New Delhi | Abhinav Gupta: Apple on Tuesday launched a series of high-tech product variants, ranging from Watch Series 6 and SE to 8th generation iPad and iPad Air. The pre-recorded ‘Time Flies’ was the second major event by the tech giant after WWDC 2020, which was held in the month of June.

Apple launched the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple Watch SE, iPad 8th Gen, and iPad Air (2020) during this event. It also rolled out a new virtual fitness service and a bundle of all its subscriptions, Apple One, focusing a holiday season product launch on services that are the backbone of Apple's growth strategy and cater to customers working at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Highlights of Apple's 'Time Flies' Event

Here are the products and services launched at the ‘Time Flies’ event:

Apple Watch Series 6

The Apple Watch Series 6 was the first product launched at the event. Priced at $399 (approx Rs 29,400), the highlight of Watch Series 6 is its ability to measure blood oxygen (SPO2) level, which gains significance at times when the world is battling COVID-19.

Apple said the Series 6 watch's new ability to monitor blood oxygen using infrared light should be used for fitness and wellness purposes. Apple said flu investigators in Washington state will study heart rate and blood oxygen data from Apple Watch for potential early signs of respiratory conditions like influenza and COVID-19.

Doctors in India and other countries have used pulse oximeters to remotely check on COVID-19 patients and ensure their oxygen saturation level does not fall too low.

For the first time, the Apple Watch comes in PRODUCT RED variant alongside a few other colour options. Moreover, Apple Watch Series 6 comes with S6 processor that is 20 per cent faster than its predecessor.

Sporting the superfast iOS 7, it comes with an improved 2.5 times brighter always-on display along with various watch faces including GMT, countdown and emoji face. The watch can also measure your elevation in realtime, which makes it the best choice for hikers.  

Apple Watch Series 6 also has a new Solo Loop, which has a single band with no clasp. It's made of silicone and is being launched in seven colours. There's another version of this called Braided Solo Loop.

Apple Watch Series SE

Priced at $279 (approx Rs 20,500), Apple Watch SE uses the Apple Watch Series 5 chipset and comes with all the new features including Family setup. Watch Series SE runs on WatchOS software similar to the new Watch Series 6.

Apple Watch Series SE is focused at children as it comes with new features such as automatic location notifications and a school time mode that has restricted interactions with the watch during school time.

Apple said both new watches can be pre-ordered starting Tuesday and will be available on Friday. However, there is no word yet from the company on when Apple Watch Series 6, Watch Series SE will be available in India.

Apple Watch Series 6 (GPS) starts at Rs 40,900 and Apple Watch Series 6 (GPS Cellular) starts at Rs 49,900. Apple Watch SE (GPS) starts at Rs 29,900 and Apple Watch SE (GPS Cellular) starts at Rs 33,900.

Apple Fitness+

The Cupernico-based tech giant also launched a fitness service called Apple Fitness+ to help users stay more active, and participate in workout sessions. The service is no less than a virtual fitness trainer as it brings all the fitness and workout data, including your heart rate, on your screen, along with the trainers' videos.

Fitness+ includes many workout modes like Yoga, cycling, dance and treadmill walk. The workouts available on the app will be refreshed weekly. Fitness+ integrates with Apple Music to let users carry over their favourite music.  

Apple Fitness+ costs $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year in the US. Fitness+ will be available by the end of the year. The service will be able for free for three months if a user buys an Apple Watch in regions that support the service.

Apple iPad 8th Gen

Apple announced the eighth-generation version of its basic iPad which sports the faster A12 Bionic chip. The company priced the iPad 8th Gen at $329 for consumers and $299 for education customers.

The A12 Bionic chip, first seen in iPhone X series, makes it two times faster than the bestselling Windows laptop and three times faster than the top selling Android.

The iPad 8th Gen also supports Apple's Smart Keyboard cover and Apple Pencil.

The new iPad (8th generation) will have a staring price in India of Rs 29,900 for the Wi-Fi model and Rs 41,900 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model in 32GB and 128GB configurations. The device will be compatible with Apple Pencil (1st generation) priced at Rs 8,500 and the Smart Keyboard priced Rs 13,900. Smart covers for iPad can be purchased at Rs 4,500.

Apple iPad Air

Looking similar to the iPad Pro, the new Apple iPad Air comes loaded with the new A14 Bionic chipset, which Apple claims increases the performance by 40 per cent and 30 per cent increase in graphics performance.

The iPad Air comes in green, sky blue and rose gold colour variants. It features a Liquid Retina display with True Tone while missing the Home Button. The iPad Air retains the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, but it now resides inside the tiny power button at the top.

The newly announced Apple iPad Air also includes support for USB-C, single 12MP rear camera, 7MP front sensor, magic keyboard. It is priced at $599 (approx Rs 44,000).

In India, the new iPad Air will be available in October with Wi-Fi models starting Rs 54,900 and Wi-Fi + Cellular models starting at Rs 66,900 in 64GB and 256GB configurations. The compatible Apple Pencil (2nd generation) is priced Rs 10,900, while the Magic Keyboard is sold separately at Rs 27,900 and Smart Keyboard Folio at Rs 15,900. 

Apple One

Separate subscriptions of services Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple News+, Apple Arcade, Apple Fitness+ and iCloud add up to a big sum.

Apple One has been priced at $15 per month for Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and 50GB iCloud. There's a family plan too at $20 per month with 200GB iCloud. There's a Premier plan for Apple One with Apple News+ and Apple Fitness+ at $30 per month and 2TB iCloud storage, which will be available only in regions that have all Apple services.

What’s next for Apple

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.

Apple shares have soared this year even as the virus has crippled economies around the world, thanks in large part to booming sales of work-from-home items.

Apple shares were up 2 per cent on Tuesday after climbing more than 50% for the year, well ahead of the 23 per cent gain for the Nasdaq.

Even though Apple stock has fallen from a record high earlier this month, it remains near its $2 trillion stock market valuation.

How the new products sell during the holiday shopping season in many markets will largely define how well Apple performs for its entire fiscal year, which started this month.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta