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Apple hints at long-feared change at new launch

Apple has revealed updates to the iPad Air and Watch in a video from its California headquarters, but hinted at one of the most feared new changes in the eventual announcement of the next iPhone.“This year we are removing the USB adaptor from Apple Watch,” Apple vice-president of environment, policy and social initiatives, Lisa Jackson…

Apple has revealed updates to the iPad Air and Watch in a video from its California headquarters, but hinted at one of the most feared new changes in the eventual announcement of the next iPhone.

“This year we are removing the USB adaptor from Apple Watch,” Apple vice-president of environment, policy and social initiatives, Lisa Jackson said, spinning the move as an environmental policy that will be the equivalent of taking 50,000 cars off the road.

“We know that customers have been accumulating USB power adaptors and that producing millions of unneeded adaptors consumes resources and adds to our carbon footprint,” she said.

The decision will be combined with helping manufacturing partners transition to renewable energy.

It’s long been predicted and feared Apple would stop including chargers in the box for its products and the latest move appears to confirm Apple moving in that direction.

It comes shortly after the tech giant became the world’s most valuable company with a net worth of more than $US2 trillion.

But Apple wasn’t online to talk about iPhone this morning.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook started the video that comprised the Time Flies event talking about how well the company has done during the pandemic as people picked up new devices to work from home.

Attention quickly turned to Apple Watch, which is being positioned as a lifesaving health device.

Ray from Texas had pain in her stomach but thought it was nothing until her Apple Watch told her she had an elevated heart rate.

“She could have died without that warning from her Watch,” Mr Cook said.

He also told a story about Enrique, a blind man who uses it to catch taxis.

Kate’s dream of becoming an Olympian was complicated by her Type 1 diabetes, until she got an Apple Watch that allowed her to check her vitals on her wrist.

A man called James had an increased heart rate warning and got to the hospital just in time to have a heart attack at the age of 26.

“I’m thankful for that device that saved me,” James said in the video.

Mr Cook also revealed Singapore would be offering incentives for people to use Apple Watch and that insurance companies and other businesses were seeing the benefits of offering it too.

He then kicked over to chief operating officer Jeff Williams to take viewers through the new features of the Apple Watch Series 6 and WatchOS7.


Mr Williams promised a big leap forward for the Apple Watch which came in “our most colourful line-up ever”.

A new blue option joins the existing silver, grey and gold, and there will also be a red Watch as part of the PRODUCT (RED) project to raise funds to combat AIDS.

There are also some technological innovations obviously.

WatchOS7 has a new sleep app that uses motion sensors to track sleep.

The company talked up the automatic hand washing detection features it spoke about at Apple’s WorldWide Developers Conference in June.

The key addition to the Apple Watch this year is the ability to detect blood oxygen values (the company notes these are not intended for medical use and are only designed for general fitness and wellness purposes).

Mr Williams also dedicated some time to the blood oxygen sensor, which uses red, green and infra-red light to measure the light reflected back by your blood, which an algorithm then uses to measure your oxygen saturation.

Oxygen saturation (SpO2), indicates how much oxygen is carried by red blood cells in your body, and indicates how well this oxygenated blood is being delivered throughout the body.

The blood oxygen sensor is said to work in fifteen seconds, and can also record data in your sleep if you wear it to bed.

The new S6 processor uses a chip based on the A13 in current models of iPhone with better energy efficiency that makes the always-on display brighter in the Series 6.

Vice-president of human interface design, Alan Dye, then spoke about some new watch faces.

There are new tools for developers to create watch faces, repeating the successful approach Apple took to apps.

Apple also introduced a new watch band called the Solo loop band has no clasp or buckle, just a single piece of stretchable silicone.

In order to “make Apple Watch available to more people”, the company has introduced “Family set up” for people who want to buy either their child or elderly parent a Watch when they don’t necessarily have an iPhone.

It also gives parents a way to prevent their children contacting certain people and track their location.

You need the more expensive cellular models and the feature won’t be available in Australia just yet.

To add to the accessibility of the product, Apple has announced the Watch SE, a cheaper watch with “the features customers love” using the S5 chip from the Series 5 Watch Apple had been selling prior to the announcement.

It benefits from some of the other new sensors in the Series 6 as well, like the altitude detecting altimeter.

Apple also looks set to keep selling the Series 3 Watch at a further discount.

Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE orders are now open and the device is available in stores from Friday starting at $599 ($749 for the cellular) and $429 ($499 for cellular) respectively.


The “most popular iPad” (the cheap one) has been given a power upgrade and received a price drop too, now starting at $499.

The everyman’s iPad now has an A12 chip from what will become the old iPad Air, which will add better machine learning experiences via the Neural Engine.

The new iPadOS14 operating system makes using iPad more “intuitive, fun, and more productive” according to iPad product manager Ted Merendin.

The iPad Air also got the update that was predicted.

A “completely redesigned iPad Air” that looks an awful lot like the iPad Pro has a new all-screen display, and squared off edges many have predicted are returning to iPhone this year as well.

The screen is now 10.9-inches but the iPad hasn’t gotten any bigger, the extra screen real estate coming from getting rid of the Home button.

This also meant designing a “next generation” Touch ID that is now in the power button for biometric authentication.

The Air 4 also benefits from a new system-on-chip.

The A14 chip was expected to debut in a new iPhone this year but it looks like we’ll experience it on iPad for the first time.

The new chip is even smaller, Apple claiming an industry first five nanonmeter, with increased power efficiency and performance.

Apple claimed a 40 per cent performance increase over the previous iPad Air, which came out 18 months ago, and a 30 per cent increase in graphical performance.

As leakers predicted, the iPad Air will also benefit from the inclusion of USB-C, previously restricted to the iPad Pro, whose camera the iPad Air has also inherited.

In many ways the new iPad Air is much like past models of the iPad Pro, with a magnetically attaching Pencil and the ability to use the floating Magic Keyboard

The iPad Air also has a couple fun new colours you don’t get on the Pro and won’t cost you nearly as much.

It’s expected to be available next month and will start at $899.


Apple has been seeking to build its services category over the past several years with new services like TV+, Music, News+ and now Fitness+.

Fitness is obviously a key focus of the Apple Watch, and now the company has confirmed its own at-home fitness classes centred around the product.

Fitness+ will be adding new classes every week, starting with popular ones like yoga, cycling, dance, strength and core training, and rowing.

It will be available by the end of the year for $14.99 a month (you get it for free for three months if you buy a new Watch).

Apple will now also sell you a bundle service called Apple One that allows you to bundle a number of services together, and share them with your family.

If you’re an Apple ecosystem inhabitant who already subscribes to several services it might prove valuable.

The individual plan includes Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, and 50GB of iCloud storage for $19.95 a month.

The family plan can be shared with six people and has all the above with 200GB of iCloud for $25.95, while the premier subscription tier adds News+, Fitness+, and 2TB of iCloud storage for $39.95 a month.

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