Apple unveils all-new iPad Air with advanced chip, but holds off on iPhone
By Marc Arcas
San Francisco, Sep 15 (efe-epa).- Apple on Tuesday held its traditional annual event to present its new hardware, taking advantage of the occasion to unveil its new smartwatch, the Apple Watch, and updated versions of its iPad tablets, but this year the newly designed iPhone will arrive later due to logistical problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
At an online event from its headquarters in Cupertino, California, the tech giant headed by Tim Cook also announced its own online gym class subscription service, Fitness Plus, as well as its long-awaited Apple One package, which includes music, television and company game services starting at $14.95 per month.
In the abscence of the iPhone, the day’s star product was the firm’s new smartwatch model, the Apple Watch Series 6, which adds a new sensor to measure the level of oxygen in the user’s blood within 15 seconds.
As operations chief Jeff Williams explained, the watch emits a red and infrared light on the wrist and evaluates the reflection received to estimate the color of the blood and, from that, the oxygenation level.
Esthetically, the Apple Watch Series 6 looks a lot like earlier models, but it comes in a wider range of colors: gold, blue, red and graphite gray.
The smartwatch has an S6 processor, which Apple says improves the performance by 20 percent, and uses the A13 microchip manufactured by the firm.
The first Apple Watch hit store shelves in 2015 and, since then, the company has tried to focus itself in the broader market with the original product intimately linked with health, a stance that it doubled down on this year with the blood oxygen sensor.
Apple also revealed that it is working with health organizations to determine if this new blood oxygen sensing function could prove useful in detecting cases of the coronavirus.
Along with the Apple Watch Series 6, the firm also announced a simpler and cheaper model of the smartwatch, the Apple Watch SE, with an S5 processor and many other similarities to the Series 3 model released in 2017.
The new smartwatch models, which can be purchased online starting on Tuesday, sell for a base price of $399 for the Series 6 and $279 for the SE.
The most important change in the firm’s tablets comes with the iPad Air, which in its new version includes an all-screen design with a larger 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display, camera and audio upgrades, a new integrated Touch ID sensor in the top button, and the powerful A14 Bionic microchip for a huge performance boost, all of this making the device far and away the most powerful and capable iPad Air.
The back camera is 12 megapixels with video stabilizer, while the front camera is 7 megapixels.
Meanwhile, the basic iPad tablet model – now in the eighth generation – has been updated to include a 10.2-inch screen and an A12 processor with a “neuronal motor.”
The new tablet models can be bought online starting Tuesday for $599 and up for the iPad Air and $329 and up for the basic version of the eighth generation device, although with the educators’ discount the price would be just $299.