The Apple event I look forward to every year looked a little different today.
If you read any of the rumors and rumblings leading up to the event, you wouldn’t be surprised that there were no iPhones today. During an earnings call a few weeks ago, Apple gave investors a heads up that the iPhones would be delayed a few weeks. But still, no one knew what that meant. I was still holding out hope for new iPhones during today’s event. It looks like we will have to wait until a possible October event for our favorite slabs of glass.
Before we get to hardware, let’s chat about some of the services Apple is offering. Apple announced Apple One today. This is an Apple services bundle that includes Apple Music, TV+, Arcade and depending on the plan you go with, 50GB or 200GB of iCloud Storage. On the Premier plan, users can pay $30/month for Apple Music, TV+, Arcade, 2TB of iCloud storage, News+, and Fitness+.
Apple also unveiled their new fitness service Fitness+. This is a service where your Apple Watch and iPhone, iPad or TV work together to give you a new workout experience. There will be new workouts every week and 10 different workout types to choose from. I’ve never used these types of virtual workouts but it reminds me a lot of what Peloton offers except you can use your own equipment with Fitness+.
Fitness+ will cost $10/month or $80/year. Anyone who buys an Apple Watch will receive three months of Fitness+ for free when it launches this Fall.
To read more about Fitness+, visit Apples website.
We got two new Apple Watches today. We got the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE.
The Apple Watch Series 6 is Apple’s new flagship wearable. Inside is the newest chip for an Apple Watch, the S6. This chip is about 20% faster than last year’s Series 5. The always-on display that was introduced last year on the Series 5 is getting even better on the Series 6. It is now 2.5 times brighter.
One of the biggest features announced with the Series 6 Apple Watch is that it can now measure your blood oxygen level. Similar to how the watch can measure your heart rate, in 15 seconds the new Apple Watch can give you your blood oxygen level.
Overall, it looks the same as the previous two years Apple Watches, with two exceptions. Both of them being color. There are now new blue and Product Red color options on the standard aluminum Apple Watch. On the more expensive models, there are new gold and graphite stainless steel options.
Along with the new casings are new bands. Apple introduced a new braided Solo Loop band and a regular Solo Loop band. These Solo Loop bands don’t have any clasps and is just one unobstructed piece of material that stretches to go around your wrist. I will be curious to see how these fit and last over time.
The Apple Watch Series 6 can be ordered today and are available this Friday starting at $399.
Apple Watch SE
The Apple Watch SE is Apple’s low-cost yet extremely powerful model. The Apple Watch SE looks just like the Series 6 with a few features missing, to keep costs lower. The SE has last year’s Series 5 S5 chip, which is still a very good processor for a watch. The SE does have fall detection but it lacks the ECG and blood oxygen sensors that the Series 6 offers.
At $279, this will be a nice upgrade for a lot of people who don’t want to spend $400 on the Series 6. This can also be ordered today and is available this Friday.
Apple is still keeping the Series 3 Apple Watch around for $199.
Just a heads up, as rumored for the upcoming iPhone, Apple is not including the USB power adapter in the new Apple Watch packaging. According to Apple, this will have a significant impact on environmental concerns and is in line with Apple’s on-going strategy to better care for environment.
The regular inexpensive iPad, now in its 8th-generation, got an update. I am writing this on the 7th-generation iPad-which I still love-and it gets the job done. Now, the 8th-generation iPad got a spec update. It is now running the A12 chip from two years ago which is 40% faster than the A10 chip in the 7th-generation. Other than that, it isn’t too much of an upgrade, and that’s not a bad thing. If you want to read more about my thoughts on my 7th-generation, check this out.
The new iPad is up for order today and available Friday starting at $329 and $299 for education customers.
Star of the Show – iPad Air
The final piece of hardware Apple announced is the iPad Air. This is a complete redesign of the current iPad Air and now has the flat edges like the current iPad Pro. Also, Apple had some fun and launched them in five colors, Space Gray, Silver, Rose Gold, Green, and Sky Blue. I love the look of these new iPads.
The iPad Air ditches the home button but cuts costs by foregoing Face ID. So how do you unlock it without either? Apple built Touch ID into the top lock button. This is brilliant. By keeping Face ID out, it keeps the costs lower than the iPad Pro, yet still gives you the modern full screen design. I love this idea. I really hope we get the same thing with iPhone 12 later this year.
The iPad Air is the first Apple device to get Apple’s newest A14 chip. Usually, when the iPhone is announced in September, it gets the latest and greatest chip before anything else. This year, with the iPhone being delayed, this is not the case.
This iPad is now compatible with the 2nd-generation Apple Pencil and ditches the lightning connector for USB-C.
The new iPad Air is available next month and starts at $599.
This was one of Apple’s shorter events coming in at one hour. If you paid attention to the rumors leading up to it, there wasn’t much that wasn’t leaked. But for what it was, it was a good event. I am still using my Apple Watch Series 4 and other than the cool new blue color, I have no desire to upgrade to the Series 6. Anyone on something older than the Series 4, this would be a really great upgrade. I am very happy with my Apple Watch and am thankful that I am not interested in upgrading for another year.
The same goes for the iPad. I love my 7th-generation iPad. It was inexpensive and does what I need it to do. The 8th-generation iPad will be a decent upgrade for those who are on older iPads that need a new one to watch videos, read, browse social media, and catch up on the news.
The iPad Air looks amazing. It is powerful. I’m just curious where it fits in. Is this an iPad Pro replacement now that it has a newer and faster chip? I really don’t know. If you don’t care about Face ID on the iPad Pro, need a new iPad, and want something that will get your power-hungry work done with a modern design, this iPad Air is for you.
One last thing to be excited about is iOS 14 being released tomorrow! I have been running the beta for a few months and while it is not mind-blowing, it is something to look forward to and play around with. So be sure to back up your devices tonight before upgrading to the newest software tomorrow.
I am sure you will hear from me next month when Apple announces new iPhones. But until then, are you picking up any of these devices? Let me know!
Thanks for reading!