Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Apple Watch Series 6, SE, and Fitness+

Apple (MacRumors, Hacker News):

Apple today announced Apple Watch Series 6, introducing a revolutionary Blood Oxygen feature that offers users even more insight into their overall wellness. Apple Watch Series 6 delivers many notable hardware improvements, including a faster S6 System in Package (SiP) and next-generation always-on altimeter, along with its most colorful lineup yet, featuring a beautiful palette of new case finishes and bands.


Using a new dual-core processor based on A13 Bionic in iPhone 11, the upgraded S6 SiP runs up to 20 percent faster, allowing apps to also launch 20 percent faster, while maintaining the same all-day 18-hour battery life. Additionally, Apple Watch Series 6 features the U1 chip and Ultra Wideband antennas, which will enable short-range wireless location to support new experiences, such as next-generation digital car keys. Apple Watch Series 6 offers faster charging, completing a full charge in under 1.5 hours, and improved battery life for tracking certain workouts, such as indoor and outdoor runs.


Apple Watch Series 6 (GPS) starts at $399 and Apple Watch Series 6 (GPS + Cellular) starts at $499.

Apple (MacRumors):

Apple today announced Apple Watch SE, packing the essential features of Apple Watch into a modern design customers love — all at a more affordable price. The largest and most advanced Retina display allows customers to easily see more details and the information that matters most, right on their wrist. Apple Watch SE features the same accelerometer, gyroscope, and always-on altimeter as Apple Watch Series 6, and with the latest motion sensors and microphone, it offers robust health and safety capabilities including fall detection, Emergency SOS, international emergency calling, and the Noise app.


Apple Watch SE (GPS) starts at $279 and Apple Watch SE (GPS + Cellular) starts at $329.

Juli Clover:

With the launch of the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple has discontinued the higher-end premium ceramic Apple Watch models that were previously available.

Apple (MacRumors, Hacker News):

Apple today unveiled Fitness+, the first fitness experience built for Apple Watch, arriving later this year. Apple Fitness+ intelligently incorporates metrics from Apple Watch for users to visualize right on their iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV, offering a first-of-its-kind personalized workout experience. Everyone from beginners to committed exercisers can access studio-style workouts delivered by inspiring world-class trainers and underscored by motivating music from renowned artists, making it easier and more rewarding for customers to exercise, whenever and wherever they like.


Fitness+ will be available to Apple Watch customers as a subscription service before the end of 2020 for $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year. Everyone can try Fitness+ free for one month.


Update (2020-09-16): Darshan Shankar:

Did anyone notice Apple further flexing their monopolistic powers today?

3rd-party fitness apps need to pay 30% tax to Apple, while Apple launch their own first party competitor (Apple Fitness+)

Same issue with Spotify & Apple Music

Facebook is doing the same to Bigscreen in VR

Update (2020-09-17): Jason Snell:

If replacing the old model with a new “SE” model is the Tim Cook doctrine, how do we describe what happened on Tuesday? Tim Cook Plus? He brought in the new model and kept the old one.

Good, Better, Best. The $199 model gets people to consider an Apple Watch… but once you compare the three models side by side, that $279 model starts to look a lot more interesting. Perhaps that Series 3 will still bring people in to the Apple Watch world who might otherwise have passed it by for a FitBit or some other fitness band, but my guess is that it will ultimately be more important as a “good” product that makes potential buyers curious about the Apple Watch but then drives them toward the “better” end of the spectrum.

John Gruber:

There’s nothing spectacular or game-changing about Apple Watch Series 6, but it’s a perfect example of Apple’s incremental product update strategy. What’s new in Series 6 compared to Series 5?


The Apple Watch SE is best thought of as a cut-down Series 5 watch. Apple has an excellent comparison page, and it’s pretty clear from that page that the difference between a Series 6 and SE comes down to three things the SE lacks: no always-on display, no ECG sensor, no blood oxygen sensor. Also, adding cellular connectivity to an aluminum Series 6 is a $100 upsell; on the SE adding cellular costs only $50. (The stainless steel and titanium Series 6 models all have cellular included.)

Update (2020-09-22): Benjamin Mayo:

I have no problem with Apple rolling out new services, as long as they are made with purpose and care. Fitness+ fits the bill. It’s a really nice integration of Apple’s ecosystem to bring something new to home fitness courses. The interaction between the recorded video and the user’s on-screen health metrics is useful and simple for prospective subscribers to understand.


[The] only criticism I have is that the service will require a Watch. […] This seems like an unnecessary artificial limitation.


Fitness+ is a fixed cost service, but it has higher-rate pricing. From the business side, Apple is going to singing for the hills if they can accrue millions of Fitness+ subscribers. It will easily be their most profitable service per customer. In the scheme of things, producing a set of fitness videos on a weekly basis is relatively inexpensive. Their outlay on a single TV+ show will easily cost more than running the entire the Fitness+ service for years.

That being said, it doesn’t matter how much it costs to make, it’s what the market can bear. At $9.99, Fitness+ is legitimately competitive with other workout plans.

1 Comment RSS · Twitter

Maybe I don't "get it" because I don't have an Apple Watch, but isn't the #1 biggest selling point the health monitoring features? I just can't imagine the customer that would say "Yeah, spending $280 for a watch seems totally reasonable, but $399 is too much!"

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