New Apple Watch Series 6 has blood oxygen sensor & bright new colors

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 2020
Apple on Tuesday officially announced the Apple Watch Series 6, bringing blood oxygen sensing and new case finishes to the wearable lineup.

Credit: Apple
Credit: Apple


The latest iteration of the company's flagship wearable made its debut at the company's "Time Flies" event on Sept. 15, marking the next generation of the Apple Watch after the Apple Watch Series 5 in 2019.




Major new features of the Apple Watch Series 6

The new Apple Watch Series 6. Credit: Apple
The new Apple Watch Series 6. Credit: Apple

  • Blood oxygen saturation monitoring

  • S6 chipset that's 20% faster than previous S5

  • New PRODUCT(RED) and blue case finish options

  • Built-in, always-on altimeter

  • U1 chip and Ultra Wideband support

  • Always-on display that's 2.5 times brighter when the wrist is down

  • Faster charging, able to complete a full charge cycle in 1.5 hours

  • Improved battery life

Blood oxygen saturation sensing

Apple uses red and infrared light to monitor the oxygen saturation of a user's blood. Credit: Apple
Apple uses red and infrared light to monitor the oxygen saturation of a user's blood. Credit: Apple


The biggest new feature of the update is the introduction of blood oxygen saturation monitoring, which will allow users to keep better tabs on their overall fitness and wellness.

It uses both red and infrared lights and related sensors to measure the light reflected back from a user's blood, allowing the system to measure how much oxygen is in it. From there, the system uses custom algorithm in a new Blood Oxygen app to offer either on-demand measurements or periodic background monitoring -- including during sleep.

The new Blood Oxygen app on the Apple Watch Series 6. Credit: Apple
The new Blood Oxygen app on the Apple Watch Series 6. Credit: Apple


Blood oxygen detection, long available on competing fitness trackers, allows users to automatically monitor the saturation of oxygen in their blood. That's handy for monitoring a user's ability to breathe during vigorous exercise, or to detect conditions such as sleep apnea while in bed.

Apple also says that it's partnering with researchers at the University of California, Irvine, and Anthem to study how blood oxygen levels can be used in future health applications. Another study will research how the Apple Watch's health sensors could detect early signs of respiratory conditions such as flu or coronavirus.

Performance & Display

The always-on display is now up to 2.5 times brighter when the wrist is down. Credit: Apple
The always-on display is now up to 2.5 times brighter when the wrist is down. Credit: Apple


The Apple Watch Series 6 also features an updated Apple Silicon S6 chipset. It's a dual-core processor based on the A13 Bionic, and delivers up to 20% faster performance 20% than the previous S6 chipset.

Apple also quietly introduced the U1 chip and Ultra Wideband support to the Apple Watch Series 6, meaning that it'll integrate with future Nearby Experiences and possibly Apple AirTags.

Like the previous Apple Watch Series 5, the new model also features an always-on display. Compared to the last model, Apple says the Apple Watch Series 6 display is up to 2.5 times brighter outdoors when the wrist is down.

The Apple Watch Series 6 also features improved battery life and charging speeds. Apple says it'll complete a full charge in just an hour and a half.

Built-in Altimeter

New altimeter data on a PRODUCT(RED) Apple Watch Series 6. Credit: Apple
New altimeter data on a PRODUCT(RED) Apple Watch Series 6. Credit: Apple


For users who hike or work out in elevated environments, Apple has included a new built-in altimeter with the Apple Watch Series 6.

The always-on sensor provides users with real-time elevation data by using an updated barometric altimeter combined with data from GPS and nearby Wi-Fi networks.

That means vastly improved measurements of small elevation changes, down to a single foot. It can also be shown as a workout metric or on an watch face complication.

New colors and accessories

The new blue color option for the Apple Watch Series 6. Credit: Apple
The new blue color option for the Apple Watch Series 6. Credit: Apple


Apple announced new color options for the Apple Watch, including a PRODUCT(RED) variant and a new blue finish. On the accessory front, the company debuted a new Solo Loop and Braided Solo Loop bands that are stretchy enough that users can take them on and off without any clasps.

Price and release

Apple Watch Series 6 prices start at $399 for the GPS only version and $499 for GPS and cellular. It's being offered alongside the Apple Watch SE priced at $279 and the Apple Watch Series 3 at $199.

Customers will be able to order the Apple Watch Series 6 starting on Tuesday. It'll start shipping out on Friday, Sept. 18.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 160
    Blood oxygen levels are also useful for those with worsening COVID19 cases. Not sure if Apple's works like finger pulse oximeters, but those can be used to tell you when to go in to a hospital for oxygen treatment (my brother and his wife had COVID bad and had to do this, the treatment saved their lives):

    https://www.houstonmethodist.org/blog/articles/2020/aug/can-an-oximeter-help-detect-covid-19-at-home/
    edited September 2020 BeatsJackyChanwatto_cobrajahbladeseanj
  • Reply 2 of 160
    Blood oxygen levels are also useful for those with worsening COVID19 cases. Not sure if Apple's works like finger pulse oximeters:

    https://www.houstonmethodist.org/blog/articles/2020/aug/can-an-oximeter-help-detect-covid-19-at-home/
    I have one of those. Now I can throw it away... give it away!
    SpamSandwichwatto_cobrarazorpitjahblade
  • Reply 3 of 160
    Did it sound like the aluminum is their top model!? I.e., no stainless steel, etc.?
  • Reply 4 of 160
    A somewhat messy-sounding, too-much-going-on-at-the-same-time presentation... very different from the vibe with crowds present.

