Apple wasted no time in unveiling the new Apple Watch Series 6 and the new affordable Apple Watch SE. The plethora of leaks and rumors leading up to the event were mostly correct so there really were no major surprises.
Apple Watch Series 6
The Apple Watch Series 6 is somewhat of an incremental update over the Series 5, features-wise. It brings Apple’s new S6 chipset. It’s a dual-core chip, which Apple claims is up to 20% faster than the S5 inside the Apple Watch Series 5. Integrated in the S6 platform is an U1 chip that has Ultra Wideband antennas that enable short-range wireless location that can allow you to use the Watch Series 6 as a digital key for your car.
The Watch Series 6 uses the same chassis as its predecessor, but brings a new Blue and Product Red aluminum finishes. There are two stainless steel variants – Graphite and Classic Yellow Gold.
On the bottom the Watch Series 6 implements a new heart rate sensor, which can also measure blood oxygen saturation (SpO2). WatchOS 7 can use a person’s motion and heart rate data to give you a VO2 Max reading, which should help track your overall fitness level. In tandem with watchOS 7 the Watch Series 6 will support native sleep tracking, automatic handwashing detection and new workout types.
The Apple Watch Series 6 comes with an improved always on display mode that’s two and a half times brighter. Apple has combined it with a new always on altimeter, which follows your ascent during a hike or climb in real time.
There are seven new watch faces, including Stripes, Chronograph Pro, GMT and Artist.
Apple came out with a few new bands for the Apple Watch Series 6. The Braided Solo Loop and the Solo Loop lack a buckle or clasp entirely an come in different sizes.
Apple claims the Apple Watch Series 6 maintains the Series 5’s up to 18 hour battery life, while featuring faster charging – a full charge takes under an hour and a half.
The Apple Watch Series 6 is available for pre-order now with shipments starting on Friday, September 18. The aluminum GPS-only model starts at $399 for the 40mm size and $429 for the 44mm. The GPS+Cellular version costs $499 and $529, respectively. The Stainless Steel model and/or one of the more sophisticated bands will push the price further.
Apple Watch SE
Apple also introduced the more affordable Watch SE. It shares the design and heart rate monitor of the Series 5 and its chipset, but has the same accelerometer, gyroscope and always on altimeter as the Series 6.
The combination of sensors allows for Fall detection support, which claims to sense even elevation changes as small as 1 foot (around 30cm).
The Apple Watch SE is also available for pre-order today with shipments starting on Friday. The 40mm model starts at $279, while the 44mm starts at $309. Adding Cellular connectivity brings the starting price to $329 and $359, depending on size.
Apple will also continue to sell the Watch Series 3, which is its new most affordable wearable. The 38mm version will be $199 and the 42mm one is $229. Your choices are down to Silver Aluminum case with a White Sport Band and Space Gray Aluminum case with Black Sport Band.