Apple reveals Watch Series 6 with new Blood Oxygen monitor, plus more affordable Watch SE

Apple is hosting its big new hardware event today and has kicked things off by revealing the sixth generation of Apple Watch, as well as a more affordable SE variant and some new services.

The focus, as it has been in more recent generations, is on health once again, and the Apple Watch Series 6’s big new addition is the ability to measure your blood oxygen levels from your wrist using red and infrared light. This takes just 15 seconds and can even record background levels while you sleep.

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Powered by a sixth-generation S6 system in package chip based on A13 Bionic in iPhone 11, the new Watch promises a better always-on display, which is 2x brighter outdoors when your wrist is down, and a next-generation always-on altimeter.

There are of course new designs for watch faces, new case finishes, and new straps including a new Solo Loop which has no clasp or buckle -- just one custom piece of stretchable silicone. It’s durable and swimproof, and available in seven colors. There’s also a Braided Solo Loop variant made from recycled yarn available in five colors, and a Leather Link strap.

"Apple Watch Series 6 completely redefines what a watch can do," said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. "With powerful new features, including a Blood Oxygen sensor and app, Apple Watch becomes even more indispensable by providing further insight into overall well-being."

The Watch Series 6 (GPS) starts at $399 and Apple Watch Series 6 (GPS + Cellular) starts at $499. It’s available to order today from apple.com and in the Apple Store app, with availability from Friday, September 18.

If that’s a bit rich for you, then Apple has a new more affordable Watch SE priced from $279. This new model uses the S5 system in package chip and Apple says the device is 2x faster than Series 3. It has a larger display and you can get it with the Solo Loop, Braided Solo Loop and Leather Link straps. You get fall detection and sleep tracking but obviously the new Blood Oxygen feature isn’t included here.

"Apple Watch SE combines elements of the Series 6 design with the most essential features of Apple Watch, all at a more affordable price," said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. "We’re excited to offer another great option to help customers stay connected, be more active, and keep an eye on their health."

Apple Watch SE (GPS) pricing starts at $279 and Apple Watch SE (GPS + Cellular) starts at $329. It’s available to order today with availability from Friday.

It’s not just hardware that Apple debuted when talking about its new watches. It’s also launched two new services:

Family Setup -- use your iPhone to pair watches for other family members who might not have an iPhone.

Fitness+ -- offers a catalogue of workout videos and includes metrics from your watch on your phone screen. The most popular workout types are included at launch with new workouts released every week. This costs $9.99 a month or $79.99 a year, and if you buy a new Apple Watch you get three months free. It will be available by the end of the year.

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