Eight ways the Apple Watch Series 6 and SE are a bigger deal than you think

Apple Watch Series 6
Apple Watch Series 6

New colours, new sensors, and a new service make these updates the biggest yet

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16 September 2020 | 0

As expected, Apple launched two Apple Watchits Time Flies event: the high-end Series 6 and the SE an inaugural mid-range model.

While a more affordable SE version was revealed along the Series 6 it more than holds its own on the specs front, making both a worthy upgrade to the popular Series 3. Here are eight reasons why now is the time for an upgrade or to get on board with the iconic wearable.

Apple’s Blood O2 sensor is better than Fitbit’s

As rumoured, the Apple Watch Series 6 can measure the oxygen levels in your blood, thanks to a new sensor that uses red and infrared light to calculate the color of your blood and determine its oxygen level. Unlike Fitbit devices, which obly measure your blood-oxygen levels while you sleep, on the new Apple Watch you can take a Blood O2 reading in just 15 seconds at any time of day.

 

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While the SE doesn’t have the ECG sensor that’s built into the Digital Crown on the Series 6, the Apple Watch SE has the same second-gen sensor that Apple introduced with the Series 4 watch to deliver faster and more accurate readings than the first-gen model. Apple could have easily gotten away with a first-gen sensor in the SE and no one would have noticed, but it’s nice to get the latest and greatest hardware.

The display is better than ever

Apple launched a new, larger display with the Series 4, and an always-on option with the Series 5. With the Series 6 and SE, it’s even better. Apple says the always-on display on the Series 6 is 2.5 times brighter when your wrist is down, one of the complaints we had with the Series 5. With a new, efficient S6 chip, the battery life won’t suffer.

The Apple Watch SE has the same 40mm and 44mm bodies and larger retina 368×448 displays, just without the always-on option.

The SE has fall detection and noise monitoring

While Apple cut some features from the Series 5 in order to bring the price down so low, safety wasn’t one of them. The Apple Watch SE features the same fall detection and noise monitoring, as well as Emergency SOS – potentially life-saving features that were previously only available on the flagship models.

Apple Watch SE

You (kind of) don’t need an iPhone to use them

While we’re still not quite at full iPhone independence, Apple has introduced a new way for families to set up Apple Watches for people who don’t have an iPhone, such as kids, parents or, we suppose, Android users. While those watches won’t work in quite the same way – for one, you’ll need a cellular connection – they’ll be able to enjoy most of the same features, including the App Store, Messages, Maps, Apple Pay, Music, and of course, fitness tracking. It even has a new Schooltime feature that displays a yellow circle in the watch face “for teachers and parents to easily recognise, signifying that access to apps is restricted and Do Not Disturb is turned on.”

A common altimeter

While the Apple Watch has had an altimeter for measuring altitude since the Series 3, you could only see it during workouts. Otherwise, you would only get a general picture of how much you climbed throughout the day. On the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple has introduced an always-on altimeter for tracking elevation in real time and Apple Watch SE has the same feature.

The new faces appear very useful

Apple always offers up some new faces with every Watch launch, but this year’s crop isn’t just about cartoon characters and colours. A bunch of new watch faces will bring a slew of useful looks and styles, including:

  • GMT, which displays multiple time zones with a focus on where you are
  • Chronograph Pro, which adds a series of digital dials including a tachymeter for measuring speed
  • Typograph, which brings four new typestyles and scripts
  • Stripes, which lets you add any color combination you want
  • Memoji faces, and an animated and interactive collaboration with Geoff McFetridge

The watch is vital to Apple’s Fitness+ service

Alongside the new hardware, Apple also launched the subscription Fitness+ service that offers 10 types of workouts (yoga, cycling, dance, treadmill walk and run, strength, core, hit, rowing, and cool down) and Apple Music integration. Fitness+ is “powered by the Apple Watch,” automatically syncing when you start a workout on an iPhone or Apple TV, and using the metrics recorded on your wrist to guide your workout.

There are actual colours now

With the Series 6 Watch, Apple isn’t just relying on the bands to bring character. For the first time, you can get the Apple Watch in a variety of colors, including blue and Product Red. There are also new gold and graphite stainless steel varieties.

Along with the new Apple Watch Series colours, all Apple Watch users can take advantage of the new bands available for sale. There are the swim-proof and stretchable solo loop band and braided solo loop with no clasp, buckle, or overlapping materials that come in multiple colours, as well as the leather link band that uses magnets to adjust to your wrist.

The Apple Watch Series 6 and SE go on sale on 18 September from €422 for the Series 6 and €294.10 for the SE.

IDG News Service

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