Apple Event Highlights: New iPad Air at $599; Apple Watch Series 6 comes to India at Rs 40,900 onwards
The tech giant also introduced the lower-cost Apple Watch SE at Rs 29,900.
CEO Tim Cook opened the event talking about "these difficult times" that we are living in, going on to lay emphasis on "the important role" the tech company's products have played.
Keeping it direct, Cook revealed that the event would focus on two products, the Apple Watch and iPad.
Apple Watch Series 6
Jeff Williams, COO, took the stage from Cook to talk about the Apple Watch Series 6, which he called the company's "most colourful lineup ever." It will come in a new blue aluminum, new graphite, and new Product Red.
On the inside, the Series 6 is packed with new capabilities. You can measure blood oxygen directly using the watch, in just 15 seconds.
The ability of the Apple Watch to monitor blood oxygen seeks to beat a similar feature already available on watches from rival Fitbit Inc, which Alphabet Inc's Google is buying for $2.1 billion. Apple said its watch will be able to take absolute blood oxygen measurements on-demand while the user is still, while Fitbit's devices currently show either variations in blood oxygen levels or a set of measurements taken while the user is sleeping.
The Apple Watch already has various features like ECG, heart-rate monitor and fitness tracker. With the new blood oxygen feature, the company has partnered with various health organisations to identify how blood oxygen and heart rate can help you stay healthy.
The Series 6 watch will change the elevation real-time when you go on a trek, and monitor your blood oxygen level. Memoji has also come to the watch with Series 6. They move every time you move.
Apple also for the first time offered a way to use an Apple Watch without pairing it one-to-one with an iPhone, offering what it calls "Family Setup."
There are also two Hermés bands for the luxe factor.
Apple Watch Series 6 will cost customers Rs 40,900 for the GPS model and Rs 49,900 for the GPS + Cellular model.
The Apple Watch Series 6 India price starts at Rs 40,990 for GPS and Rs 44,990 for GPS+Cellular https://t.co/LGxmKRttbS— Danish (@DanishKh4n) 1600192463000
There's also a lower-cost watch, being called the Apple Watch SE, being touted by the company as the perfect watch for new customers.
The Apple Watch SE (GPS) starts at Rs 29,900 and Apple Watch SE (GPS + Cellular) starts at Rs 33,900. It is will be available soon through Apple Authorised Resellers.
The Apple Watch Series 3 will continue to sell at $199.
Both the watches are available for order today, and availability begins on Friday.
Taking the attention to the environment, Apple said it has cut its carbon footprint by 35 per cent, and aims to be 100 per cent carbon neutral by 2030.
At a time when the pandemic has forced people to stay indoors, Apple has introduced a virtual fitness service, called Fitness Plus.
The subscription service will share metrics with users in in real time, and have new workout classes every week. This will include dance, yoga, cycling, HIIT, strength and core.
Users will get a catalogue of videos on iPad, iPhone or Apple TV.
Apple will use an algorithm to give users intelligent suggestions for their workouts. The service is priced at $9.99 per month, and $79.99 per year, but will only be available in select countries, India not included, to begin with.
Apple One, that clubs the company's several subscription services, is also here. It will cover Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, News+, Fitness+, and iCloud. The subscription will cost Rs 195 per person and Rs 365 per month for a family. The Apple One Individual plan offers a savings of over Rs 177 per month, while the Family plan offers a savings of over Rs 200 per month.
"With Apple One, you can access the best of Apple entertainment across all your favorite devices with one simple subscription," said Apple senior vice president of internet software and services Eddy Cue.
Apple's top streaming music rival Spotify Technology criticized the bundle, saying Apple was abusing its dominant market position to favor Apple Music.
In a statement responding to Spotify's criticism, Apple said the bundle was aimed at existing users of its services and that "customers can discover and enjoy alternatives to every one of Apple’s services."
iPad 8th Gen
Tim Cook introduced the new iPad, beginning with saying that in the 10 years of the the device over 500 million iPads have been sold.
The iPad 8th Gen, with the iPadOS 14, works with keyboards and the Apple Pencil and is priced at $329. The education-version comes at $299. Orders open today in the US, and availability begins from Friday.
There's also a "completely redesigned" iPad Air. With a 10.9-inch liquid retina display, it is fully-laminated and comes with an anti-reflective coating. Apple has integrated the fingerprint sensor into the power button on the top.
The new iPad Air comes with the A14 Bionic chip. A great new addition is the USB-C port in it.
It boasts of a 7-megapixel front camera, and 12-megapixel shooter at the back. It also supports 4K video with improved stabilization. Price starts at $599, and it will be available from next month.
While fans will have to wait for the new iPhone, iOS 14 will be out on Wednesday. Apple will also release WatchOS 7 and TVOS 14 on Wednesday.
When to expect the new iPhone?
The Silicon Valley titan made no mention of a keenly anticipated iPhone 5G considered vital to the company's fortunes.
An update of Apple's biggest seller - the iPhone - is expected to be announced next month after executives have said its launch will be delayed by several weeks because of pandemic-related disruptions.
"While the focus for the street remains the iPhone 12 5G supercycle set to kick off in early October, the launch of the next generation Apple Watch, iPad Air, and services bundle are key ingredients in Cupertino's recipe for success," Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives said of the Apple announcements.
5G networks are touted as promising an exponential leap in the amount and speed of wireless data, enabling advances in self-driving vehicles, virtual reality, connected health and more as sensors and servers communicate instantly.
Apple "absolutely needs" a 5G version of its iPhone, according to Techsponential lead analyst Avi Greengart.
"Not for the US, but for China where 5G is driving purchase decisions," Greengart said.
Apple rivals have already introduced 5G models, and China is far ahead of the US when it comes to the new generation networks.
New generation 5G networks have also taken shape in South Korea and in parts of Europe.
(With inputs from AFP)
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