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Apple welcomes a new generation of their Apple Watch today in the Series 6, and while the form factor looks familiar, there are some notable upgrades happening under the hood. Apple leans heavily into the health features provided by the Apple Watch, and the series 6 continues to emphasize these themes, but there are some visual upgrades here in the form of new case colors and dial designs to take in as well.
For the first time, the Apple watch is being offered in a blue aluminum finish, as well as a product red variant with red aluminum case. There is also a new graphite grey case option, and a classic gold colorway presented on the steel case. The new cases pair with a wide range of new face (dial) designs and strap options. You’ll immediately recognize some of the dial designs here as they reference traditional watches quite heavily, from the Chronograph Pro, the GMT, and even a dive watch inspired design with large hour indexes held by a thick bezel ring.
On the inside, the Series 6 received Apple’s own S6 chip that’s based on the one found in the iPhone 11, and will make the S6 20% faster than the S5. It powers a bevy of features along with the new health sensor found in S6, which has the ability to take blood oxygen level readings with infrared lights. A particularly timely addition as such readings can help diagnose early Covid symptoms. The measurement takes about 15 seconds, and takes factors like elevation into account as well. On top of that, there’s also a hand washing sensor that counts down the time it takes to properly clean your hands.
The Series 6 will ship running Apple’s OS7, which brings the new face designs and health features, alongside features like a better always on display, fall detection, and the suite of fitness tracking capabilities you know and love (or hate). They are packaging fitness features into a new subscription service called Fitness + for a small monthly fee if you fall on the love side of those features.
Apple also introduced new straps for their watches, including the solo loop available in 7 colors, which is a stretchable silicone loop that you slip onto your wrist like a bracelet. These will be available in a wide range of sizes to fit all manner of wrists, and will even be offered in braided silicone available in 5 colors.
Overall, this is not a groundbreaking hardware update, but a jump in feature sets and a powerful new CPU make this the most powerful Apple Watch to date. If you need the extra horsepower but like the feature set, they also introduced the Apple Watch SE, which uses the S5 chip and starts at $279. Pricing for the Series 6 starts at $399 for aluminum cases, and rises to $749 for a steel case. Cellular services cost extra. The Series 6 and SE watches are available to order now, with deliveries beginning later this week.