How to pre-order the new Apple Watches and 8th-gen iPad
The Series 6 and SE watches, 8th-gen iPad & iPad Air have arrived.
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Today, Apple unveiled two new additions to its lineup of smart watches—the Watch Series 6 and Watch SE—and a new iPad lineup, including an upgraded new iPad and a strikingly powerful (on paper anyway) iPad Air for 2020.
Products are available for pre-order today, with full availability this Friday, September 18th. Here's everything we know about the Apple gear so far so far.
Apple Watch Series 6 (starting at $399)
The new Series 6 watch is available in a new blue aluminum chassis, as well as classic gold, graphite, and a rather vivid new red finish that is particularly striking. However, beyond design details, Apple seemed excited to detail the variety of health-monitoring and even potentially life-saving abilities the latest Apple Watch tacks on.
The highlight of Health Center improvements is the ability for Series 6 watches to monitor blood oxygen levels. Apple showed off how the watch uses infrared light to scan your blood's coloration, allowing it to inform you (within 15 seconds) of how oxygen enriched (or not) your blood is. The company has also added first-party sleep tracking for the first time, and mentioned collaborations with pulmonary experts to help users manage conditions like asthma.
The Series 6 utilizes the new S6 processor, based on the company's A13 Bionic processor for iPhones, albeit they've been tuned for watch functionality. The improved functionality, alongside improved battery efficiency, allegedly made it possible to include functions like an always-on altimeter.
The company also showed off a new array of Faces, available in Watch OS 7, including new GMT, chronograph, customizable stripes, and even animated emoji-style Faces. And if that's not enough customizability for you, the company also debuted new Watch bands, including a perfectly fitted "solo loop" band that has no connecting parts.
Apple Watch SE (starting at $279)
With the new Apple Watch SE, Apple is doing its best to create an affordable smart watch of viable quality. To that end, the Apple Watch SE starts at $279—over $100 cheaper than the new Series 6—but can also be paid for as part of a payment plan.
Naturally, the SE isn't as powerful as the Series 6, utilizing Apple's S5 chip, which is a slight downgrade; that said, you're still getting the altimeter, and other advanced sensors from the Series 6, which is pretty cool. The SE will also only be available in the largest face size
Finally, Apple made a fairly key announcement for anyone concerned about ecology (which should be everyone, really): There will be no power adapters in any Apple watches this year, which the company claims is the equivalent of taking 50,000 vehicles off of the roads.
New 8th-gen iPad (starting at $329)
Apple also unveiled some hugely upgraded new iPad products: the 8th-gen iPad and new iPad Air.
Apple spent considerable time highlighting the increased power and capabilities of the new iPads, showing off things like hyper-sensitive virtual DJing capabilities and multiplayer gaming running at 60 fps. The new 8th-gen iPad Air features the A12 bionic chip, which lends it a claimed 40% faster CPU than previous models.
The standard iPad's graphics have also been improved, with Apple claiming that graphics processing abilities are twice as beefy as they were in previous iPad models. Finally, the company boasted that the new iPad's "neural engine" delivers much better RAM capabilities than previous models.
In terms of accessories improvements, the 8th-gen iPad now works alongside Apple Pencil, and accordingly, the iPad OS14 has been souped up to take advantage. For example, iPad OS14 is able to digitize handwritten notes and numbers, and a new feature—"Scribble"—should allow users to use Apple Pencil to write on or over any text file on their iPad.
iPad Air (starting at $599)
Likewise, the new iPad Air has had its performance and features bolstered—not the least of which include the range of chassis finishes available. The new iPad Air will be available in five colors total, including new rose gold, green, and sky blue finishes.
The Air also boasts a new resolution this year: 2,360 x 1,640. The heightened resolution and additional power of the iPad Air's A14 processor allegedly allow for the visibility and processing to make for super easy editing of 4K video—a bold claim, but exciting if true. The equivalent of a 40% boost in CPU here is made possible by internal electrical transistors that are allegedly only five nanometers in size.
In more practical terms, Apple states that the power increase allows the iPad Air to execute 11 trillion operations per second. Dang. It should be interesting to see how this device competes with the much pricier iPad Pro as the specs line up pretty similarly, including the same 12 MP camera on both devices, along with many similar internals.
The new iPad Air won't be available until October, and will start at an iPad Pro-busting $599.