Apple News: Today, Apple announced several new products and services, including the Watch Series 6 and Watch SE, the 8th-gen iPad, and an all-new iPad Air.
B&H is excited to announce the arrival of the new Apple products that were unveiled at Apple’s “Time Flies” event. Via their live blog, Apple debuted the new Watch Series 6, the Watch SE, the next generation of iPad, and a redesigned iPad Air. Let’s check them out.
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New Apple Watches (Photo: Business Wire)
Watch Series 6
It’s hard to believe we’re already up to Series 6 of the Apple Watch. Maybe it’s the subliminal effect of Apple’s “Time Flies” marketing, but it really does feel like only yesterday we were just getting our hands on the first Apple Watch. From its not-so-humble beginning as a cool-but-arguably-superfluous piece of tech to maybe the best smartwatch in the world, the Apple Watch has come a long way in a very short period of time.
So, what’s new with Series 6? Arguably the biggest enhancement of this year’s model is the always-on altimeter and the new blood oxygen sensor. According to Apple, data from the Series 6’s blood oxygen sensor could eventually be used to detect the early signs of “respiratory conditions like influenza and COVID-19.” The technology and understanding of data isn’t there yet, but if Apple is ever able to achieve that level of detection, that’s obviously going to be a huge deal.
To go along with the new blood oxygen sensor, Apple also gave the Series 6 an all-around spec boost. Headlining those upgrades are a new S6 processor, which promises up to 20-percent faster performance, and an improved always-on display that Apple claims is now 2.5 times brighter.
In terms of physical design, the Series 6 doesn’t look a whole lot different than the Series 5. Of course, that’s not a bad thing. The Series 5 Watch was a gorgeous piece of hardware, so no need to mess with a good thing. There are some cool finish options, though, including, for the first time, a Product (RED) version—something many of us have been clamoring after for years.
Along with the Series 6, Apple also introduced the Watch SE. The Watch SE is the successor to the Series 3, albeit with improved specs and many of the same features as the more current models. It even has the same always-on altimeter, gyroscope, and accelerometer as the Series 6.
Apple is marketing the Watch SE as an affordable alternative to the Series 6, but how it got the price down is just as compelling as the lower cost. Instead of just removing the costlier features, Apple focused on making the SE more essential. Basically, it loaded the SE up with everything customers love—big Retina display, robust health features, etc.—and excised the rest. The result appears to be a very good-looking, highly functional smartwatch at an objectively reasonable price point.
After the watches were wrapped, Apple moved onto its tablets, starting with the 8th-gen iPad. What’s incredible about the iPad is that even though it’s been 10 years (!) since the debut of the original iPad tablet, it’s still as vital as ever thanks to Apple’s continued investment in keeping the line up to spec.
That dedication continues with the 10.2″ 8th-gen iPad, which received some pretty major enhancements, including Apple’s powerful A12 chipset with “Neural Engine” processing. According to Apple, that means the 8th-gen iPad can reach speeds up to “two times faster than the top-selling Windows laptop.”
Along with being a whole heck of a lot faster, the 8th-gen iPad leverages the A12 for all kinds of new support and capabilities, including new VR/AR applications, photo editing, Siri performance, and more. Best of all, the starting cost doesn’t change. You get all of this year’s best features at last year’s price.
Saving arguably the best for last, Apple announced the new and improved iPad Air, which showed off a new screen, new design and color options, new features, and much more—including features previously exclusive to the iPad Pro.
This year’s iPad Air has a roughly-half-inch-larger 10.9″ Retina display and, compared to the 2019 model, features noticeably smaller. To increase the screen and reduce bezel size, while maintaining roughly the same footprint, Apple moved the fingerprint scanner up top, converting the power button into a full-fledged biometric sensor.
The screen isn’t the only improvement, either. Apple made some major enhancements to the iPad Air’s internals. At the top of that list is “the most advanced chip” Apple has ever made, the A14 Bionic. According to Apple, the six-core A14 will deliver a 40-percent performance boost over last year’s model.
Along with powerful new processor, the iPad Air also received an upgraded camera setup. It now comes with a 12MP rear camera—same as the camera in the iPad Pro—and a front-facing 7MP FaceTime camera. Speaking of the iPad Pro, the new iPad Air now features a USB-C port for faster data transfers and charging.
Along with the new features and hardware, the iPad Air will also support the latest iPad accessories and will run the most current operating system, iPadOS 14.
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