The Apple Watch Series 6 comes up with a bunch of new health and wellness-related features. The new smartwatch features notable hardware improvements, a better always-on retina display, a redesigned caseback, and a palette of new case finishes and bands.
1. The hardware
Just like before, the watch is available in two case sizes – 40 and 44 mm – but Series 6 also welcomes two new colors – blue along with a (PRODUCT) RED case in aluminum. Steel models are now available in graphite with a high-gloss finish and an updated classic yellow gold Apple Watch Edition is available in natural and space black titanium.
The Series 6 also debuts three new band styles without traditional clasps or buckles. The Solo Loop has stretchable band design that comes in two materials: soft silicone and recycled braided polyester yarn. This could do for watch straps what sweat pants did for athleisure. The watch is powered by a new dual-core processor based on A13 Bionic in iPhone 11. Apple claims the watch can fully charge in under 1.5 hours.
2. Blood Oxygen
The watch can measure the oxygen saturation of the user’s blood. Oxygen saturation, or SpO2, is the amount (percentage) of oxygen being carried by red blood cells from the lungs to the rest of the body. It’s a measure of how efficiently oxygenated blood is coursing through us. The Blood Oxygen sensor employs four clusters of green, red, and infrared LEDs, along with the four photo-diodes on the caseback to measure light reflected back from blood.
An algorithm built into the corresponding app helps measure blood oxygen between 70 percent and 100 percent. On-demand measurements can be taken while the user is still, and periodic background measurements occur when they are inactive, including during sleep. This data and trends can be accessed via the Health app.
3. Always-On Altimeter
This provides real-time elevation all day long by using a barometric altimeter, along with GPS and nearby Wi-Fi networks. It allows for the detection of small elevation changes above ground level, up and down to the measurement of 1 foot, and can be shown as a new watch face complication or workout metric.
4. watchOS 7
The software update offers seven new watch face options, including Stripes, Chronograph Pro, GMT, and Artist. There are new health and fitness features, including low-range VO2 Max, sleep tracking, automatic handwashing detection. Maps now include cycling directions and Siri offers language translation.
5. All in the family
A feature called Family Setup4 in watchOS 7 allows kids and older family members who do not have an iPhone to benefit from the connectivity, safety, and fitness features of Apple Watch. Kids can access Emergency SOS at any time and peruse a new mode called Schooltime, which can help them stay focused and attentive while learning at home or in the classroom. Older adults can benefit from a new Health Checklist in the Health app on iPhone, which offers the ability to track whether health features like fall detection have been enabled in one centralized view.
6. The fitness experience
Apple also unveiled Fitness+, an experience built for Apple Watch, arriving later this year. Apple Fitness+ uses metrics from Apple Watch for users to visualize right on their iDevice, or Apple TV. Apple has roped in a bunch of fitness trainers and the subscription service (starting from $9.99 per month) will see new workouts being added every week. Prices start from $399 and will be available from September 18.