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IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR

· Updated:

Well, it's September, which means it's time for Apple to release new products that we do not need but will be itching to get — products that, when we get them, Apple will immediately undermine with newer, better products next September, starting the cycle over again. Are you excited?! We are!

Though this would ordinarily have been the event at which Apple debuted a new iPhone, due to COVID-19-related delays, the iPhone will be delayed for a few weeks. So at today's event, we saw announcements for the Apple Watch, iPad updates and some new features along with the OS updates.

We're no tech experts, which is exactly why we've compiled this blog: our ears are attuned to only the significant takeaways so that we can get you up to speed on what's what without you having to watch the event yourself or parse intricate thinkpieces about the Jobsian (Cookian, now, but that doesn't sound as good) empire.

Here's what we learned.

Apple Watch Updates

The Apple Watch Series 6 and OS7

The event started out with a focus on the Apple Watch and its ability to help people keep track of their health and, in some cases, keep them alive. The Apple Watch Series 6, with the OS7 update, comes with even more dynamic tools, like the health sensor that will allow you to measure the amount of oxygen present in your blood.

There are also features that focus on improving the Apple Watch's function outside, like tracking your altitude and making it easier to see the display when you're out in the sun without waking up the display.

There will also, of course, be more physical iterations of the watch available, such as a pretty slick-looking red watch.

They're also releasing a brand-new kind of band called the Solo Loop, a completely seamless, buckle-less, claspless band. It comes in two materials: a custom liquid silicone in seven colors, and a braided material in 5 colors.

The silicone bands in seven colors

Another significant update to this version of the Apple Watch is one oriented toward families, called Family Setup. There are features that will help kids who own Apple Watches focus and manage their time better, and features that will help families stay more connected.

The Apple Watch SE

There's also Apple Watch SE, a more affordable version of the Apple Watch, with a great spread of features: a compass and altimeter, new watch faces, a larger display, Family Setup and fall detection. Plus, this watch is now twice as fast as the Series 3 watch.

Environmentally friendly updates

Apple promises to be 100% carbon-neutral by 2030 in the production of their products. Here are a few ways they're committing to doing that:

As part of this effort, they'll be removing the USB power adapter from the watch, as production of these adapters takes a particularly high toll on the environment.

Fitness+

Apple is also debuting Fitness+, a system (available for purchase, though new Apple Watch purchasers will get three free months of Fitness+) designed to enhance users' fitness routines and help them follow workouts and track their stats. Users will be able to follow video workouts both on their phone and projected onto a screen of their choice (iPhone, iPad, etc). The data from each workout will be available in a comprehensive and easy-to-read overview screen.

All of the data associated with your workouts will be conveniently stored along with your Apple ID.

Apple One

Apple One now allows you to bundle subscriptions together. It's a much more efficient choice now that Apple has so many subscription services on offer.

iPad Updates

iPad 8th Generation Updates

Apple is updating the full-sized iPad lineup with, for one, the A12 Bionic Chip. The A12 boasts a 40% faster CPU than the prior chip and graphics that are twice as fast. It's also great for working with high-res content and for gaming.

Apple also noted the custom technologies the iPad boasts, including a neural engine for machine learning, which can process up to 5 trillion operations per second, allow you to instantly transform color of photos, and do things like analyze a recorded tennis game and provide real-time stats.

The updated iPad is two times faster than the top-selling Windows laptop, three times faster than top-selling android tablets, and six times faster than the top-selling Chromebook. Despite all this, it'll retain its thin, light design for portability, and has an all-day battery life. It's compatible with full-size smart keyboards, including keyboards from Logitech.

And, as always, it's compatible with the Apple Pencil. With the iPad OS14, you can hand-write in more documents than before — like annotating documents and even editing them with the Apple Pencil. The system will be able to understand and translate your handwriting into typed text, numbers and more.

New iPad Air

The new iPad Air boasts a larger 10.9-inch liquid retina display, with over 3.8 million pixels for crisp text and photos. The iPad features full lamination, wide color, True Tone technology, and an anti-reflective coating for a great visual experience.

This new model will feature Touch ID and the A14 chip, which allows a 40% increase in CPU performance and 11 trillion operations per second. This version is a full ten times faster than the previous iPad Air.

Release dates and pricing

  • Apple Watch OS7
    Available tomorrow, 9/16
  • Apple Watch Series 6: $399
    Available in stores this Friday, 9/18; preorder today
  • Apple Watch SE: $279
    Available in stores this Friday, 9/18; preorder today
  • 8th Generation iPad: $329 ($299 for education customers)
    Available this Friday, 9/18
  • iPad Air: $599
    Available next month
  • Apple Fitness+: $9.99/month
    Available this fall
  • Apple One subscription bundle
    Available this fall

Molly Bradley is an editor at Digg.

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