Two new smartwatches and two new iPads were the key products unveiled at Tuesday’s virtual Apple Event.
Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled the 8th generation iPad, a new iPad Air, the Apple Watch Series 6 smartwatch and the Apple Watch SE today at the tech company’s first virtual-only product event. The four products come amid the pandemic when people are looking for ways to entertain themselves and find new ways to be more productive with remote work and online school.
The newest smartphones from Apple are expected to be announced next month. Typically they are announced in early September each year, but the phones are reportedly delayed this year due to COVID-19 manufacturing issues pushing back production.
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The Apple Watch Series 6 uses watchOS 7 and it is the update to last year’s Series 5 device, while the Apple Watch SE is an affordable version of the watch that is targeting both older users with its fall detection capabilities, and younger users, with the ability to use memoji watch faces.
In his virtual address to viewers, Cook said 53% of users are buying their first iPad. It’s been 10 years since the first iPad was introduced.
The new mobile devices are creative tools for people stuck at home for months on end. Until the next smartphone is announced, it’s also a way for people to get an Apple fix with a new product.
Thomas Husson, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, said Apple doesn’t see its products as primary or secondary. “They are all part of an ecosystem. Experiences, softwares, and services are the glue that sticks this ecosystem together. But being forced to delay the launch of the new iPhones is indeed a good opportunity to showcase innovation on the broader range of Apple experiences and to demonstrate how they fit together.”
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There is a strong demand for laptops and tablets, so it’s an opportunity for Apple, according to Mikako Kitagawa, Gartner research director. “The industry is in the very unique time to have the sudden laptop and tablet demand right now. This could be a chance for Apple to expand iPad and Mac business. But it does not mean that focusing on these segments is more important than focusing on iPhone business.”
Apple Watch Series 6
The Apple Watch Series 6 has some interesting features such as an array of new watch faces including some to appeal to those who are health care providers or photographers. There is also a GMT face that shows multiple time zones at once, which is convenient for business users who work with people in different parts of the world.
Particularly useful is that the watch is 20% faster than the previous generation, and the Always On Display is 2-½ times brighter when the user’s wrist is down, compared with the Apple Watch Series 5. It also has new health features including the ability to measure blood-oxygen levels right from the user’s wrist.
The Apple Watch Series 6 comes in Blue, Gold, Graphite, and Apple Watch Product Red. It starts at $399. The Apple Watch SE starts at $279. The Apple Watch Series 3 is still available as well, and it starts at $199.
iPad 8th generation and iPad Air
The iPad 8th generation has a 10.2″ Retina display, an A12 Bionic chip and an 8MP camera. It supports the Apple Pencil, and starts at $329.
The iPad Air has a 10.9″ Liquid Retina display, a USB-C connector, and a 12MP camera. It uses an A14 Bionic chip and has a 6-core CPU. The audio system has been redesigned. It works with the Apple Pencil, which connects to the side, and has a Magic Keyboard with a floating design and a built-in trackpad. It also uses Touch ID and Wi-Fi 6. The iPad Air starts at $599.