With everyone sheltered at home, Apple made sure it packed a punch at this year’s September Keynote event, which launched live from California on Wednesday.
And boy, they did just that. With the moniker “Time Flies,” Apple’s event unveiled the newest iterations of the Apple Watch and the iPad, as well as the arrival of the fastest-ever iPad Air 4. They also introduced a handful of new features and services, namely the Apple One, and the Apple Fitness+.
Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE – starts at $399 and $329
With the new version of the Apple Watch come cool new functionalities, including a blood oxygen sensor, which should come in handy for people monitoring their blood oxygen level and overall heart health amidst this global health crisis.
The new watch also sports a new Always-On Retina display and altimeter, which allows you to check your fitness metrics at a glance, as well as to monitor changes in elevation in real-time. It’s significantly brighter outdoors during the day, too.
The new smartwatches now come in (PRODUCT)RED and blue finishes as well, and can be fitted with the new seamless Solo Loop or Braided Solo Loop lightweight bands so you can style your watch in any way you want.
iPad 8th Generation: starts at $329
The most popular iPad model also made a comeback at this year’s event with its latest 8th generation iteration. For the first time, it now packs the powerful A12 Bionic with Neural Engine, with twice the graphics capability and up to 40 percent faster CPU performance. The new Neural Engine also unlocks new possibilities, namely next-level machine learning capabilities, motion tracking in augmented reality (AR) apps, a more intuitive Siri performance, and enhanced photo editing, among others.
With the assist from the new iPadOS 14, the flagship model is made more compatible with the Apple Pencil as well. With a responsive 10.2-inch retina display, sketching and note-taking are now smoother than ever.
The new OS also integrates Smart Selection, which uses machine learning to better distinguish handwriting from drawings, as well as Scribble, which allows Apple Pencil users to handwrite directly in any text field.
iPad Air 4: starts at $599
As if the 3rd generation of iPad Air wasn’t astounding enough, Apple ups the ante and gives us the iPad Air 4. Akin to the iPad Pro, the 4th version now comes with a larger 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display, a new higher-resolution 12MP rear camera from the previous 7MP camera issue, and the most powerful chip to ever come out of Apple’s laboratories: the A14 Bionic.
The latest-generation A-series chip boasts a new 6-core design for a 40 percent boost in CPU performance, and a new 4-core graphics architecture for a 30 percent boost in graphics performance. It also brings machine learning to a whole new level with the new 16-core Neural Engine, fully capable of performing up to 11 trillion operations per second.
It got rid of the home button, but it gained new hardware in the USB-C port, which allows for up to 5Gbps data transfer. The data connection is better too – with Wi-Fi 6 performance and 60 percent faster LTE connectivity, accomplishing tasks on the iPad Air 4 is a breeze.
The new version means new finishes. The iPad Air is breaking out of the monotony of sporting only three finishes, and levels up to five: Space Gray, Silver, Green, Sky Blue, and Rose Gold.
Apple One, Apple Fitness+: starts at $14.95/mo and $9.99/mo
Struggle to manage your Apple subscriptions? You can now do away with the stress with Apple One, a centralized service that bundles Apple’s on-demand features like Apple TV+, Apple Music, iCloud, and Apple Arcade.
The service will cost $14.95 for the Individual plan; $19.95 for the Family plan; and $29.95 for the Premiere plan.
For the fitness buffs who always flaunt their smartwatches at the gym or during their home workout, Apple Fitness+ is perfect for you. the new fitness service lets you choose from a number of studio workouts which you can play across Apple devices, and delivers personalized recommendation using a custom engine. With onscreen features such as the Burn Bar and Activity Sharing, users can track their progress, interact with the workout, and see their vitals and timers animated on screen.
At launch, the Apple Fitness+ will also introduce Fitness+ trainers, a team of passionate trainers across various athletic disciplines to impart their expertise and welcome users into the experience.
The new Apple products arrive to Apple stores worldwide on September 18.
(Images from Apple)