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Work it: Apple's new Watch series puts huge focus on health & fitness

16 Sep 2020

It’s time… for new additions to the Apple Watch series, with the announcement of the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE – both of which will include the new Apple Fitness+ app to be launched later this year.

The Apple Watch Series 6

Leading the announcements is the Apple Watch Series 6, which is putting all kinds of fitness and health sensor technology under its hood. It includes watchOS 7, which includes sleep tracking, new workouts, different watch faces, and automatic handwashing detection, amongst many other features like Siri and Maps.

But the feature that Apple itself is most excited about is the blood oxygen sensor that measures the oxygen saturation of a wearer’s blood. 

“Oxygen saturation, or SpO2, represents the percentage of oxygen being carried by red blood cells from the lungs to the rest of the body, and indicates how well this oxygenated blood is being delivered throughout the body,” Apple explains.

There are four LEDs and photodiodes in the back crystal of the Apple Watch that measure light reflected from blood. An algorithm does all the calculations and converts these readings into blood oxygen levels. This data can help people understand fitness and wellness, and will be available in the Health app.

Apple Watch Series 6 also features redesigned hardware including a dual-core processor A13 Bionic in iPhone 11, an upgraded S6 SiP, U1 chip and Ultra-Wideband antennas (useful for when digital car keys go mainstream), an Always-on Retina Display, and 18-hour battery life.

The Apple Watch Series 6 will come in a bunch of colours, including blue, silver, space grey, and gold, as well as (PRODUCT)RED Apple Watch with matching bright red bands. Stainless steel models are now available in graphite — a rich grey-black hue with a striking high-shine finish — and an updated classic yellow gold colour. There is also an assortment of wrist straps available too.

The Apple Watch Series 6 is available for preorder, with general availably on 22 September. 

Pricing: Apple Watch Series 6 (GPS) starts at NZ$699 and Apple Watch Series 6 (GPS + Cellular) starts at NZ$899.

The Apple Watch SE

This is, in Apple’s words, a ‘more affordable’ version of the Apple Watch. It doesn’t have a blood oxygen sensor, but it does include watchOS7, fall detection, emergency SOS, emergency calling, and WatchOS 7 features like sleep tracking, automatic handwashing detection and new workouts.

It also includes Apple’s Retina display, as well as the S5 System in Package (SiP) and dual-core processor, a Digital Crown with haptic feedback, a speaker and microphone, plus Siri, Walkie-Talkie, and Bluetooth 5 connections. 

Apple Watch SE (GPS) starts at NZ$479 and Apple Watch SE (GPS + Cellular) starts at NZ$579.

Apple Fitness+

Apple Watch users will be able to subscribe to the Fitness+ app by the end of the year. 

Accessible through the Watch, iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV, this app will provide studio workouts through a ‘personalised’ workout experience for all fitness levels.

Workouts include cycling, treadmill, rowing, HIIT, strength, yoga, dance, core, and ‘mindful cooldown’.

Fitness+ considers previously completed workouts and suggests new options that match the workouts users select most often or something fresh to balance their current routine. There is also a filtering tool that lets users refine workout type, the trainer, the duration, or the music. 

Apple Music subscribers will also be able to save and listen to their music.

At launch, customers can conveniently find Fitness+ in the tab located in the new Fitness app on the iPhone, which will also arrive on iPad and Apple TV. 

Apple Fitness+ will be available to Apple Watch customers as a subscription service before the end of 2020 for NZ$16.99 inc. GST per month or NZ$139.99 per year.