Apple just wrapped up its online 'Time Flies' event which saw the Cupertino company reveal a new Apple Watch 6, Apple Watch SE, and updated 2020 models for the standard iPad and a really rather lovely-looking new iPad Air. So yes, sorry folks, you'll have to wait a little longer for updates on the iPhone 12 - but we expected that in all honesty as rumors are pointing to an October reveal for Apple's new phones. There's plenty to get through today though and here are our highlights from what we learned about the new devices, which are all set to be released very soon indeed.
The new Apple Watch 6
Apple Watch 6 kicked off the show with a very strong emphasis on the health benefits, with a montage of how the heart-monitoring and AKG features of last year's model has already helped to save lives. It wouldn't be an Apple presentation without starting by patting themselves on the back after all.
There's no denying the Apple Watch 6 is set to be another improvement in this increasingly-popular field though, not only will it automatically detect when you're washing your hands and pop up with a timer to encourage you to keep going for the recommended 20 seconds, but there are now blood oxygen detection features to keep an eye on your health while you might not be looking. There are improved sleep detection enhancements too, although who all these people wearing their watches to bed are continues to baffle us - when do they charge the watch? I hope they clean the strap at least.
The Apple Watch Series 6 will be available in the widest range of Apple Watch colors yet, most notably a new aluminum blue or Product Red that look like fantastic additions. If you prefer something a little bit more traditional, then you'll be glad to know that there are graphite or gold options to choose from too. Ahem, what have you done with Rose Gold, Apple?
A new S6 chipset, is as you'd expect, the fastest processor yet in an Apple Watch yet. The display has been improved, especially for the always-on mode which is now two and a half times brighter making it much more readable at a glance in brighter outdoor conditions.
A new 'Solo loop' strap is a single piece of silicone with no clasp or buckle that comes in a range of sizes. There's also a braided version which looks more breathable and less likely to nip away at arm hair for fun. Prices start at $399 for the 40mm display or $429 for the larger 44mm model. Preorders are available today at Apple ahead of the release this Friday.
Apple Watch SE
Just as we thought Apple was wrapping up the watch part of its presentation it quickly announced the first-ever Apple Watch SE which is priced at just $279 and also launches on Friday. This cut-price model ditches the Blood Oxygen/ECG apps and always on-display, but clearly aims to tempt budget-savvy buyers clinging onto older models of the Apple Watch or perhaps first-time buyers.
The new S5 chip is considerably more powerful than the Apple Watch 3, which we thought this one would be set to replace, but Apple confirmed it will continue selling the Apple Watch 3 at just $199. But the Apple Watch SE price is certainly going to be tempting thanks to the improved performance, especially as there's a new $12 a month payment plan option (24 months) as well. Check out all the pre-order options on the Apple store.
One sting in the tail at the end of the Apple Watch segment though was Apple announcing it was removing the power adapter from the new Apple Watch 6 and SE boxes for environmental reasons. I guess it sucks to be you if your old charger is passed its best, right Apple?
The standard 10.2-inch iPad is getting an updated model with some modest performance improvements, but the price will remain the same at $329. Apple pencil support is now much better as it can better distinguish between drawings and handwriting and the iPad OS 14 will better translate the writing into editable text.
As for the spec, the new 8th-generation iPad has an A12 Bionic chip that houses a 40% faster CPU and produces graphics running at twice the speed than before. There's not much to encourage replacing last year's model, but if it's been a few years and your older iPad is past its best, this is looking like a solid upgrade. The new iPad is available to pre-order ahead of release this Friday on the Apple Store. But if you can afford something more...
New iPad Air
That's right folks, the iPad Air 4 (or just iPad Air as Apple will be calling it) is happening. Finally, a fresh visual design that's not using the same chassis for the third iteration in a row. Actually, the new design is much more in line with the iPad Pro's sharper edges, thin bezels, and even thinner body. Oh, and it's coming in some gorgeous new colors too.
Rose gold, green, sky blue as well as the usual silver and space gray options. A full-screen 10.9-inch display with True Tone tech like in the Pro models immediately caught our eye compared to the standard iPad only announced minutes earlier. Touch ID is built into the top button now to accommodate the removal of the home button under the screen too.
As for performance, Apple is debuting a new chip here - the A14 Bionic with a 6-core CPU with 40% faster speeds compared to last year's now very dated looking iPad Air. Graphics are now 30% faster too. All of this should make for fantastic video editing at 4K, photo editing (the smoothing on zoomed-in images to clean up pixelation really impresses), and more importantly for us, gaming. Don't get us wrong, the iPad Pro is a stunning gaming device, but it's so expensive (prices start at $799 for the 11-inch model). But the all-new Apple iPad Air costs $599 and packs more than enough power for most users and it's suddenly made the Pro model quite a tough sell. Of course, $599 is still a lot of money, but it's hundreds cheaper than the iPad Pro line. It's still a little shocking though to think that it's going to cost more than the Xbox Series X price and presumably the PS5 price too.
If you fancy getting your pre-order sorted though, you won't have long to wait as the new iPad Air model launches in October. Check out the Apple Store for more details. Waiting a while? Be sure to keep those fingers crossed that Apple rocks up with some cheaper Black Friday deals in November, or maybe even in the long-delayed Amazon Prime Day sale rumored to be happening in October.
Stay tuned folks. We'll be bringing you more coverage on these new Apple devices soon. We'd be very surprised if the new models weren't strong contenders for high spots in our best gaming tablets and best smartwatch guides.