    Incredibly annoying music.
    chemengin1razorpit
  • Reply 5 of 160
    They are just dragging it out. No iPhone announcement means everything is just dragged out here. 

    I'm wondering how exciting the iPad announcement will be. If they announce a new iPad Pro, I'll get something from this event!
    chemengin1watto_cobrarazorpit
  • Reply 6 of 160
    Did it sound like the aluminum is their top model!? I.e., no stainless steel, etc.?
    No, they mentioned stainless steel, including a new gray-steel finish.
    watto_cobraGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 7 of 160
    Same design?  This thing looks like the original iPad.  It’s design is looking old and tired.  I was really hoping for a redesign.  The current watch is too bulky and looks ancient compared to iPhone 11.  My question is.. does the Apple Watch still try to connect to the iPhone for everything even when it’s not nearby?  It’s so annoying.  If my phone is on a charger and I’m on the other side of the house I can’t sent a text.  It sucks.  
    chemengin1
  • Reply 8 of 160
    They are just dragging it out. No iPhone announcement means everything is just dragged out here. 

    I'm wondering how exciting the iPad announcement will be. If they announce a new iPad Pro, I'll get something from this event!
    Nobody is expecting iPad Pro today. 
    StrangeDayspatchythepiratewatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 160
    I am getting it no matter what (part of the every-other-year cycle). But I really wanted a battery life metric. Also, WTF was the lady talking about with “no power adapter”?
    edited September 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 160
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,598member
    dbvapor said:
    Same design?  This thing looks like the original iPad.  It’s design is looking old and tired.  I was really hoping for a redesign.  The current watch is too bulky and looks ancient compared to iPhone 11.  My question is.. does the Apple Watch still try to connect to the iPhone for everything even when it’s not nearby?  It’s so annoying.  If my phone is on a charger and I’m on the other side of the house I can’t sent a text.  It sucks.  

    Clearly, you really don't own a Watch.
    anantksundaramcyberzombietaddStrangeDaysBeatsfastasleepSpamSandwichpscooter63lolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 160
    taddtadd Posts: 132member
    Minor typo.   

    S6 chipset that's up to 20% than the previous S6 chipset
    fastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 160
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,598member
    A little disappointed that the blood oxygen monitor can't be activated in earlier models as was rumored.
    elijahgScot1GeorgeBMacrazorpitseanj
  • Reply 13 of 160
    why oh why wont they make a thinner watch?

    i dont want or need an o2 sensor 
  • Reply 14 of 160
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,076member
    mike1 said:
    A little disappointed that the blood oxygen monitor can't be activated in earlier models as was rumored.
    If they did that there'd be nothing new in the new models, it is disappointing though I agree - but not unexpected. 
    edited September 2020 Scot1razorpit
  • Reply 15 of 160
    elijahg said:
    mike1 said:
    A little disappointed that the blood oxygen monitor can't be activated in earlier models as was rumored.
    If they did that there'd be nothing new in the new models, it is disappointing though I agree.
    It's disappointing they can't go back in time and add new hardware sensors to older models lacking those sensors? I really have to scratch my head at what disappoints people sometimes...
    Beatsfastasleeppscooter63JinTechGG1JWSClolliverrandominternetpersonwatto_cobrajahblade
  • Reply 16 of 160
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,101member
    They briefly mentioned Covid-19. How accurate is this for DETECTING a new infection in users? I'm guessing they would have drove that point home if it were accurate.
  • Reply 17 of 160
    mike1mike1 Posts: 2,598member
    elijahg said:
    mike1 said:
    A little disappointed that the blood oxygen monitor can't be activated in earlier models as was rumored.
    If they did that there'd be nothing new in the new models, it is disappointing though I agree.
    It's disappointing they can't go back in time and add new hardware sensors to older models lacking those sensors? I really have to scratch my head at what disappoints people sometimes...
    Well, that's obvious. However, there was talk that the sensors were already built in but that they could not offer that feature yet. That's all.
    Of course, there would be no disappointment, even minimal, if it was always known that that the capability required new sensors.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 160
    Beats said:
    They briefly mentioned Covid-19. How accurate is this for DETECTING a new infection in users? I'm guessing they would have drove that point home if it were accurate.
    Low blood oxygen isn’t only related to COVID-19, they started on this feature long before that was even a thing. Not to mention FDA regulations, you can’t “detect” a virus based on a singular symptom.
    edited September 2020 pscooter63chasmJWSCcyberzombielolliverwatto_cobrajahblade
  • Reply 19 of 160
    I am getting it no matter what (part of the every-other-year cycle). But I really wanted a battery life metric. Also, WTF was the lady talking about with “no power adapter”?
    Rumor has it that there will be no charging adaptor in the new iPhones, so possibly no charging adaptor in the Watch Series 6, if so they still would have to include (I assume) the charging “puck”.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 160
    mike1 said:
    elijahg said:
    mike1 said:
    A little disappointed that the blood oxygen monitor can't be activated in earlier models as was rumored.
    If they did that there'd be nothing new in the new models, it is disappointing though I agree.
    It's disappointing they can't go back in time and add new hardware sensors to older models lacking those sensors? I really have to scratch my head at what disappoints people sometimes...
    Well, that's obvious. However, there was talk that the sensors were already built in but that they could not offer that feature yet. That's all.
    Of course, there would be no disappointment, even minimal, if it was always known that that the capability required new sensors.
    There are rumors about anything and everything...but everything we know about sensors indicates new sensing abilities require new sensor hardware to do the sensing. It's only sensible. 😎
    Beatswatto_cobrajahblade
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