Apple has scheduled an event on September 15 – themed ‘Time Flies’ – where the company is expected to launch the Apple Watch Series 6. Notably, the company is also tipped to launch an affordable smartwatch that might eventually debut as the Apple Watch SE, taking cues from the iPhone SE which currently rocks the title of Apple’s affordable iPhone. Being a next-generation upgrade, we expect the Apple Watch Series 6 to offer better performance (duh) courtesy of a new chip, a ton of new features – some of which were announced as part of watchOS 7 – and more fitness-centric capabilities. There have been multiple leaks so far that hint at the upcoming features of the Apple Watch Series 6 and also shed some light on the Apple Watch SE. So, let’s dive right into it:
Blood Oxygen level monitoring
So far, we have come across multiple reports claiming that the ability to measure blood oxygen level will finally arrive with the Apple Watch Series 6. Fitbit and HUAWEI already offer smartwatches that are capable of measuring the oxygen concentration in blood for quite a while, and it is quite likely that Apple has refined the technology and is finally ready to ship it. However, it is unclear if Apple will add new biosensors to the Apple Watch Series 6 or it will rely on the existing heart rate sensor to measure the blood oxygen level, something that was recently spotted by iFixit.
Blood oxygen monitoring will reportedly be offered via a notification system that will alert users whenever the concentration of oxygen in their blood falls in a range that can be a health hazard. This can be a life-saving feature for people who suffer from chronic respiratory or cardiovascular conditions.
Improved sleep tracking
Apple introduced a native sleep tracking feature with watchOS 7, and it will likely make its way to the Apple Watch Series 6. While sleep tracking on its own is helpful, but pairing it with data gathered from the blood oxygen measuring biosensors will give more information about the quality of sleep during different stages of your nap. However, it remains to be seen if an upgraded sleep tracking capability will also make its way to older Apple smartwatches via a software update.
A larger battery would be a more meaningful upgrade for the Apple Watch Series 6, considering it opens the doors for adding more health tracking features to run in the background. Earlier this year, a battery of 303.8mAh capacity was certified by the Korea Testing and Research Institute for an Apple device that was listed in the ‘Fitness’ category. To recall, the Apple Watch Series 5 shipped with a smaller 296mAh battery. The space for fitting a larger battery will reportedly be achieved by removing the Taptic Engine and 3D Touch in favor of haptic touch on the Apple Watch Series.
Panic attack detection
Panic attacks can be quite serious, and I can attest to it after seeing some of my friends go through the harrowing experience. Apple Watch Series 6 is rumored to combine heart rate and blood oxygen level data to detect if users are hyperventilating and identify if they’re having a panic attack. If the smartwatch detects users are at risk, it will ask them to take some rest and will offer some breathing exercises to help calm them down. This capability might also be tweaked to detect stress levels, something we’ve already come across in the smartwatches offered by HUAWEI, Honor, and a few other brands.
Additionally, there have been rumors of improved waterproofing, new watch faces, and even a Touch ID sensor that will be embedded in the crown. However, these rumors come from sources that don’t have a particularly stellar track record with Apple leaks, so do process them with a healthy dose of skepticism.
Apple Watch SE
As per prolific leakster Jon Prossser, an affordable Apple Watch SE will likely be launched as well, and that it will be targeted at masses that want an Apple Watch but don’t necessarily desire all those fancy features which cost a premium on the Apple Watch Series 6. It will reportedly come in two sizes – 40mm and 42mm – both of which will be offered in GPS-only and cellular variants. The design will reportedly be inspired by the Apple Watch Series 4, but it will sacrifice ECG and an always-on display to keep the price in check.
The finally marketing name might be different, but a previous Bloomberg report had also claimed that the upcoming Apple Watch lineup will include “a replacement for the Series 3 that will compete with lower-cost fitness devices such as those from Fitbit.” Details about the pricing are still under the wraps, but rumor suggests that the Apple Watch SE might be priced well under the $299 mark to make it more accessible.