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Apple Watch 6: The latest news, updates and watchOS 7 upgrade

Alongside the iPhone 12 series of phones, Apple should unveil the next version of its popular smartwatch later this year. We’ve rounded up everything there is to know about the Apple Watch 6 (likely called the Apple Watch Series 6)

The current Apple Watch is the best smartwatch you can buy – if you have an iPhone that is, so there’s a lot riding on the next iteration.

After a fairly small upgrade in 2019, we’re expecting a lot from the Apple Watch 6, even if early rumours suggest it might look a lot like its predecessor. Read on for all the leaks and news we’ve seen so far. We’ll be updating this article with all the new information as we get it.

Release date – When will the Apple Watch 6 be released?

It’s not a dead cert, but we’re pretty sure that the Apple Watch 6 will be launched in September 2020, and it will likely appear next to the iPhone 12. This supposition is based on the well-established launch pattern over recent years, listed below:

But bear it in mind that some products due for release this year could well see their expected launch schedule disrupted or delayed by the current coronavirus pandemic.

Price – How much will the Apple Watch 6 cost?

The Apple Watch 5 currently has a starting price of £399, and we see no reason why the Apple Watch 6 won’t cost a similar amount once it is launch. Of course, the final price will vary significantly depending on which strap you select to show off your timepiece; some designer options from esteemed brands like Hermès even sell for up to £1,399.

The Apple Watch 5’s steep price might render it an unattainable luxury for many consumers but, fortunately, the Apple Watch 3 is still on sale for just £199. That price makes it a more affordable option for fitness fanatics seeking an exercise companion that’s nonetheless seamlessly integrated into Apple’s tech ecosystem.

Apple Watch 6 – New hardware?

An official patent filing uncovered by Patently Apple appears to imply that the Apple Watch 6 could bear a fingerprint sensor for TouchID biometric identification. The earliest reports suggest that this feature will be mounted on the crown of the watch rather than the screen, which seems to be a surprising – arguably inelegant – solution. According to The Verifier, an in-screen fingerprint scanner may eventually arrive with the Apple Watch Series 7 further down the line in 2021.

On top of this, 9to5 Mac has suggested that the next Apple Watch will have a micro-LED rather than OLED display, which would save a significant amount of power and would prevent the risk of burn-in that comes part and parcel of other screen types. To our eyes, it still seems a bit premature for this much-anticipated futuristic technology to make its way onto to the mainstream market, but it would represent a great leap forward for the industry if true.

Apple Watch 6 – Design

The Apple Watch’s design is composed of a rounded square screen with the crown on the side. It’s unmistakable, it’s iconic – and what’s more, it looks like it’s here to stay for the next generation too.

Jon Prosser was on the inside track for all the insider information ahead of the recent launch of the iPhone SE 2, so he’s strongly credible when he says that the design will not be changed from the Series 4. Yet even though the outward design might remain identical, looks may be deceiving: the internal capabilities are rumoured to receive some very impressive upgrades.

Apple Watch 6 – Safety

Thanks to a detailed inspection of a snippet of code in iOS 14, 9to5 Mac has uncovered a clutch of intriguing heart health features that are supposedly joining the Apple Watch 6. The first of these is a tracker for blood oxygen saturation, which will include an automatic notification when levels are potentially dangerous.

The second upgrade applies to the existing ECG feature, now ensuring more accurate readings at heart rates between 100 and 120bpm. Both of these potential new features could well prove to be genuine lifesavers, so it’s hard to underestimate their importance.

And going by AppleInsider, there’s another potential lifesaver on its way to the smartwatch. This feature, which has also been registered for a patent, would be able to tell when the user accidentally falls into water, and could then notify friends or even the emergency services of the danger.

Apple Watch 6 – pre-installed with watchOS 7

After plenty of rumours (with 9to5 Mac being bang on the money), Apple officially unveiled watchOS 7 at this year’s WWDC event. The upcoming update will bring a ton of new features across health and fitness tracking, UI and more, but none are quite so important as the addition of sleep tracking (finally).

Sticking out as one of the last major features absent from the Apple Watch, watchOS 7 will implement dedicated sleep tracking to let users better understand their circadian rhythm and sleep performance. This will include the ability to set alarms directly on the Apple Watch itself, making use of the watch’s speaker or even just the vibration mechanics for a silent alarm.

Prepare to see a lot more branded watch faces as well with watchOS 7 opening the floodgates with watch face sharing tools. Not only will you be able to share your own creations via messaging and social media, but you’ll also be able to download custom watch faces immediately from any website that hosts them. Expect to see a huge community form around this bit of creativity.

For you dancers (and High School Musical enthusiasts) out there, Tim Cook’s got you covered. As part of watchOS 7, several dance styles including Bollywood and hip-hop will be included in the Apple Watch’s list of workouts. Because of the rapid movement involved with dancing compared to other workouts, the Apple Watch will use the accelerometer and gyroscope to calculate detailed results regarding calorie exertion.

Arguably the timeliest feature of the bunch will be a dedicated tracker for washing your hands. The Apple Watch will now do its bit in fighting the global spread of Coronavirus by letting users know if they haven’t spent enough time washing their hands. Gone are the days of bad personal hygiene – we hope.

Most notably however, watchOS 7 will bring an end to Force Touch on Apple Watch, giving us an idea of what Apple might be focussing on with Apple Watch 6. Doing away with Force Touch will leave more room available for a larger battery – something that’s desperately needed for the Apple Watch 6 to tackle sleep tracking properly.

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