Apple Unveils Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE

Originally published at: Apple Unveils Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE - TidBITS

Apple has announced its next-generation Apple Watch Series 6 with a number of enhancements, notably a blood oxygen sensor and new bands. The company also unveiled a lower-cost Apple Watch SE.

I watched the event last night, but as a non-watch user, found it difficult to track what was new, what was interesting, etc. Thanks for a great article that sets it all out clearly and concisely! (TidBITS never lets me down :grin:)

One question, though, @julio. You state:

The Apple Watch SE is essentially a rebranded Apple Watch Series 5—minus the ECG—but otherwise with welcome improvements.

But reading through the details and also having a look at Apple’s product page, it sounds more like the SE is a Series 6 minus some of the more advanced features. Is there a reason you consider it more based on the Series 5 than the Series 6?

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Will the blood oxygen sensor require the same regulatory approvals in every country that we saw for the ECG—so that it might be a long time, in some places, before it can actually be used?

It’s using the same processor as the S5 rather than the S6.

The other difference with the S5 is that there is no always on display in the SE as there was with the S5. Otherwise, it’s just like the S5, just without the ECG and the always on display.

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Not according to DC Rainmaker’s review. Apple apparently didn’t seek approval. This puts them in the same boat as Garmin, I believe, who’s had SpO2 on one or more of their watches for a couple of years now. As with “running power” or “cycling dynamics”, no one really knows what good having this actually does.

I was holding off buying a S5 last week to see what Apple was going to peddle. The 6 seems logical, but the use is still … well…bizarre. I mean, I would take my analog watch off to sleep. But with an Apple watch, isn’t this when you charge it? So that unless the battery lasts a week (it only last 18hrs on a charge), this really doesn’t make sense if you want to monitor daily HR/Blood O2 and nightly sleep patterns. They want you to buy two (one charges/other is worn)? Perhaps I am not the ideal market segment. And the SE is the crippled 5, right? Thanks for writeup. I expect more comparisons of the 6 as we go one. Dreading the iOS14 surprises today… maybe I should wait till the iOS14.1…

It depends on the regulations of each country. Interestingly, ECG was built into the very first edition of Apple Watch in anticipation of it being quickly approved by the FDA. I wonder if the current Covid 19 crisis might have helped facilitate approval?

I charge mine for about an hour in the morning when I’m getting ready, and top it off before I go to bed at night if it needs it. Works fine.


Generally, yes, but I find that charging for about thirty minutes to an hour before I go to bed is more than enough to get through the night. And you can charge again when you wash up for the day after you wake up, while you eat breakfast, etc. And Apple claims that the S6 charges faster than previous watches, like my S5 and S2.

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I’ve been wearing a watch to bed and using a sleep tracking app, Auto Sleep, for the last year or so. I generally charge the watch in the morning (during shower, breakfast, and getting dressed) and top it off at night before going to bed.

Over the last few months, the Apple Watch 4 seems to have increased its discharge rate, losing 30-40% of charge overnight and 30% or so during the day. I did purchase an upgrade to a 6 yesterday with a trade-in of the old watch.THe old watch was valued at $140, so the net cost wa under $300. The new watch should arrive next week.

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Ah, I’d missed that, thanks! Makes sense. :grin:

I’m reluctant to wear my Apple Watch in bed because it has a Milanese Loop band, and there’s the whole hair-getting-caught issue with my wife’s hair :blush:

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A detail emerged when I was trying to configure my dream Watch Series 6 today (I’ve never had an Apple Watch and I still don’t know if I can afford one); in the web pages describing the detail, one is warned that “Some straps contain magnets and may cause interference with Compass on Apple Watch”! Is this an admission of a design fault? I called the Apple sales team and they told me that the Sports Band contains a magnet - sad, as it seems one of the more secure strap designs. It seems strange that Apple got all the way to the announcement of the device and then had to warn potential purchasers not to buy some of the offered equipment! I’m still wondering whether to buy one. I need the compass, by the way.

According to the Apple site, newer models of the Sports Band don’t contain magnets:

“ The presence of magnets can affect the accuracy of any compass sensor. Apple’s Leather Link, Leather Loop, Milanese Loop, and earlier Sport Loop watch bands use magnets or magnetic material that might interfere with the Apple Watch compass. The compass isn’t affected by Sport Loop bands introduced in September 2019 or later, or any version of the Sport Band.”

It continues to amaze me that Apple’s phone and Store support staff tends to be even increasingly less knowledgeable than they used to be.