The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t stopped Apple from releasing updates to its flagship products, from the iPhone SE in April to the brand new Apple Watch 6 and iPad. While the iPad, which technology writer Whitson Gordon calls the only tablet worth buying, won’t be shipping until October, the Apple Watch 6 (which can come in a new, very deep red) is out now and ready to head your way. Should you get it? On top of the base reasons to get an Apple Watch, the new Series 6 does bring with it some interesting upgrades — and some timely features, to boot.
The new watch will include a new tool to measure blood oxygen levels and an improved tool for measuring sleep, the brand said — Apple is partnering with academia spanning multiple universities on health studies involving the watch. It will also now include a countdown timer for hand-washing (clever), to encourage wearers to continue washing for a full 20 seconds, said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. Notably, the Apple Watch 6 has dropped its USB power adapter for an eco-friendlier build, Apple says.
According to Apple, the new so-called blood oxygen sensor comprises four LED clusters and four photodiodes, built into its crystal back and informing a Blood Oxygen app to help determine the amount of oxygen in your blood. Once you’re wearing it, the Apple Watch 6 will regularly watch your blood oxygen levels — of course, if you have real concerns about your blood or medical concerns otherwise, it’s best to check in with a medical doctor rather than rely on your smart watch (or any non-medical, non-doctor tech, for that matter).
Otherwise, Apple claims the new Apple Watch 6 charges faster than its predecessor by nearly 40 percent. And you’ll be able to utilize Apple’s latest watchOS 7 with it, which allows some non-iPhone users to use the smart watch, as well as innovations in the sleep tracking space and more.
Apple Watch 6 options
You can get the Apple Watch 6 in a variety of models, styles, materials, finishes and bands.
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Other Apple Watch models to consider
Sporting the same Retina display and allowing for GPS and cellular connectivity like the flagship Apple Watch, the SE keeps out the always on feature, the blood oxygen and ECG detection apps, and reduces performance in other ways but should be more than enough to cover your daily needs, alerts and timekeeping. While it may lack some premium functions, its cost is reduced to a non-premium level, too.
Sporting all of the above functions, the 3 Series sports GPS but not cellular service, nor does it allow for Apple’s new Family Setup features, which allow non-iPhone users to use the Apple Watch. One bonus is the case size, which you can get in 38mm or 42mm in contrast to the flagship models’ 40mm and 44mm options.
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Gideon Grudo is the NBC News commerce editor.
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