The 5 Biggest Things We Heard At Apple’s September Event

Apple debuted two new versions of the Apple Watch along with updates to the iPad and iPad Air.

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While there was no sign of the iPhone 12, Apple’s September event still included plenty of major product announcements. For iPad fans, the company unveiled updated models for both the standard iPad and the iPad Air. Two new Apple Watch versions debuted, as well – the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE. And in terms of services, Apple announced a new services bundle, Apple One, as well as a new fitness service.

What follows are the five biggest things we heard at Apple’s September event.

Apple iPad Air, 4th Gen

For Apple’s iPad Air 4, the tablet has been “completely redesigned,” the company said. Updates include the expansion of the display size to 10.9 inches, from 10.5 inches on the iPad Air 3, and switching the location of the Touch ID fingerprint sensor to the top button. The fourth-gen iPad Air is also getting a brand-new processor from Apple, the A14 Bionic, which Apple touts as the first 5-nanometer chip in the industry. The six-core processor gives the new iPad Air a 40-percent performance improvement and 30-percent faster graphics than on the previous iPad Air model, Apple said. The iPad Air 4 also switches to USB-C connectivity and features a redesigned speaker system, according to the company.

Apple’s iPad Air 4 will be available in October for a starting price of $599.

Apple iPad, 8th Gen

For its eighth-generation model, the entry-level iPad won’t see the sort of dramatic changes of the iPad Air. But it will still get some useful updates, including adding the A12 Bionic chip--best known as the processor in 2018 iPhones such as the iPhone XR. The A12 will improve CPU performance by 40 percent and graphics speeds by 2X compared to the seventh-gen iPad. The new iPad will retain the 10.2-inch display size and the ability to connect to a keyboard, as well as support for the Apple Pencil stylus.

Apple’s iPad, 8th gen, will be available to order today for a starting price of $329, and will ship on Friday.

Apple Watch Series 6

The biggest advancement touted by Apple for the sixth-gen Apple Watch is measurement of blood oxygen—a vital sign that provides information about breathing and circulation (and is especially relevant amid the COVID-19 pandemic). Other updates for the Apple Watch Series 6 include the addition of a new dual-core processor that enables a 20-percent improvement in performance over the prior generation. The display, meanwhile, is now 2.5X brighter for outdoor use. A number of new options for the band are also being introduced for the new Apple Watch, including a “solo loop” band that is one continuous piece, as well as a braided solo loop.

The Apple Watch Series 6 will be available to order today for a starting price of $399, and will ship on Friday.

Apple Watch SE

For the first time, Apple is also introducing a more affordably priced SE model for its Apple Watch lineup (leveraging the iPhone SE concept). The Apple Watch SE offers 2X faster performance and a 30 percent larger display than the Apple Watch 3, according to Apple. The wearable also includes many of the same health and fitness features of the more-expensive Apple Watch models, including fall detection and sleep tracking.

The Apple Watch SE is available to order today for a starting price of $279, and will ship on Friday.

Apple One

Apple also had some news in its Services business during its September event. Along with introducing a new fitness service subscription, Apple Fitness+, the company said it will launch a services bundle this fall, dubbed Apple One. The bundle will be offered in various configurations of Apple’s services—which span iCloud, Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, Apple News+ and Apple Fitness+-- starting at $14.95/month.