released, including one showing a “Memoji.” The Apple Watch 6 also has the most colorful lineup ever with a blue aluminum case, a gold and graphite stainless steel case, and a red variant.

Apple also announced a new stretchable wrist band called the Solo Loop. Unlike other wrist bands, it is a single silicon loop with no clasp. The new band is available in multiple colors and sizes to fit different users. The company also announced a braided version of the Solo Loop in five different colors.

The Apple Watch Series 6 starts at $399 for the GPS variant and $499 for the GPS+ cellular version.

Apple Watch SE

For the first time ever, Apple introduced a low-cost variant of the Apple Watch. The Apple Watch SE boasts almost all the features as that of the new Apple Watch 6. However, the device runs on the older S5 processor, as seen in the Apple Watch 5. And the Watch SE will not be able to monitor the user’s blood oxygen levels. Surprisingly, the Apple Watch SE does not have the always-on display like that of the previous Watch 5 or the latest Watch 6. The device starts at $279 for the GPS version, while the GPS + cellular variant starts at $329. Do note that the company is continuing to sell the lower-cost, older Apple Watch Series 3, starting at $199.

Both these new Apple Watches are currently up for preorders and will be available in stores starting Friday. As with the previous generation of Apple Watches, both the series 6 and the SE versions will be available in 40mm and 44mm sizes. Apple also confirmed that it would not be including the USB power adaptor along with the new watches. The company stated that they had taken this move to reduce the environmental impact.

New iPad Air

Apple also revealed the latest iPad Air with an all-screen design at the event. This new device looks like the Apple iPad Pro with a large 10.9-inch Retina display. Apple has removed the Touch ID enabled home button from the front and embedded it into a top button. The new iPad Air is powered by the company’s most advanced A14 Bionic chipset and supports the Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard.

The device will be available in silver, space gray, rose gold, green, and sky blue color editions. Apple stated that the new iPad Air is 40 percent more performant with 30 percent faster graphics while being preloaded with machine learning algorithms internally, making the device more efficient and powerful. Speaking about the imaging, the iPad Air boasts a 12-megapixels primary camera along with a 7-megapixels front-facing camera. The device will be available in both 64GB and 256GB variants and starts at $599 per month. Apple said that the device would be available for purchase starting next month.

8th generation iPad

The latest 8th generation iPad boasts a similar design to that of the previous iPad. The device comes with the same chunky top and bottom bezels with a Touch ID enabled home button on the front. However, this iPad sports the newer A12 Bionic chip and is available in 32GB and 128GB variants. The device sports a 10.2-inch Retina HD display with a duo of 8-megapixels rear and 1.2-megapixels front-facing cameras. The new iPad starts at $329 and is up for preorders now. The device will be available in stores beginning Friday.

Apple Fitness Plus

Alongside the new Apple Watches, the company also announced its first-ever fitness subscription, Apple Fitness Plus. Although the app will be available for iPhones, iPads, and Apple TV, the company said that it is primarily built for Apple Watches. This premium subscription service will give access to various fitness plans and workouts, including core workouts, dance, cardio, yoga, cycling, and more. The company also announced that it is working on integrating several more exercises to the app every week. This service will be available starting at the end of the year and will be cost $9.99 per month per user or $79.99 for a full year.

Apple also announced a new Family Setup feature to allow one Apple device such as an iPhone or an iPad to manage multiple Apple Watches. However, to do so, users need to have cellular versions of Apple Watches.

Apple One Subscription

Apple also announced an all-new “Apple One” subscription bundle, which groups several already existing subscription services. This subscription bundle is available at different prices, depending on the subscriptions. Starting at $14.95 per month, the user will be getting access to Apple Music, Apple TV Plus, Apple Arcade, along with 50GB of iCloud storage. There is also a Family plan at $19.95, and up to six users can share the plan with all the above services with a 200GB of iCloud storage. Finally, the premium bundle packs in all these services above plus the new Apple Fitness Plus and Apple News Plus subscription services with 2TB of iCloud storage space. The premium bundle can also be shared by up to six people.

More updates

Apple will also be releasing the latest versions of software updates for various platforms today. The company is all set to release iOS 14, iPad OS 14, watchOS 7, and the tvOS 14, which it announced at WWDC 2020 earlier this year. While there were no new iPhones announced yesterday, expectations are Apple will roll them out at another event next month.

Images: Apple

Sukesh Mudrakola

Sukesh is a Technology Consultant by profession and an IT enterprise and tech enthusiast by passion. He holds a Masters degree in Software Engineering and has filled in various roles such as Developer, Analyst, and Consultant in his professional career. He holds an expertise in mobile and wearable technologies and is a Certified Scrum Master.

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