Apple has announced the Apple Watch Series 6, the latest in its line of popular smartwatches.
The Series 6 model maintains the same overall design introduced with the Apple Watch Series 4 and continued with the Series 5, but it adds a variety of new sensors to allow for things like blood oxygen monitoring and better sleep tracking.
Apple says the Series 6 can measure blood oxygen levels in about 15 seconds, using both red and infrared light.
The company says it’s partnering with health networks to start large scale studies using the new blood oxygen measurement feature, including testing to see if it can detect if a person is infected with COVID-19.
The Series 6 also comes with the new S6 processor, which promises up to 20 percent faster performance. It’s based on Apple’s in-house A13 chip and brings the first major update to the Apple Watch’s performance since the Series 4, given that last year’s Series 5 model used the same S4 CPU (rebranded as the S5 with other additions like a compass and a new display controller).
The Series 6 will run watchOS 7, which Apple revealed at WWDC earlier this year. The software update — available for all models dating back to the Series 3 — adds native sleep tracking support, but the Series 6 will take that feature even further thanks to dedicated sensors.
Other major updates coming in watchOS 7 include a rebranded Fitness app with new workouts, a hand-washing feature tailored for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, richer complications, and the ability to share watchfaces with others.
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