Apple announced Apple Watch Series 6, introducing a revolutionary Blood Oxygen feature that offers users even more insight into their overall wellness. Apple Watch Series 6 delivers many notable hardware improvements, including a faster S6 System in Package (SiP) and next-generation always-on altimeter, along with its most colorful lineup yet, featuring a beautiful palette of new case finishes and bands. watchOS 7 brings Family Setup, sleep tracking, automatic handwashing detection, new workout types, and the ability to curate and share watch faces, encouraging customers to be more active, stay connected, and better manage their health in new ways.
“Apple Watch Series 6 completely redefines what a watch can do,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. “With powerful new features, including a Blood Oxygen sensor and app, Apple Watch becomes even more indispensable by providing further insight into overall well-being.”
Blood Oxygen Sensor and App
Apple Watch Series 6 expands the health capabilities of previous Apple Watch models with a new feature that conveniently measures the oxygen saturation of the user’s blood, so they can better understand their overall fitness and wellness. Oxygen saturation, or SpO2, represents the percentage of oxygen being carried by red blood cells from the lungs to the rest of the body, and indicates how well this oxygenated blood is being delivered throughout the body.
To compensate for natural variations in the skin and improve accuracy, the Blood Oxygen sensor employs four clusters of green, red, and infrared LEDs, along with the four photodiodes on the back crystal of Apple Watch, to measure light reflected back from blood. Apple Watch then uses an advanced custom algorithm built into the Blood Oxygen app, which is designed to measure blood oxygen between 70 percent and 100 percent. On-demand measurements can be taken while the user is still, and periodic background measurements occur when they are inactive, including during sleep. All data will be visible in the Health app, and the user will be able to track trends over time to see how their blood oxygen level changes.
Apple is joining forces with researchers to conduct three health studies that include using Apple Watch to explore how blood oxygen levels can be used in future health applications. This year, Apple will collaborate with the University of California, Irvine, and Anthem to examine how longitudinal measurements of blood oxygen and other physiological signals can help manage and control asthma.
Separately, Apple will work closely with investigators at the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research and the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre at the University Health Network, one of the largest health research organizations in North America, to better understand how blood oxygen measurements and other Apple Watch metrics can help with management of heart failure. Finally, investigators with the Seattle Flu Study at the Brotman Baty Institute for Precision Medicine and faculty from the University of Washington School of Medicine will seek to learn how signals from apps on Apple Watch, such as Heart Rate and Blood Oxygen, could serve as early signs of respiratory conditions like influenza and COVID-19.
Design and Performance
Apple Watch Series 6 improves performance through redesigned hardware that packs even more features and power into the same impressively small design. Using a new dual-core processor based on A13 Bionic in iPhone 11, the upgraded S6 SiP runs up to 20 percent faster, allowing apps to also launch 20 percent faster, while maintaining the same all-day 18-hour battery life.2 Additionally, Apple Watch Series 6 features the U1 chip and Ultra Wideband antennas,3 which will enable short-range wireless location to support new experiences, such as next-generation digital car keys. Apple Watch Series 6 offers faster charging, completing a full charge in under 1.5 hours, and improved battery life for tracking certain workouts, such as indoor and outdoor runs.
An enhanced Always-On Retina display on Apple Watch Series 6 is up to 2.5 times brighter than Apple Watch Series 5 outdoors when the user’s wrist is down, making it much easier to see a watch face in bright sunlight. When their wrist is down, the user can also now access Notification Center and Control Center, tap on complications, and swipe to change faces without having to wake their watch screen.
The always-on altimeter provides real-time elevation all day long by using a new, more power-efficient barometric altimeter, along with GPS and nearby Wi-Fi networks. This feature allows for the detection of small elevation changes above ground level, up and down to the measurement of 1 foot, and can be shown as a new watch face complication or workout metric.
Apple Watch Collection
This fall, customers have more choices than ever with stunning new cases and bands to suit every style preference. For the first time, a new blue color joins the silver, space gray, and gold aluminum case options, along with a (PRODUCT)RED Apple Watch with exclusive matching bright red bands. Stainless steel models are now available in graphite — a rich gray-black hue with a striking high-shine finish — and an updated classic yellow gold color. Apple Watch Edition is available in natural and space black titanium.
Three all-new band styles offer customers innovative options that provide a tailored and comfortable fit without traditional clasps or buckles. In an industry first, the ultralight Solo Loop introduces a continuous and stretchable band design that comes in two materials: soft silicone and braided yarn. A special UV treatment process used on the soft silicone of the Solo Loop creates a smooth, silky finish, while a precision-braiding machine interweaves the 16,000 polyester yarn filaments, made of 100 percent recycled material, with ultrathin silicone threads, giving unique stretchability and a distinct look to the Braided Solo Loop. To ensure the best fit, a new sizing system offers nine available lengths for the Solo Loop styles. The first-of-its-kind Leather Link wraps elegantly around the wrist, effortlessly attaching on the other side with flexible molded magnets.
Apple Watch Nike now comes with new colors for the Nike Sport Band and Nike Sport Loop, and a new Nike Compact watch face allows for multiple Nike Run Club complications. Apple Watch Hermès offers stainless steel cases in silver or space black paired with Single or Double Tour styles in an assortment of vibrant new colors. The fall collection also unveils the Hermès Attelage Single Tour and slimmer Attelage Double Tour bands, which feature a refined connection to the case that reflects the brand’s equestrian heritage, and a new Hermès Circulaire watch face that offers increased options for complications.
With watchOS 7, customers can take personalization to the next level with seven new watch face options, including Stripes, Chronograph Pro, GMT, and Artist, while curating, discovering, and sharing new watch face configurations with others. New health and fitness features, including low-range VO2 Max, sleep tracking, automatic handwashing detection, and new workout types, can help users better understand overall well-being. Conveniently accessible on the wrist, Maps includes cycling directions and Siri offers language translation.
Family Setup and Optimized Features for the Entire Family
Family Setup4 in watchOS 7 extends Apple Watch to the entire family by allowing kids and older family members of the household who do not have an iPhone to benefit from the connectivity, safety, and fitness features of Apple Watch. Kids can take advantage of communication and personalization capabilities, access Emergency SOS at any time, enjoy an Activity rings experience that has been optimized just for them, and utilize a new mode called Schooltime, which can help them stay focused and attentive while learning at home or in the classroom.
watchOS 7 also offers optimized features for older adults, starting with a simplified onboarding and configuration process, along with a refreshed X-Large face that shows the time and a rich complication at a glance. Older adults can also benefit from a new Health Checklist in the Health app on iPhone, which offers the ability to track whether health features like fall detection have been enabled in one centralized view.