Apple’s September launch event is often where the biggest hardware announcements happen. So what are the big takeaways this year?
Apple’s September launch event was all about its updated Watch and iPad and some new services.
1. No trace of iPhone 12
The big news is that there is no news about iPhone 12. That’s right, not a single mention or even an acknowledgement from Apple’s keynote presentation. Even when we followed up afterwards and asked Apple about it directly, the response was just: “[We are]…excited to release new Apple watch and iPad models today.”
While only speculation, the lack of news about iPhone 12 may be due to COVID related supply chain or manufacturing delays. There are rumours that we’ll have an announcement in early October, with handsets becoming available in late October. For now, we just have to wait and see.
2. Apple Watch examines the colour of your blood
The Apple Watch really is the most advanced health and fitness tracker available today. It can already monitor your heart health including atrial fibrillation, ECG and high and low heart rates. Now, it can measure your blood oxygen saturation levels with a new blood oxygen sensor. This uses red, green and infa-red light to detect the colour of your blood. It can then make a determination of the amount of oxygen in it, which provides a good indication of general fitness and heart health.
3. Fitness+ will motivate you
Apple has introduced a new fitness training subscription service. Fitness+ is centred around video exercise classes that integrate with your Apple watch. Data from the Apple Watch appears is integrated live into the video so you can track your exertion levels throughout the class. You’ll also get a comprehensive summary after the workout. Apple Music tracks play throughout your sessions and you can add what you like to your music library.
Sports include Yoga, cycling, dance, treadmill walks and runs, strength, core, rowing and a mindful cool-down. These can be accessed through the fitness app, and classes can be watched on Apple TV, iPad and iPhone. Subscriptions cost $14.99 per month or $119.99 per year.
4. A cheaper Apple Watch SE
The new Apple Watch SE offers a lot of value while still being quite capable. For $170 less, the key differences are that you don’t get the Blood Oxygen Sensor or ECG capability (which is not available in Australia anyway). You still get the same large screen as the Series 6 along with a built in compass, altimeter, gyroscopes and even fall detection. The SE has twice the performance of the Series 3 (also still sold) and gets both a cellular / LTE model and supports Family Setup.
5. Faster charging comes to Apple Watch
On both the Series 6 and SE models, you can now charge your Apple Watch from flat to full in just 1.5 hours. This will come in handy with new WatchOS features like sleep monitoring, so you can wear your watch at night and charge it in the morning.
6. Cool new colours and bands without buckles
The Apple Watch comes in blue. Need we say more? Ok, there is more – there are now Apple watch bands that just stretch onto your wrist and don’t have a buckle or fastener. You can choose a size that suits you, and pick between silicon or woven loop versions.
7. Bundle all of your Apple services into ‘One’
It’s called Apple One and is a single price for a selection of Apple services. This makes it easier and more affordable to subscribe to things like Apple Music, Apple TV+, News+, Fitness+ and iCloud storage while not having to juggle multiple payments. There are Individual, Family and Premium editions starting at $19.95 and up to $39.95 depending on the services included, storage allocation and number of users.
8. New iPad Air gets iPad ‘Pro’ features
The revamped iPad Air (4th generation) is definitely the sweet spot in Apples range of iPads. It gains the squared-edge design of the Pro as well as a gorgeous 10.9 inch Liquid Retina display with 2360 x 1640 (3.8 million pixels). There’s new cameras with the rear 12Megapixel one matching the version on the iPad Pro. Inside, there’s an A14 Bionic processor with Neural Engine that delivers 40 percent more processing power and 30 percent more graphics performance than the old model. A USB connector is finally included and you can pick a new iPad Air up for $899. For those that want to spend less, there’s also a new 8th Generation iPad, with hardware upgrades and Apple Pencil support starting at $499