APPLE on Tuesday unveiled its cheapest smartwatch in years during a virtual event streamed from its headquarters in California.
The £269 / $279 Apple Watch SE shares many of the features packed into the firm’s previous timepieces – but at a cut-price.
⚠️ Read our Apple Event live blog for the very latest news & updates
By comparison, the cheapest Apple Watch at launch to date was Apple’s very first, the Series 1, which hit shelves at the same price back in 2016.
The SE is a followup to the three-year-old Series 3, and shares many of the same tools and apps.
That means sleep and fitness tracking, a waterproof chassis and fall detection – a feature that calls the emergency services if you take a tumble.
The SE has up to two times better performance than the Series 3, Apple said, thanks to its upgraded S5 chip.
It starts from $279 in the US and £269 in the UK for non-cellular versions.
If you want the cellular version, that bumps up to £319 / $329.
The Watch SE is available from Friday from Apple’s website and physical stores. Pre-orders open today.
While it represents great value, the gadget is missing some of the Apple Watch’s key recent features, such as detailed health tracking.
It can’t take an ECG reading, first introduced in the Series 5, and can’t trac your blood oxygen levels, a feature introduced to the Series 6, which Apple also announced on Tuesday.
The watch will come with Apple’s latest watch software, watchOS7, which adds brand new features – including sleep-tracking.
According to Apple, the system “provides valuable tools to help users get the desired amount of sleep, get to bed on time, and create a pre-bedtime routine to meet their sleep goals.”
The watch can automatically detect when you’re napping by tracking tiny movements that signal breathing during sleep.
It builds a chart with this data to let users know the quality and timing of their shut-eye.
The new OS also has a feature that warn users if they’ve not washed their hands properly.
Using its motion sensors and microphone, the watch detects how long you’ve been washing your hands and alerts you if it’s under 20 seconds.
“Washing hands properly for at least 20 seconds can help prevent the spread of illness” Apple said.
Apple Watch can also remind wearers to wash their hands when they get home from a trip out.
The Apple Watch SE was unveiled September 15 during an online-only event streamed from Apple Park in Cupertino, California.
Every year, Apple hosts a major autumnal event to showcase new tech – including an iPhone.
This year’s global health crisis threw a spanner in the works, however.
Some gadgets were revealed in the Apple September event with less fanfare than usual – while a bigger iPhone reveal is expected in the coming weeks.
The iPhone 12 is rumoured to be Apple’s first 5G phone and comes with new camera technology that helps it process futuristic augmented reality apps.
As well as the Apple Watch SE, Apple also showed off the Apple Watch 6 and a new iPad on Tuesday.
In other news, Android users are being warned not to download a specific phone background as it could crash their device.
Apple’s next AirPods could track your heart rate – using light sensors in your ears.
And, 3D designers have mocked up what the iPhone 12 could look like.
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