Apple’s much anticipated launch event on Tuesday did not reveal a 5G enabled iPhone, but the firm did launch a number of new hardware and service offerings.

Apple launched the Apple Watch Series 6, new iPad tablets, a subscription bundle called Apple One, and a virtual fitness service to rival that of Peloton etc.

The later offerings demonstrates Apple’s growing move into the services sector after it launched Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade last year. A separate article examines the Apple One subscription and fitness service.

Apple Watch

Apple announced the Watch Series 6, and it comes with a useful feature for users living through the global Coronavirus pandemic.

The new Apple Watch Series 6 monitors blood oxygen levels, which can be a key issue for those infected with Covid-19.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for example, after he was infected with Coronavirus, was earlier this year rushed to intensive care when his blood oxygen levels became dangerously low due to the virus.

Besides the new blood oxygen sensor and app, the smartwatch came with new case finishes, and watchOS 7.

“Apple Watch Series 6 delivers many notable hardware improvements, including a faster S6 System in Package (SiP) and next-generation always-on altimeter, along with its most colourful lineup yet, featuring a beautiful palette of new case finishes and bands,” said Apple.

“WatchOS 7 brings Family Setup, sleep tracking, automatic handwashing detection, new workout types, and the ability to curate and share watch faces, encouraging customers to be more active, stay connected, and better manage their health in new ways,” it added.

Apple Watch 6 uses a new dual-core processor based on A13 Bionic in iPhone 11, the upgraded S6 SiP runs up to 20 percent faster, allowing apps to also launch 20 percent faster, while maintaining the same all-day 18-hour battery life.

Additionally, Apple Watch Series 6 features the U1 chip and Ultra Wideband antennas, which will enable short-range wireless location to support new experiences, such as next-generation digital car keys.

Apple Watch Series 6 offers faster charging, completing a full charge in under 1.5 hours, and improved battery life for tracking certain workouts, such as indoor and outdoor runs.

An enhanced Always-On Retina display is up to 2.5 times brighter than Apple Watch Series 5 outdoors when the user’s wrist is down.

“Apple Watch Series 6 completely redefines what a watch can do,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. “With powerful new features, including a Blood Oxygen sensor and app, Apple Watch becomes even more indispensable by providing further insight into overall well-being.”

Apple Watch Series 6 will cost $399 (£309) and a more basic Apple Watch SE will cost $279.

8th Gen iPad

Meanwhile the other hardware development saw Apple announce the eighth generation iPad, which it boasts will deliver a “huge jump in performance,” in addition to a new iPad Air.

Apple also added a faster processor (A12 Bionic) to the base model iPad, which comes with a 10.2-inch Retina display, advanced cameras, and all-day battery life.

“We’re excited to offer customers an even faster and more powerful experience with the eighth-generation iPad,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior VP of Worldwide Marketing. “With its beautiful 10.2-inch Retina display, the performance boost from the A12 Bionic, great cameras, and so much more, the new iPad is an incredible value at a time when, more than ever, our customers need powerful and versatile ways to work, play, learn, and connect with loved ones.”

It will be priced at $329 for consumers and $299 for education customers, available from this Friday.

Apple iPad Air

The other new tablet on offer is Apple’s new iPad Air, which will cost $599 and look more like its high-end iPad Pro models.

This new tablet boasts an even faster A14 processor chip delivering a claimed 40 percent CPU performance boost. Apple says this device will be the first to use a 5-nanometer chip manufacturing process.

This new iPad is available in five finishes (silver, space gray, rose gold, green, and sky blue), and comes with an all-screen design with a larger 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display, camera and audio upgrades, and a new integrated Touch ID sensor in the top button.

“Today we’re excited to introduce a completely redesigned and far more powerful iPad Air, debuting Apple’s most powerful chip ever made, the A14 Bionic,” said Joswiak.

“With its gorgeous new all-screen design, larger 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display, next-generation Touch ID, and a massive boost in performance with A14 Bionic, the new iPad Air brings customers powerful pro features at an even more affordable price,” he said. “Along with major upgrades to the iPad Pro and eighth-generation iPad this year, and the powerful new features of iPadOS 14, this is our strongest iPad lineup ever, giving our customers even more ways to enrich their daily lives.”

Both of these tablets come with iPadOS 14.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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