Tech giant launches revamped Apple Watches, iPad, alongside new fitness and bundled services at Sept. 15 event, but no iPhone 12
Although Apple did not announce the launch of the iPhone 12, the company’s much-anticipated fall event included some significant product upgrades and the launch of two new services.
On Tuesday, the U.S. tech giant revealed upgraded versions of the Apple Watch and iPad, debuted a new fitness service, Apple Fitness+, and introduced a bundled subscription offering of the company’s core services, Apple One.
In contrast to previous editions, which were held in the packed Steve Jobs Theater at Apple’s Cupertino, Calif., headquarters, this year’s pre-recorded Sept. 15 event was streamed online and had no audience.
Apple unveiled two more models of its Watch product—an upgraded Series 6 watch and an affordable SE model. The starting price for the SE is $369 (all prices CAD), while the Series 6 model costs $529. For the added cost, the Series 6 model offers the ability to take an electrocardiogram (ECG) and measure your blood oxygen level with the help of infrared light that penetrates your wrist. It also comes in stainless steel and titanium and comes in seven more colours than the cheaper SE. Both include a new “family setup” feature that allows users to pair multiple watches to a single iPhone. Both models go on sale this Friday.
The new iPad Air features a faster A14 Bionic chip and is compatible with Apple’s new Magic Keyboard with trackpad along with iPad Pro. The screen size of both high-end models is nearly identical. The differences between the mid-range iPad Air and the most expensive iPad Pro became blurrier after Apple announced upgrades to iPad Air. Marques Brownlee, the host of a popular technology podcast, tweeted to his 4.2 million followers that “the only advantage” the iPad Pro has is a faster chip. The entry-level iPad also boasts a faster chip and supports file transfer via USB connection. The Wi-Fi-only model for iPad Air starts at $779.
With many gyms closed due to COVID-19 and winter fast approaching, Apple has launched Apple Fitness+, a suite of virtual fitness classes that require almost no equipment. Though it works best with the Apple Watch health indicators, it also integrates with iPhones, iPads, and Apple TV. New Apple Watch buyers will gain three-month access to the new service for free, but it can also be accessed for $12.99 a month or $99.99 for the entire year. John Foley, CEO of Peloton, one of the world’s biggest live and on-demand workout streaming services, called Apple’s entry a “legitimization of fitness content.”
Apple now provides six different paid subscription services: Apple Music, TV Plus, Arcade, iCloud, News Plus, and Fitness Plus. With Apple One, the company claims that consumers can save money by purchasing these services as a bundle. The “Individual plan,” which starts at $15.95 a month, includes Apple Music, TV Plus, Arcade, and 50 GB of iCloud storage. The most expensive “Premier” plan offers all six services at a cost of $33.95 per month with 2 TB iCloud storage.
Experts expect Apple to announce a 5G-compatible iPhone and upgraded iPad Pro by the end of the year.