It was not a typical September launch event for Apple, as the tech giant went virtual in unveiling its new range of products.
Previous editions have seen Apple bosses speak in front of an audience at the Steve Jobs Theatre, but last night CEO Tim Cook kicked off the event from within the company’s corporate HQ before handing over to key personnel to introduce the new devices.
While there was a focus on the new Apple Watch series, iPads, Fitness+ and Apple One services bundle, there was no unveiling of the iPhone 12.
CNET.com predicts that the new model for Apple’s flagship smartphone will be announced on either 13 or 14 October.
Here we take a look at the new products launched last night.
Apple Watch Series 6
UK release date: on sale from Friday 18 September
Price: from £379
The Apple Watch Series 6 introduces a “revolutionary blood oxygen feature” that offers users even more insight into their overall wellness. It delivers many notable hardware improvements, including a faster S6 System in Package (SiP) and next-generation always-on altimeter, along with its most colourful line-up yet. Running on watchOS 7, the device offers family set-up, sleep tracking, automatic handwashing detection, new workout types, and the ability to curate and share watch faces.
Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, said: “Apple Watch Series 6 completely redefines what a watch can do. 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 SE
UK release date: Friday 18 September
Price: from £269
The largest and most advanced retina display allows users to see more details and information. Apple Watch SE features the same accelerometer, gyroscope, and always-on altimeter as Apple Watch Series 6, and with the latest motion sensors and microphone, it offers robust health and safety capabilities including fall detection, Emergency SOS, international emergency calling, and the Noise app.
“Apple Watch SE combines elements of the Series 6 design with the most essential features of Apple Watch, all at a more affordable price,” said Williams. “We’re excited to offer another great option to help customers stay connected, be more active, and keep an eye on their health.”
New iPad Air
UK release date: available in October
Price: from £579
The all-new iPad Air is the “most powerful, versatile, and colourful iPad Air ever”. Available in five finishes, it features 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. The A14 Bionic chip gives it a “massive boost in performance”, and makes it “by far the most powerful and capable iPad Air ever made”.
Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said: “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.”
UK release date: Friday 18 September
Price: from £329
The eighth-generation iPad features an A12 Bionic chip that delivers a “huge leap in performance”, with 40% faster central processing unit (CPU) and twice the graphics capability. Apple says this makes the new iPad up to “two times faster than the top-selling Windows laptop, up to three times faster than the top-selling Android tablet and up to six times faster than the top-selling Chromebook”.
Joswiak added: “We’re excited to offer customers an even faster and more powerful experience with the eighth-generation iPad. 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 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.”
UK release date: late 2020
Price: £9.99 a month or £79.99 a year
Arriving later this year, Fitness+ is Apple’s first fitness subscription service and will take on the likes of Peloton, says CNN. While built for Apple Watch, The Verge reports that the fitness service will integrate with iPhones, iPads, and Apple TV. Available for a monthly or annual subscription, current Apple Watch owners get one month free and buyers of a new Apple Watch will get three months free.
Jay Blahnik, Apple’s senior director of fitness for health technologies, said: “With diverse studio workouts that are suitable for all ability levels, led by a phenomenal group of unique trainers, and an approachable program designed for beginners all the way through to the fitness enthusiast – as well as the flexibility to work out anywhere – there’s something for everyone. We know Fitness+ will take working out with Apple Watch to the next level with unparalleled engagement, convenience, and inspiration.”
In reaction to the launch of Apple Fitness+, Peloton tweeted: “Friendly competition is in our DNA. Welcome to the world of digital fitness, @Apple.”
Apple One services bundle
UK release date: this autumn
Apple One allows users to get all of Apple’s subscription services in “one simple plan”, including Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, Apple News+, Apple Fitness+, and iCloud. With a single subscription, customers in more than 100 countries and regions can enjoy Apple services across devices including the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV and Mac.
- Individual: £14.95 per month (includes Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, iCloud 50GB)
- Family: £19.95 per month (save £7.50 per month and share with up to five other people; includes Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Music, iCloud 200GB)
- Premier: £29.95 per month (save £22 per month and share with up to five other people; includes Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, iCloud 2TB, Apple News+, Apple Fitness+)