Apple Watch Series 6
Last updated: 1 month ago
The most notable changes to the Apple Watch Series 6 include blood oxygen tracking, a faster processor, and a new 2.5x brighter always-on display. New colors include PRODUCT(RED), blue, and graphite. Apple's new Apple Watch band called the Solo Loop and Braided Solo Loop debuted alongside the Apple Watch 6 as well.
● Announced at the Time Flies event in September 2020
● Blood oxygen sensor
● S6 chip
● Titanium, stainless steel, aluminum
● Always-on display
● Starts at $399
Apple launched the Apple Watch Series 6 at its September "Time Flies" event in 2020. The Apple Watch platform has matured in design and software, but the company has pushed it forward again with new health functions and more color and band options.
Apple Watch Series 6 Pricing
The Apple Watch Series 6 starts at $399 for 40mm and $429 for 44mm. Cellular variants add an extra $100.
Apple Watch Series 6 Features
The Apple Watch has evolved since its release to find its key use case. It started life with a fashion/social focus with some fitness features but has since become a powerful fitness and health device.
Blood oxygen sensor
Apple's most-touted feature of the new watch is the blood oxygen sensor, which has an accompanying app. To use the feature, ensure the Watch is snug on your wrist and don't move while taking the reading. As long as you meet those requirements, it only takes 15 seconds for the reading to come back.
The reading shows the percent of oxygen present in the bloodstream. This is obtained by detecting the color of the user's blood using red and infrared lights. The returned value does not give much information on its own, as it does not explain if a reading is "good" or not.
Apple's vagueness about the value is likely due to its skirting of the medical device requirements. Apple says that the blood oxygen measurement is only for wellness and fitness purposes and not intended to replace a medical device, such as a pulse oximeter, which requires federal approval.
If Apple would start giving advice and saying it is good or bad, it may be getting dangerously close to a medical device and the regulation that comes with it.
Heart health sensors
Apple included all the other sensors introduced in previous generations of Apple Watch in the Apple Watch Series 6. It has a heart rate sensor that continuously monitors the user's heart rate every few minutes or so depending on activity. If you are engaged in a workout your heart rate will be continuously monitored until three minutes after the workout.
If any abnormal heart rates are detected, the user will be notified. The Apple Watch cannot detect a heart attack, but can warn users before a fatal heart event if your heart beat becomes too fast, too slow, or too irregular.
Users can also perform an ECG using the latest Apple Watch models. Introduced with the Apple Watch Series 4, you can take an ECG using the built-in app. The Apple Watch must be worn tight during the measurement, and it is performed by placing your finger on the Digital Crown for a minute.
The ECG can detect if a possible atrial fibrillation is present and warn users if a hospital visit is needed. It is not able to give medical advice nor provide a diagnosis, but can be the first step in stopping a life threatening condition.
An update in watchOS 7.2 enables an ECG to be conducted while experiencing high heart rates up to 150BPM. Previously user's with a high heart rate would have to wait until their heart rate slowed to use the feature.
Launched during the "Time Flies" event, Apple Fitness+ will allow customers equipped with an Apple Watch and another Apple device with a screen to perform guided workouts. Displaying a workout on an iPhone, iPad, or via the Apple TV, the app will monitor the user's workout via sensors on the Apple Watch.
Apple's trainers will provide a series of studio workout videos on a weekly basis, covering various workout types, including HIIT, Yoga, and Strength Training. Data from the Apple Watch will appear on the screen as an overlay, so users will be able to keep track of their progress without needing to look at the Apple Watch. This will include notifications for reaching fitness goals on their rings.
Fitness+ will use a custom recommendation engine that accounts for previously completed workouts. It will then suggest new options that match what a user prefers or suggest a different workout to help maintain a balanced routine. Fitness+ users will also be able to take advantage of an intuitive filtering tool to choose a routine based on workout type, trainer, duration, or music.
Users who also subscribe to Apple Music will be able to save Fitness+ workout playlists for listening to later.
Priced at $9.99 per month, or $79.99 per year, with a 30 day free trial for anyone to try. Those who buy a new Apple Watch Series 3 or later, starting on September 15, 2020, get three months of Fitness+ for free.
Fitness+ requires a user to be wearing an Apple Watch Series 3 or newer, and can be shared with up to five other people in Family Sharing for no additional cost. It is also available to use as part of the new Apple One subscription.
The new flagship wearable is Apple's first to include the U1 Ultra Wideband chip, according to technical specifications listed on the company's website. Apple's UWB solution debuted with iPhone 11 in 2019.
What features the U1 is destined to facilitate for Apple Watch remains unclear. Currently, the chip serves as a backbone for directional AirDrop functionality on iPhone 11 series handsets, and will serve as a part of the CarKey system in upcoming vehicle models.
Apple designed the U1 to provide spatial awareness and precise location tracking capabilities to mobile devices. The system utilizes UWB to send repeatable signals between two iPhones — and now Apple Watch — to determine their relative position in space.
Family Setup lets you set up your children's Apple Watches without needing to have their own iPhone. Children in the household get their own phone number for each Apple Watch, allowing the family to keep in touch even if the kids don't have phones.
Family Setup lets parents specify with which contacts children can communicate. Parents can also get automatic location notifications, so they can keep tabs on where their family is. Kids can use their Apple Watch to track their movement and all Apple Watch activity features.
Schooltime Mode is a feature that helps kids stay focused, limiting available features and activating Do Not Disturb during the school day, while giving them a unique watch face.
Family Setup requires cellular Apple Watches, Series 4 or later.
Solo Loop and Braided Solo Loop
Apple introduced a new type of band that loops around without connectors or clasps. It is a simple elastic band that needs to be sized-to-fit for the best experience.
Initial orders placed with the new band type required users to measure their wrist size using a paper print-out, which lead to some errors, or users just guessed their size without performing the laborious measuring task. Those who received incorrectly sized bands had to return their entire packaging, including the Apple Watch itself, to get it exchanged.
Be sure to try on the band in person or use the paper sizing system prior to purchase.
Apple Watch Series 6 Lineup
The Apple Watch 6 consists of 40mm and 44mm watches with aluminum, stainless steel, and titanium case materials. They are priced from $399 to $1,499 and include various watch bands and colors to choose from using the Apple Watch Studio. The Apple Watch Series 6 makes Apple’s wearable lineup more complex than ever.
Common Apple Watch Series 6 questions
When did the Apple Watch Series 6 release?
Apple released the latest Apple Watch on September 18, 2020 after the "Time Flies" event.
What health features does the Apple Watch Series 6 have?
Apple added a blood oxygen detector to the latest Apple Watch. The health features found in previous models are still present in this model, including fall detection, ECG functions, and heart rate monitoring.
What new bands are available with the Apple Watch Series 6?
The Solo Loop and Braided Solo Loop are new bands that loop around the wrist with no fastener or connector. These bands must be sized to fit and are available for $49 and $99 respectively.