During its first big event of smartphone season, Apple revealed the Apple Watch Series 6. The “Time Flies” event showed off a host of new features, amounting to a fairly incremental update over its already hugely successful Apple Watch 5. The Watch 6 is available to order now, here’s everything you need to know.
While there’s been plenty of excitement around the new iteration, those with an Apple Watch 5 might not see it as a worthwhile upgrade and we’ve got all the details on a teardown that reveals some of the key differences. On top of that, some users who’ve already ordered the new watch and taken advantage of those snazzy solo loops have been experiencing some unfortunate issues.
Read on for all the information of the new features, colour options, pricing and up-to-date information on the ordering process.
Apple Watch 6 design
The Apple Watch Series 6 has an identical overall design to the Apple Watch 5, featuring a square, pebble-shaped always on display and digital crown display. The big design changes this year include a new blue colour for the shell, along with a Product Red version for the first time.
A recent teardown conducted on the Watch by professional dismantlers iFixit revealed some of the small but key changes from the previous model. In particular, the Watch Series 6 is ever-so-slightly thinner than its predecessor and also a slightly improved battery. With new sensors on the Apple Watch, we’ll have to wait and see if it translates to improved battery life overall.
There are new band options too, including a “solo band” family of straps. The solo design doesn’t have a clasp or buckle, instead it’s a rubberised silicon band you stretch over your wrist. The band comes in 7 colours, a duo of material’s and in a range of sizes. The leather link band and Apple Watch Nike sports bands make a reappearance.
While the new solo bands are an interesting evolution, it seems like they’ve been causing some issues already. MacRumors reports that users on its forum have found that Apple’s makeshift paper measurement system isn’t all that accurate and are finding their watches aren’t the correct side.
The cherry on top of that illfitting cake is that Apple is reported to require you to return the new watch and the band if you require a replacement for the incorrectly-sized band, rather than just the band itself.
Apple Watch Series 6 features include new sensors
The biggest is the addition of a new SpO2 “health sensor”. Full details haven’t been disclosed but the sensor appears to work the same way as the ones sported on Garmin’s Fenix and Forerunner devices. It lets users check how much oxygen is in their blood and works using a new sensor on the Watch 6’s bottom that shoots red light at the user’s wrist to estimate how much oxygen is in its wearer’s bloodstream.
The feature aims to help athletes gauge improvements in fitness and identify early respiratory issues. The company has paired with a number of medical groups and universities in a bid to use the new feature to improve early detection and research on key diseases.
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The sensor is one of many hardware changes. The Apple Watch 6 also features an upgraded always on display that it claims has a 2x higher maximum brightness than the series 5 and a new S6 Apple Silicon dual-core chip that’s “20% faster” than the S5. it also has the U1 ultra wideband chip inside too.
Outside of this the Watch Series 6 will feature the same fitness and health tracking services as the Watch 5. This includes fall detection and ECG reading, along with the same ’18-hour’ battery life.
The Watch will also be the first to feature a new “family setup” service. This will let parents use their iPhone to set up their kids, or older relatives, Apple Watches. The feature will offer advanced parental controls over the watch, and location alerts so the main owner can always see where family members are.
Apple Watch Series 6 software
The Watch will launch with Apple’s latest WatchOS 7 software which brings a wealth of new Watch faces and services, including support for a new guided workout system.
The service was unveiled at the same event and can be accessed via the Apple Fitness+ app. It features guided workouts and coaching that can be streamed across Apple devices. It has a subscription model, like Fitbit Premium. It costs $9.99 a month. Apple Watch 6 purchases come with six months free.
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Apple Watch 6 price
Apple Watch Series 6 (GPS) pricing starts at £379. The LTE model pricing starts at a more premium £479.
This makes it the most expensive wearable in Apple’s current lineup with the Watch SE set to retail for $279 and the older Series 3 $199.