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New iPads, Apple Watch and services: Apple’s September event roundup

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Apple virtually launched a bevvy of products from the company’s iconic headquarters in Cupertino. Keeping the new iPhone 12 for a later date thanks to the pandemic, Apple announced the new Apple Watch SE, Apple Watch Series 6, iPad Air, 8th generation iPad, and a few new services. While the availability of the new line-up in India is not yet known, the pricing is out.

Apple Watch Series 6

The Apple Watch Series 6 that’s been unveiled resembles the Watch Series 5 on the outside but is a whole lot new on the inside. Apple Watch Series 6 features an all-new Apple S6 Chip that is based on Apple A13 Bionic chip like in iPhone 11 and is optimised for the Apple Watch to offer 20 per cent faster performance and 18-hour battery life. Along with the powerful silicon, the biggest feature of the Apple Watch 6 is that It comes with a revolutionary Blood Oxygen sensor which will come in handy during the pandemic. It also comes with a heart rate monitor with ECG function. 

Apple Watch 6 will be available in seven colours and comes in two sizes 40mm and 44mm. It will run on the latest watchOS 7 with some new features like new faces, new health and fitness features, sleep tracking, handwashing detection, and new workout types.

The series 6 will start at Rs 40,900 in India and go all the way up to Rs 49,900 for the cellular model. 

Apple Watch SE 

Apple also announced a budget-friendly smartwatch which brings the best features of Apple smartwatch at a more affordable price. The new Apple Watch SE comes with the same iconic design and large display as Series 6 but uses the S5 dual-core processor instead, which the company says is 2x faster than SIP on the Series 3. Apple Watch SE has the latest motion sensors and fall detection along with water-resistant and can be paired with compatible gym equipment.

Apple Watch SE will also run on the latest watchOS 7 and will come in two variants GPS and Cellular. Prices start at Rs 29,900 for the GPS version and Rs 33,900 for GPS+ Cellular one.

However, again, it is not clear when these smartwatches will be available in India.

iPad 8th generation

The iPad 8th generation continues to be the most-affordable iPad starting Rs 29,900 The new iPad features a 10.2-inch Retina display with a home button for the Touch ID, 8-megapixel rear camera, and FaceTime HD camera.

The budget iPad will run on the Apple A12 Bionic chip which was first introduced in the iPhone XS and XR in 2018. Last year, this chip also made its way into the iPad mini. Even the A12Z bionic chip on the new iPad Pro is based on this chip which means it has some serious stopping power. 

Apple says it is 2x faster than the top-selling Windows laptop, up to three times faster than the top-selling Android tablet and up to six times faster than the top-selling Chromebook. While Apple doesn’t specify which devices are these but one has to believe some of this considering the proven capabilities of this chip. 

The new iPad will be compatible with Apple Pencil (1st generation) priced at Rs 8,500 and the Smart Keyboard priced Rs 13,900. It will also run on the latest iPadOS 14 features. 

iPad Air

Apple’s mid-range iPad is inspired by the looks of iPad Pro. It has an edge to edge retina display, 12-megapixel rear camera, 7-megapixel Facetime HD Camera Touch ID and USB-C connectivity. 

It comes with a new A14 Bionic chipset which has 6-CPU cores and 4-GPU cores. It is based on a 5nm architecture which makes it the first one on the planet to do so. Apple has added a 16-core neural engine and next-generation machine learning accelerators in the CPU. 

Apple says the iPad Air’s new chip gives 40 per cent performance improvement over the prior iPad Air. This chipset is likely to be powering the iPhone 12 which may get announced next month. 

The Air will be available in five colour options – Silver, Space Grey, Rose Gold, Green and Sky Blue. The new mid-range tablet is also compatible with the second-generation Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard.

The Wi-Fi models of iPad Air will be available at Rs 54,900 and Wi-Fi + Cellular-variant is priced at Rs 66,900. The new iPad Air will be available in 64GB and 256GB storage options.

Apple One

Alongside the products, the Cupertino based company also launched an all-in-one subscription plan called Apple One. Which brings together services like  Apple TV+, Apple Music, Arcade and more.

There are three variants of Apple One starting with Individual, which includes Music, TV+, Arcade and 50GB of iCloud storage for Rs 195 per month. Family Plan, which can be shared among up to six family members and increases the iCloud storage to 200GB for Rs 365 per month. 

The premium plan will not be available in India as for now. The bundled offering will be available later in the year. The reason for this is that it includes two more services including Fitness+ that Apple announced at the keynote which isn’t coming to India alongside Apple News. 

The new subscription effectively sees a bulk discount and simplified billing, providing another avenue to generate revenue and lock-in users into the Apple ecosystem. On that note, Spotify has reportedly called Apple One’s launch “anti-competitive behaviour”. Spotify is engaged in an effort, much like Epic Games, to rid itself of having to pay a 30% commission on purchases its customers make on the App Store.

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