Apple Watch Series 6 unveiled with blood oxygen monitor, 2.5x brighter display, and four new colors

There's also the more affordable Apple Watch SE. Apple just widened its smartwatch lead...even more.

Just as expected, Apple announced new Apple Watches at its special event today. Goodbye Apple Watch Series 5, hello Series 6 and Apple Watch SE.

Apple Watch Series 6 — Aesthetically unchanged from the Series 5, the new Series 6's case. It still comes in 40mm and 44mm sizes. Apple introduced several new colors including a blue and red aluminum, and new gold and graphic gray stainless steel. There are also several new bands including a solo sport strap and braided solo loop.

The Apple Watch's blood oxygen monitor.Apple

Other notable upgrades include is a faster S6 chip, blood oxygen monitor, a display that's 2.5x brighter so it's easier to see in the sun, and a ton of new watch faces for the specific activities.

From Apple's Newsroom on the blood oxygen monitor:

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.
To compensate for natural variations in the skin and improve accuracy, the Blood Oxygen sensor employs four clusters of green, red, and infrared LEDs, along with the four photodiodes on the back crystal of Apple Watch, to measure light reflected back from blood. Apple Watch then uses an advanced custom algorithm built into the Blood Oxygen app, which is designed to measure blood oxygen between 70 percent and 100 percent. On-demand measurements can be taken while the user is still, and periodic background measurements occur when they are inactive, including during sleep. All data will be visible in the Health app, and the user will be able to track trends over time to see how their blood oxygen level changes.

Here's the blue:

Blue Series 6

This is one of the Apple Watch's new bands. It's called Solo Loop because — just look at it — it's a single loop.

This is hot.Apple
New gold stainless steelApple
Graphite grayApple

Apple Watch SE — Take the Apple Watch Series 5 design and S5 chip, add in the improved gyroscope and altimeter, and make it only available in aluminum and boom you got the SE. Yes, it's missing the blood oxygen monitor, ECG app, and the screen is not always-on (so it's like the Series 4), but if you don't need these two features, you can save $120.


Family Setup — Both the Series 6 and SE support a new feature called Family Setup.

From Apple:

Family Setup in watchOS 7 extends Apple Watch to the entire family by allowing kids and older family members of the household who do not have an iPhone to benefit from the connectivity, safety, and fitness features of Apple Watch. Kids can take advantage of communication and personalization capabilities, access Emergency SOS at any time, enjoy an Activity rings experience that has been optimized just for them, and utilize a new mode called Schooltime, which can help them stay focused and attentive while learning at home or in the classroom.

Literally every parent is now getting their kid an Apple Watch this year.

watchOS 7 coming tomorrow — The new version of Apple Watch software will be released tomorrow on September 16. "watchOS 7 will be available for Apple Watch Series 3 and later on September 16, and requires iPhone 6s or later running iOS 14. Not all features are available on all devices."

Pricing and release — The Apple Watch Series 6 starts at $399. Apple Watch SE starts at $279. And the Apple Watch Series 3 will remain kicking around starting at $199. Both of the new Apple Watches can be ordered today and arrive on Friday, September 18.

Domination — It's no contest: Apple has all but won the war for the wrist. In five years, the Apple Watch has become The Smartwatch not only in sales, but in terms of features. Counterpoint Research last said the Apple Watch accounts for over 50 percent of the global smartwatch market in the first half of 2020.

Originally marketed as an accessory for the iPhone, the Apple Watch has matured into a full-blown computer for your wrist thanks to its refocus on fitness and health. The latter, which Apple has been aggressively building on since the Series 4, with features like fall detection, ECG, and irregular heart rate notifications. Features that have helped save lives. With Series 6 and SE, Apple could widen its lead even further.