Apple Watch Series 6: Blood oxygen monitoring and sleep tracking announced

The Apple Watch Series 6 is here, and as anticipated, it’s another iterative update. Thanks to an ongoing global pandemic, the new watch was announced via a live stream, with Apple CEO Tim Cook and a host of guests giving presentations in an empty Apple Park building (or in front of a green screen, if we’re being cynical).

The Series 6 smartwatch was unveiled alongside a cheaper Apple Watch SE, which you can read more about via our dedicated article. For now, though, let’s talk about the latest flagship Apple wearable.

Apple Watch Series 6: What’s new?

Blood oxygen monitoring

Headlining the list of new features is bloody oxygen monitoring. The Apple Watch Series 6 will bounce infrared waves off the blood vessels in your wrist, determining the colour of your blood in order to work out how oxygenated it is.

Apple says the Series 6 can take a measurement in 15 seconds and will take periodic readings so you can check your blood oxygen levels at any time. It’ll even measure while you sleep, which adds another dimension to the brand-new sleep-tracking functionality. That’s right: at long last, your Apple Watch will track your sleep patterns, using motion sensors and the new health-measurement sensors to give you a detailed analysis of your night. 

watchOS 7

The Apple Watch Series 6 comes with the new watchOS preinstalled. WatchOS 7 implements the new Sleep app for sleep tracking, alongside a vastly improved VO2 max measurement software and even a new hand-washing monitor to make sure you’re not skimping. 

In addition, watchOS 7 introduces a vast number of new watch faces. The GMT face displays multiple different timezones, while Chronograph Pro face acts like a traditional watch face with a built-in Tachymeter and other smaller faces. There are also purely decorative faces, including new Stripes patterns, an Artist collection and even on-watch Memoji.

Other improvements include an always-on altimeter and a display that will appear brighter in sunny weather (for easier reading outdoors).

Internal specs

Inside the Apple Watch Series 6 is a new S6 System-in-a-Package (siP) processor. Based on the Apple A13 processor found inside the iPhone 11, the S6 is a dual-core chip that promises up to 20% faster performance versus the last generation of processor. Battery life will stay the same at 18 hours, although charging is faster, taking just one-and-a-half hours from empty.

All-new bands

Apple is also introducing a vast number of new bands, including a new Solo Loop and Braided Solo Loop range without clasps or buckles (and available in plastic and fabric, respectively). The new Leather Link also loses the clasp, and traditionalists will be pleased to see that there are more colours available for the Nike Sports bands.

Family Setup

If you’re interested in purchasing an Apple Watch for your child, Apple has launched a slew of new parental control features to help streamline the process. Falling under the umbrella term “Family Setup”, these new features allow parents to set up another Apple Watch without needing a separate iPhone. Parents can also receive updates when their child reaches a specific location (ie. school or a friend’s house) and an alert in the event of a hard fall. 

Apple Watch Series 6: When can I buy one?

The Watch Series 6 will be available from Friday 18 September, though you can preorder it now. As always, there are two models to choose from: the GPS-only model will set you back £379, and the GPS+cellular model £479. 

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