Apple’s “Time Flies” event really flew today. One hour, in and out, with a bevy of new products that you can start preordering like the Apple super-fan you are. I kid, but only a little bit.
So you don’t have to read through your 35th liveblog of the day, here’s a quick look at everything Apple announced today and how you can get your hands on it.
Apple Watch Series 6
Apple’s latest smartwatch is here, with a brand-new blood-oxygen sensor that can give you a measurement of your O2 levels whenever you want (after 15 seconds) or a lovely little look at what these levels are like throughout your busy, quarantine-filled life. It’s faster than the Apple Watch Series 5 (20%, claims Apple), it’s 2.5 times brighter when you’re looking at it outdoors (another Apple claim), and it has a wide assortment of new faces you can play with for just about anything you want to do.
Cost: Starting at $399 for a basic Solo Loop, Sport Loop, or Sport Band (40mm version, aluminum case), and bumps up to $429 for a basic 44mm version (same). From there, however you much you want to spend on a case or band will determine how much else you’ll have to pay on top of that. And if you want cellular connectivity, too, expect to throw in an extra $100.
Bands: Apple introduce a brand-new Solo Loop, a “custom liquid silicone” band that comes in a variety of sizes, seven colors, and requires no unclasping of anything—just sliding your hand through the opening. There’s also a Braided Solo Loop (same concept, five colors), a new Leather Link (no clasps to fuss with) that comes in four colors, new colors for Nike Sport Bands, and new Hermès bands if you’re feeling bougie.
Apple Watch SE
This is basically your budget Apple Watch if Apple wasn’t also keeping around the $200 Series 3. In fact, I don’t really see why you’d get a Series 3 over this, given its slightly higher price ($279) and considerably faster performance (2x the speed of a Series 3, claims Apple). You won’t get a blood-oxygen sensor or an ECG-reader (if I’m right), but you’ll get the same altimeter, accelerometer, compass, and gyroscope as the more-expensive Series 6.
Basically, if you don’t care about the minutia of health measurements, but you want something that functions as an excellent watch and fitness-tracker, the Apple Watch SE is a no-brainer. It’s what I’d go with, to be honest; I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve used my Apple Watch’s ECG. Not to say it’s not useful, but the Apple Watch Series 6’s fancy health options aren’t for everyone.
Cost: Starting at $279 for a basic Solo Loop, Sport Loop, or Sport Band (40mm version, aluminum case), and bumps up to $309 for a basic 44mm version (same). If you want cellular connectivity, expect to throw in an extra $50—and expect to pay even more depending on whether you want a flashier case or band.
Bands: The same Solo Loop and Braided Solo Loop Apple as before are available for the Apple Watch SE. Don’t expect a fancier Leather Link or anything like that, though; this is Apple’s budget watch, after all.
If there’s a reason to buy an 11-inch iPad Pro, I’m not seeing it. At least, not until Apple gives its flagship iPad a boost next month (one assumes). Right now, the iPad Air is the best 11-inch iPad you can buy. Its thin-bezel appearance practically looks like an iPad Pro, and its 2560-by-1640-pixel display (at 10.9 inches, technically) has a liquid retina display and supports True Tone—yet more iPad Pro features making their way to a “lesser” device.
This iPad Air is (allegedly) 40 percent faster than the previous generation’s tablet, thanks to Apple’s A14 Bionic chip. USB-C has (finally) arrive, alongside a super-awesome Touch ID senor built directly into the iPad Air’s power button. I truly hope this finds a home on every handheld device Apple makes. You don’t get the iPad Pro’s Face ID, nor its 120Hz display, but you do get a much-improved 12MP rear camera with video stabilization. I mean, really, the new iPad Air is basically the old iPad Pro, just cheaper, and with potentially slightly less processing power. For the everyday person, what more do you need?
Cost: Starting at $599 for 64GB, wifi-only, and going up to $879 for 256GB and wifi+cellular connectivity.
I confess, I didn’t feel very excited during Apple’s chit-chat about its new eighth-generation iPad, because it looks like a simple guts upgrade. You get an A12 Bionic chip that’s allegedly 40 percent faster than the previous-generation iPad in general, has twice as speedy graphics, and comes with a Neural Engine, but that’s about it. Same price as before.
Cost: Starting at $329 for 32GB wifi-only, and going up to $559 for 128GB and wifi+cellular connectivity.