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Apple launches new Apple Watch SE with focus on family sharing

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The lower-cost Apple Watch SE has been updated, still aimed chiefly at customers on a strict budget.

Alongside the new Apple Watch Series 8, Apple has unveiled an updated Apple Watch SE for the first time since its 2020 launch. The new model has the S8 processor found in the Apple Watch Series 8, making it 20% faster than the previous SE model.

It also benefits from a larger display than the Series 3, which is 30% bigger than the older Apple Watch model.

Most significantly, since Apple has at long last dropped the Apple Watch Series 3, the new Apple Watch SE has become the lowest-cost watch model available.

A carousel of Apple Watch SE variants.

Along with the same core features of the main Apple Watch, including heart rate notifications, AFib history, and Emergency SOS, it also includes crash detection, a headline addition to the regular model. There's also the new Compass app,

The new model remains the same size as the previous edition, with a small version at 41mm and a larger one at 44mm. The rear case is now made of nylon composite, with a reduced carbon footprint and color-matching with the rest of the case. It is rated to survive swimming at a depth of up to 50 meters.

The new back cover, Compass app, and sleep detection for the Apple Watch SE
The new back cover, Compass app, and sleep detection for the Apple Watch SE

It still lacks key features from the more expensive models, such as an always-on display and health features such as a blood oxygen app, or an ECG one. Plus, even its larger option of 44mm remains smaller than the Series 8.

For the budget-conscious, Apple has again positioned the LTE model of the Apple Watch SE as being for parents who want a device for their children but don't want to buy an iPhone.

The new Apple Watch SE starts at $249 for the GPS mode and $299 for GPS + Cellular. Preorders begin today, and shipping is a week later, on September 16.