Apple has unveiled its next-generation smartwatch lineup, including the cheaper Watch SE – but even the higher-end Series 6 will cost less than last year’s Series 5.
The new Series 6, which introduces new features including blood oxygen sensor, will sell for $50 less in Australia than last year’s Series 5 did at launch, while the entry-level SE model will be more than $100 cheaper still.
Apple is touting the blood oxygen sensor as a significant component of the Series 6’s improved health and fitness capabilities. Using LEDs and photodiodes built into the back of the watch, algorithms in the blood oxygen app analyse reflected light from blood to give oxygen readings between 70 and 100 per cent.
The Series 6 will feature a wide array of new watch bands and cases, and will for the first time launch with a blue option alongside silver, space grey, and gold, as well as the (PRODUCT)RED watch with exclusive matching bright red bands.
It also improves performance over its predecessor with a new dual-core processor powering an S6 system-in-package, which allows apps to launch up to 20 per cent faster. Its enhanced always-on retina display allows users to access some functions including notifications without having to wake their device, and it has a built-in altimeter for real-time elevation detection.
It runs on the new watchOS 7, which according to Apple, adds sleep tracking, automatic handwashing detection, new workout types, and the ability to curate and share watch faces. Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, says the Series 6 “completely redefines what a watch can do”.
“With powerful new features, including a Blood Oxygen sensor and app, Apple Watch becomes even more indispensable by providing further insight into overall well-being,” he said.
Alongside the Series 6, Apple has launched the Apple Watch SE, a more budget-friendly option for consumers who want Apple Watch functionality at a lower price point.
Available in three recycled aluminium case finishes and compatible with all Apple Watch bands including the new Solo Loop and Braided Solo Loop, the Watch SE also runs watchOS 7, with a dual-core processor powering its S5 system-in-package. It includes the same accelerometer, gyroscope, and always-on altimeter as the Series 6.
“The Apple Watch SE combines elements of the Series 6 design with the most essential features of Apple Watch, all at a more affordable price,” said Williams.
“We’re excited to offer another great option to help customers stay connected, be more active, and keep an eye on their health.”
The Apple Watch Series 6 will be available in Australia starting at $599, and the Watch SE starting at $429, from Friday September 18.