The Apple Watch Series 6 adds blood oxygen monitoring and more

As expected, Apple has unveiled the next model of Apple Watch — the Apple Watch Series 6 — in some flashy new colors, as well as a less-expensive alternative, the Apple Watch SE. As with other recent Apple Watch updates, the Series 6 is focused primarily on adding new health monitoring features, like blood oxygen monitoring, as well as personal customization options, while the Apple Watch SE offers a faster, newer alternative for those looking to spend a bit less. Both can now work without being paired to an iPhone via Apple’s new Family setup feature.

Powered by Apple’s new S6 processor, the Series 6 has a dual-core processor based on the company’s A13 Bionic chip. Along with a faster processor, we have an improved always-on display that’s two times brighter than the Series 5. Rounding out the new hardware is an always-on altimeter.

All this upgraded hardware powers announced features like the Blood Oxygen app. This lets users measure their blood oxygen saturation in just 15 seconds and takes readings periodically throughout your waking and sleeping life. All of this is aimed at keeping track of respiratory and cardiac health, as with asthma symptoms and potential heart problems, for example. Apple’s also partnered to help develop three new research studies, including early onset warning for COVID-19 infection.

There’s also a scattering of new customizable and interactive watch faces and a couple new bands, including a new leather option.

For fitness, Apple’s also introduced their first fitness service built specifically around the Apple Watch called Fitness+. You can choose workouts on your Apple TV and have them pop up on your watch with the countdown and tracking info specific to that workout. Workouts include yoga, cycling, dance, treadmill, HIIT, rowing, and also mindful cool-downs. New workouts are added every week. Fitness+ will be $10 a month or $80 for the year, available to your entire family, and will come with three free months with the purchase of a new Apple Watch Series 6.

With the launch of the Apple Watch SE, Apple’s also taken into account those who don’t have iPhones — specifically elder and younger family members (not those who are looking to hook up and Apple Watch with an Android device, sorry). With Family Setup, up to five family members can have Apple Watches setup through your iPhone and controlled with certain location-based and contact-restrictive features like those offered in current family features for iPhone.

This story is developing. Check back or follow our liveblog for more details as they are announced.

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