Apple Watch Series 6 is bloody serious, Watch SE is bloody cheap, and Fitness+ is bloody detailed

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Apple was serious about that whole Time Flies thing — it seems we’re going to have to wait till October to hear what it’s doing in the iPhone space. Which means there’s a serious focus on the Apple Watch Series 6, which Apple is calling the most advanced Apple Watch to date. But that’s exactly what they would say. It just so happens they’re right.

But before we get into that, it’s also the most colourful Watch to issue forth from Apple. Expect it to drop in Blue, Classic Gold, Graphite and then a Product RED edition which should make it stand out on your wrist. If that’s what you want.

The blood is the life

First up for the Apple Watch Series 6 and the major new change for the wearable is the inclusion of a blood O2 sensor, which makes use of an infrared light to check your bloody oxygen saturation levels. It’ll perform a test in just 15 sections, with an algorithm calculating your blood oxygen levels based on the amount of red being reflected from your wrist. While that info’s going to be useful for users, Apple’s not done. The company is partnering with several medical institutions to do further research on what it can do for Watch owners.

The (dual)core of the matter

Of course, the internals have been updated. Apple’s got a new S6 processor, a dual-core based on Apple’s Bionic lineup. Of course it’s faster, up to 20% speedier than the previous generation of Apple Watch according to Apple. There’s a new always-on display, which is supposed to be brighter in direct sunlight. There’s an altimeter for hikers, which can display height changes onscreen in real-time — which may be an American thing (or maybe just a hiking thing).

Watch this Face

Apple’s bringing a new batch of Watch faces to the party, as well as a collection of new Bands. Because why don’t pluck a little low-hanging fruit on the way? The new lot is very functional, throwing a lot of practical features onscreen while still managing to look stylish. Plus there are a few oddball additions. You’ll see.

There are always new Watch Bands on the way but the Solo Loop, a stretchy silicone band that doesn’t have any links or fastenings, looks to be cribbed straight from early Fitbit designs. But Apple’s leaning into it hard, with a Braided Solo Loop, versions for its Nike editions and then all-new leather options on the way. We’re not sure if these will get to SA — a few most likely will, we’re just not sure which ones, yet. The Solo Loop lands in seven different shades.

Fun for the whole family

Apple’s really keen on getting the Apple Watch Series 6 (or any Watch, really) onto wrists that normally might not consider it. Family Setup is a new feature that lets one account set up several devices — say, for a kid or a grandparent, meaning even people who don’t understand or can’t operate smartphones can take advantage of Apple’s Watch tech. Everything from heart-rate data to fall detection (depending on your model, obvs.) is enabled, particularly if users opt for Apple’s cellular wristwear, and there’s location notifications (seems a little spy-ish, but okay)  and a handy collection of focus apps available for learners. So there’s that.

Want one of Apple’s Series 6 timepieces? They start at $399 (R6,600) for the non-cellular version but don’t expect them to cost that much here at home. The Series 6 is available for pre-order today (overseas), becoming available this Friday in the States.

Did not SE this coming

Apple was widely believed to be readying up a replacement for the Apple Watch Series 3, which is still one of its best-selling devices (it’s not iPhone numbers but they’re good, okay). Instead of getting a replacement, though, we got an addition. Meet the Apple Watch SE, a ‘budget’ wearable built around Apple’s S5 mobile chip. It features cellular models and a bunch of Series 6 features like fall detection and the new altimeter, while leaving out the seriously high-end tech in order to keep the price down.

And what a price it is. It’ll launch at $279 (R4,600) — which isn’t a bad starting point for a new Apple Watch. Again, though, don’t expect it to be so reasonable when it gets here.

Better than fit’n’iss cake in your mouth

Which brings us, rather neatly to Apple Fitness+. Well, kinda, because we just segued right into it. Apple Fitness+ is a new subscription workout service, based around the Watch but with an app available on the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV.

We’ll go into more detail about it at a later stage but it’s… well, it’s a workout service. A set of trainers will have new workouts weekly, supported by a range of music and ever-changing playlists for each trainer. Apple Music users have a bit of cross-platform action in that they’ll be able to save said ‘lists and listen to em later.

The service will eventually serve up recommendations, over ten studio workouts with built-in music, all for $9.99 (R165) per month or $80 (R1,320) annually. And if you’re a subscriber, the whole family gets to join in at no extra charge. If you needed any more signs that Apple’s serious about getting the Watch into more hands than ever, this is it.

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