Apple Watch-ing our 2020 fitness
TECH giant Apple overhauled its smallest and biggest screens this morning, revealing two new Apple Watches, and two new iPad models to launch later this year.
And while the company kept to its word and didn't launch a new iPhone, it did reveal major changes to its subscription services, launching its own fitness service and a platform to package multiple subscriptions like a pay-TV service.
Apple did remove one important piece of hardware from its line-up, however, saying it's for our own good.
This is what you need to know about the new hardware, software, and services coming your way in 2020.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook quickly issued an agenda for a smartwatch overhaul in today's announcement, almost immediately setting the stage for the launch of the Apple Watch 6.
"Today we're focusing on two products that have played integral roles in people's lives: Apple Watch and iPad," he said.
And the device could be well suited to the 2020 pandemic, with its big hardware addition a sensor to measure oxygen saturation and potentially give users a heads up if they're not breathing efficiently.
The new addition, which Apple calls Blood Oxygen, will work using green, red, and infra-red LEDs that beam lights on to the wearer's skin to score their oxygen saturation with a percentage.
The sensor is designed to capture a measurement in 15 seconds.
And it could play a role in managing asthma, heart conditions, and detecting early symptoms of a COVID-19 infect, according to Apple health vice-president Dr Sumbul Ahmad Desai.
"To enable future medical discoveries, we're launching three new health research studies to learn how longitudinal blood oxygen measurements along with other health metrics from Apple Watch can help manage conditions that affect the heart and lungs," she said.
That will include a partnership with Seattle Flu Study and University of Washington "explore how changes in blood oxygen and heat rate can be early signals" of the flu and coronavirus.
The Apple Watch Series 6 will also use a faster dual core processor based on the iPhone 11, charge in 1.5 hours, feature an overhauled altimeter and new watch faces, and will arrive in new colours, including red and blue for the first time.
Apple's newest timepieces will go on sale in Australia on Friday, starting at a price of $599 and with preorders starting today.
But Apple also revealed a cheaper version of its smartwatch for the first time, called the Apple Watch SE.
It will come at a $170 discount, starting at $429, and will feature the same accelerometer, gyroscope, and altimeter as its fancier sibling, but without some of the more advanced health-monitoring sensors.
Apple also revealed a new software feature called Family Setup that will allow parents to connect Apple Watches for their children who don't yet have an iPhone, potentially creating a new market.
Australia will not be among the first countries to test the new software, however.
While Mr Cook said this event was all about Watches and iPads, Apple also revealed major changes to its subscription services.
For the first time, Apple will deliver its own workout app, called Fitness+, that will go head-to-head with the likes of Aussie creations Centr, from Chris Hemsworth, and Sweat, from Kayla Itsines.
Fitness+ will cost $14.99 per month in Australia, or $119.99 for a yearly subscription, with a free month-long trial.
Apple fitness technologies senior director Jay Blahnik said the new service would deliver "fresh new workouts every week" from a range of trainers, and would offer workouts based on cycling, treadmill, rowing, HIIT, strength, yoga, dance, core, and cool downs.
There would also be a workout designed solely for beginners, he said.
Fitness+ is expected to become available later this year.
The company will also offer Fitness+ as part of new subscription packages to users under the Apple One banner.
In Australia, the packages will be priced from $19.95 per month for access to Music, TV+, Arcade and 50GB iCloud storage, to $39.95 for Music, TV+, Arcade, News+, Fitness+ and 2TB iCloud storage.
Pro-level iPads launched earlier this year so today was a moment for the standard-issue Apple tablet and iPad Air to catch up.
The newest iPad Air got the boldest makeover, with an attractive, coloured stainless steel exterior, Touch ID fingerprint sensor built into its on button, and an upgrade to a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina Display.
It will go on sale in Australia for $899 next month.
Apple's standard iPad received a power boost, with the eight generation model getting a new chip promising a 40 per cent speed boost, and a 10.2-inch screen.
It will sell for $499 in Australia from this Friday.
In addition to all the new hardware, Mr Cook revealed the company would launch software for Macs, iPads, and iPhones tomorrow.
These are 10 highlights from macOS Big Sur, iOS 14, and iPadOS 14 that you will be able to unlock for free.
So many unseen trackers follow you around the web. Apple's new software not only stops them but names them in Safari. You can find out who's tracking your every click by tapping the first icon in Safari's address bar and selecting Privacy Report. You might be surprised by how many followers you have.
Apple Pencil fans no longer need to keep putting down their instrument. There's a new rule: if you can type text in it, you can scratch words in it. A feature called Scribble lets Pencil users write everything from website addresses to search queries on the iPad. It's been trained using a lot of handwriting samples and could even make sense of a doctor's script.
This addition will have Android fans screaming that they got here first. You can finally add a range of widgets to the home screen of your iPad or iPhone but, in a very Apple way, there are a limited number of options and they're all exceedingly stylish. Mac users will even be able to add widgets to their computer's Notification Centre on the right of the screen.
A superficial change, perhaps, but a useful one. You can now add a face mask to your personalised Memoji (and choose its design and colour), deliver a fist bump, or more accurately show your age.
5. AIRPODS UPGRADE
Fans of wireless audio should appreciate the AirPods switching automatically between devices on their account as they turn off one screen and turn on another. AirPod Pro owners will also benefit from a new feature called Spatial Audio that will mimic surround sound in their ears.
6. PRIVACY WARNINGS
Apple will now warn you if an app is listening to you by showing an orange light, make apps ask for permission before tracking you, and only share your approximate position rather than exact location.
You can now employ advanced machine learning to turn messy handwriting into neat, easy-to-read text. After scribbling down a note with the Apple Pencil, you can select it and tap 'convert to text' to paste it in text form. Useful for sharing lecture notes or minutes of a meeting.
Incoming phone calls need not interrupt you after this update. Instead of using the whole screen, they'll appear as a pop-up bar, letting you sweep them away or answer without changing your view.
9. APP LIBRARY
Everyone has their own system for filing and arranging apps but Apple adds its own, unobtrusively. Scroll to the end of your home screens while using iOS 14 and you'll find the Library, where your apps will be categorised by their content.
While arguably more useful when we're allowed overseas again, Apple's new Translate app is impressive. You can choose to type or speak into the app, and turn your iPhone on its side to get a real-time translation.
Originally published as Massive changes coming to your Apple devices