The other day, Apple made some major changes, and I’m not just talking about just a new watch and iPad. One of the things Apple reinforced was how we are starting to bring our watches into play.
Just like that iconic photo: The person is surrounded by VCR’s, cameras, landline phones, scanners, and other electronics that end up being found in today’s phone, the watch is continuing to gobble up functions to place on our wrists
If they could only do it with a 72 hour battery…
The new series 6 watch looks great, monitors your health, and could even help you get rid of your phone.
Apple Watch Series 6, SE
Welcome to a new series called “The Focus” on Geekazine. This is where I’ll be looking at a technology in a deeper dive. For this series, I’m keeping the focus on mobile devices for now.
Apple Watch Series 6 was introduced at a virtual Apple event. I watched in a Zoom watch party, which made the experience a little better. A good discussion ensued, and we picked apart whether you should get upgrading to the new Apple products.
By the way, a New Apple iPad was also announced, and I’ll be talking about that in another video you can find here.
Let’s deep dive on this watch, because it’s coming out on the 18th. Apple watch is now in 2 versions – 6, and SE. SE is technically the Series 5 with a few extra features.
Series 6 will start at $399, and the SE at $279. You can get Watch Series 6 Here.
Processor on the 6 is the S6, while the SE is S5 (or the previous Apple Watch chip). Both chips are dual-core processors, with the S6 most likely running faster.
Both watches, along with the Series 5, 4, and 3, will run WatchOS 7.
All these watches are water resistant up to 50 meters, have LTE model versions (for a little more), built in mic and speaker, Wi-Fi, GPS, and battery support up to 18 hours.
The series 6, 5, and SE all have Bluetooth 5.0, Wireless through the W3 chip, along with Compass, Always on OLED Retina option, 32 GB RAM, and the 44 and 40 mm sizes.
Series 6 Watch Only
The things that set the Series 6 apart from the others include the following:
To start, the new watch will usher in a cableless connection. You will need the magnetic wireless charging cable for power, and either an iPhone, iPad, or watch with cellular service to get any software or updates.
Another new feature is the U1 Ultra Wideband support , which adds spatial awareness. Think of it as a Ping and recieve service between 2 devices running Ultra Wideband. You can find out how far away you are to your phone, and AirDrop will use this service to send and recieve files, as it apparently does it better than Bluetooth. So your music, messages, and more will transfer faster.
The U1 chip is not in every Apple device, though. iPhone 11 seems to be the only other device that has this chip. Even the upcoming iPad Air is without U1, which is a little odd…
Series 6 will add a lot of health features. Tim Cook started the event with some case examples of people’s lives being saved because the watch warned them.
And it’ll be interesting to see a comparison of Apple Heath vs. Google Health, which already has some of those features.
Actually, even my bathroom scale has those features.
The watch will have a noise sensor, heart rate monitor with irregular notifications (like the previous models), and SOS feature, but also add Blood Oxygen and Electrocardiogram (or ECG) monitoring. All in an app.
To put this in perspective, I used to test ECG devices. Whenever you see a video with someone in bed and a whole bunch of wires connected to them for a sleep study, that is usually a full ECG.
Now we can do that – not all of it – in a watch.
Gen 6 has the 2nd generation optical heart sensor inside to monitor all these new functions. And with the upcoming iOS 14, will be able to give you a full readout on your phone or iPad.
Another new addition, which I am guessing your 5,4,and 3 watch might be able to utilize, is the new types of bands. Included are bands that have no latches or hinges.
As a drummer, I would guess I need a latch. But you never know. If the band is easy to slip on and holds stiff to any sized wrist, then it could be a great new addition.
Keep in mind, that sensor needs to be as close to the skin as possible at all times for an accurate readout.
Fitness apps have also been updated, so you can stay motivated, even if you cannot go to the gym. Their new fitness subscription model will let you have a personal trainer on your wrist.
Will you use it? Comment below to let me know.
The SE cellular has another function. A watch for your kids to keep in touch with. All controlled by one phone.
So you don’t need to get your 8 year old a new iPhone… will it be 11SE, 11 Super Max, 12, or some city in California? I don’t know.
You’ll be able to parent the child through the watch. No cameras, but there will be audio ability. Control of what’s on the watch will be done by the person with the iPhone.
I could see some other uses for it – employee communication is a good example.
Many different style colors, many different bands. I’m personally a leather band kind of guy – when I wear a watch, that is.
Pros and Cons – Apple Watch Series 6
First, and I’ve said this all along – you get a circular watch, then we’ll talk. I am so not a fan of the square face. It just doesn’t look good to me.
They want you to wear this device while sleeping, yet there is an 18 hour battery. Keep in mind, that 18 hour battery also depends on how you use your watch. If you load it with apps, and get tons of messages and photos, 18 hours could turn into 14-15 or less.
It will also mean it needs to fully charge in the time it takes for you to shower and get ready for work.
Otherwise, you might be forgetting your watch – if you have to walk out a door.
I am all for getting rid of the cables and having the wireless experience. Added bonus is it helps the environment because you don’t have to buy another cable.
Alas, the watch price didn’t go down…
Do You Still Need Your iPhone?
If the watch is cellular, can connect to your Airpods, your iPad can handle apps, and CarPlay could help you charge and connect, a phone is just a bigger item in your pocket.
The only thing the watch cannot do is take videos or photos. That will be the job of Apple Glasses… when they come out…
Some sources say the Series 6 chip is the same as the iPhone 11, and run 20% faster as the series 5. Won’t be able to test that until the watch comes out, though.
With a plethora of color, new health features, a new fitness service, and a $399 price tag, will you be looking at the series 6 watch? With these tumultuous times, that might not be something on your finacial radar.
For me, the watch is a no. But what feature are you waiting for? Let me know in the comments.