Apple’s “Time Flies” event took place on Tuesday and there were plenty of exciting announcements. Although the company’s latest iPhone wasn’t among them, there are other gadgets to discuss. The tech giant also unveiled a new subscription bundle called Apple One and its Fitness+ service.
Let’s dive in to the biggest announcements from Apple’s September event and also look at some of the things it left out.
New Apple Watches
Apple has made a lot of progress since its first iteration of the Apple Watch. On Tuesday, it announced the sixth-generation Watch and the budget-friendly Apple Watch SE. The devices will continue to focus on their strength as a health-monitoring tool.
The Watch Series 6 includes a nifty feature in the form of blood oxygen monitoring. It lets users check the oxygen saturation of their blood (SPO2) in about 15 seconds. The reading is also taken periodically during sleep, something that could be used to help diagnose conditions like sleep apnea.
Although its battery life remains about the same, the Series 6 will sport updated hardware. It includes a new chip, charges 20 percent faster, and has an always-on display that’s 2.5 times brighter than its predecessor.
Interestingly, the latest Apple Watch won’t come with a charging adapter. Apparently, Apple assumes that everyone buying a Watch is upgrading. Or, maybe it just wants to sell more overpriced accessories. The Watch Series 6 will arrive on September 18 for a price of $399.
For consumers watching their budget, the Apple Watch SE might be a solid option. It features many of the features of the more expensive model, including heart rate and fitness tracking. However, more advanced health-monitoring features like ECG readings and the new SPO2 sensor are absent. Still, the Watch SE will retail for $279, a notable discount compared to the flagship version.
iPad Air Gets a Makeover
Apple’s already confusing iPad lineup got a bit more confusing on Tuesday with the announcement of a major makeover for the iPad Air. It features a fresh new redesign that looks eerily similar to the iPad Pro. Ironically, it also competes spec-wise with the other model.
The new iPad Air features a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina IPS display and runs on Apple’s new A14 chipset. Another welcome upgrade is a fingerprint sensor that is now built into the top power button.
The latest iPad Air also adds support for both the second-generation Apple Pencil and the Magic Keyboard. Additionally, it is making the jump to USB-C at long last. The tablet is expected to launch sometime in October and a 64GB Wi-Fi-only model will cost $599.
Apple One Wants Your Monthly Payment
Apple put some rumors to bed on Tuesday regarding its ambition to create a subscription bundle for its various services. The company revealed Apple One, which allows consumers to package their favorite apps to save some money.
Over the past few years, Apple has been making a significant push into the subscription business. The company has managed to shift its business model away from hardware and toward services in a shockingly brief amount of time.
Apple One bundles the company’s key services, including Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and iCloud for $14.95 a month. Families can get the bundle for $19.95. Meanwhile, the “Premier” tier adds Apple News and the new Apple Fitness+.
The latter was also announced on Tuesday. It includes 10 different exercises that users can follow along with using their iOS device. Their Apple Watch then tracks their progress, measuring things like heart rate, calories burned, and pace. Apple is planning to upgrade the service to include personalized recommendations and instructional videos for exercise newbies sometime in the future.
Those who want to subscribe to Fitness+ by itself can do so for $10 a month or $80 annually. At this point, though, it makes more sense to just opt for an Apple One plan.
iOS 14 is Dropping on Wednesday
No Apple event would be complete without a surprise. The company announced that iOS 14 is launching for the public on Wednesday, September 16. Usually, the tech giant rolls out its latest iOS upgrade on the same day as a new iPhone.
Due to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, that won’t be true this year. Even so, iOS 14 is worth getting excited about. One of the software’s major features is the addition of home screen widgets that allow users to customize their device with functions from various apps.
Another upgrade includes an Android-like app drawer for keeping things organized. Check out The Burn-In’s full rundown of iOS 14’s features for more background. Anyone with an iPhone 6s or above will be able to upgrade starting tomorrow.
Still No iPhone News
Most people went into Tuesday’s Apple event expecting to hear news about the company’s latest smartphone—the iPhone 12. Everyone knows that the arrival of a new iPhone is imminent. The question is, how much longer will the wait be?
Although it isn’t guaranteed, there is a good chance that Apple will announce the iPhone 12 in early to mid-October. Rumors have virtually guaranteed that the device will support 5G. However, its other specs and details remain a mystery.
Smart Home, Smart Gadgets
Despite Apple’s shift towards services, it is still a hardware giant. The company is working on a variety of new products that didn’t get a moment in the spotlight on Tuesday. Its long-rumored Tile-like trackers called AirTags are still shrouded in mystery. They could launch this year, but that is looking less and less likely.
Meanwhile, Apple is working on the first round of Macs featuring its in-house, Arm-based silicon. Those devices have been promised by the end of 2020. As of now, a set release date hasn’t been announced.
Another omission from Tuesday’s event is news about a second-generation HomePod. When Apple released its smart speaker in 2018 it sold well despite costing $350. An updated model—or one that is cheaper—has been expected for some time. Perhaps it will arrive closer to the holidays.
There is a lot to take in from Apple’s Time Flies event. With plenty of new devices to get excited about and fresh subscription options to consider, the company has set itself up for a profitable end of the year.