It’s hard for me to pick out a star of today’s Apple event. Usually, it’s pretty easy to choose one product, but with the new Apple Watch, iPad, and iPad Air, Apple delivered three products that will appeal equally to its users.
I use the iPad a lot, but the Apple Watch has been on my wrist from the time I wake up in the morning until I climb into bed at night. I use it all day long for everything, from music to directions, and I love it. I can’t imagine going a day without it.
When Apple Watch was first released, there was a focus on the watch’s overall technology and what it could do. When the company realized the interest in fitness, they dove headlong into providing some of the best fitness features it could.
However, along the way, the watch’s ability to help users with medical conditions became evident. Once again, Apple dove headlong into partnering with some of the world’s most significant medical organizations to make the watch better.
Apple Watch Series 6 seems to combine those two approaches into one more than any release before it. With the new Blood Oxygen sensor, Apple is once again breaking barriers for what tech can do to help the average user.
I know that it’s the very fit athletes that are highlighted using the Apple Watch, but it’s what the watch does for the average person that is more important to me. I’m not exactly the fittest person on earth, but Apple Watch still helps me every day—it prompts me to move, stand, and close my rings. Sometimes those little prompts are all it takes to get started doing something great.
I felt inspired by watching the Apple Watch presentation, especially Apple Fitness+. Okay, I’ll admit, I was a little scared too because there is no way I’ll keep up with most of those fitness routines. However, Apple did say they had “workouts that are suitable for all ability levels” and an “approachable program designed for beginners.”
I made some changes in my life with the original Apple Watch that helped me lose 50 pounds—now I think it’s time to make some more changes and give Apple Fitness+ a try.
Like many of Apple’s products, it’s not just the features but also the details in the features. They make things so easy for the user, like this:
When a workout is selected and started on iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV, the correct workout type will automatically start on Apple Watch. During the session, the metrics from Apple Watch are shown on the screen and come to life for moments of inspiration. For example, when the trainer says to check heart rate or begins a countdown timer, those numbers will animate on the screen. And for customers who like to push themselves with a little healthy competition, the optional Burn Bar shows how their current effort stacks up against anyone who has done the same workout previously.
It just works.
Family Setup for Apple Watch almost got lost today, but it’s another important feature. Designed for kids and older adults, it’s something I think a lot of households will take advantage of when it’s released.
Family Setup in watchOS 7 extends Apple Watch to the entire family by allowing kids and older family members of the household who do not have an iPhone to benefit from the connectivity, safety, and fitness features of Apple Watch. Kids can take advantage of communication and personalization capabilities, access Emergency SOS at any time, enjoy an Activity rings experience that has been optimized just for them, and utilize a new mode called Schooltime, which can help them stay focused and attentive while learning at home or in the classroom.
watchOS 7 also offers optimized features for older adults, starting with a simplified onboarding and configuration process, along with a refreshed X-Large face that shows the time and a rich complication at a glance. Older adults can also benefit from a new Health Checklist in the Health app on iPhone, which offers the ability to track whether health features like fall detection have been enabled in one centralized view.
iPad and iPad Air
iPad Air is indeed a powerful machine. Using Apple’s A14 Bionic chip, the Air will undoubtedly be all the power that many people will ever need in an iPad.
With a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display, upgrades to the camera and audio system, many will ask if they really need to buy an iPad Pro. While the Air is a fantastic device, there are a few advantages to having the iPad Pro like ProMotion, quad speakers, LiDAR, better cameras, and more cores, to name just a few.
As with any device, your particular uses will determine which iPad you should buy.
iPad Air comes with a 7MP front-facing FaceTime HD camera and a 12MP rear camera, the same one used in the iPad Pro. The Air also comes with a USB-C port allowing for 5Gbps data transfer.
I was also pleased to see that iPad Air was compatible with Magic Keyboard, my favorite iPad accessory. If someone I knew were buying an iPad Air, I would highly recommend getting the keyboard. It does change the way you use the device.
The last major update of the day was the eighth-generation iPad. It’s the entry-level iPad designed for those who want to communicate with family and friends, surf the web, email, and other similar tasks.
iPad is still a powerful device with an A12 Bionic chip, a 10.2-inch Retina display, and costs $329, making it the most affordable iPad. Using the A12 Bionic chip, iPad is “up to two times 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,” according to Apple.
There was a lot to like about Apple’s event today. They delivered everything from an affordable Apple Watch and iPad to mid-level iPads and high-end watches. Add to that the new services, and you have a lot to think about when making your next purchase.