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The Apple Watch Series 6 adds blood-oxygen monitoring and more

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(credit: Apple)

As expected, Apple has unveiled the next model of Apple Watch—the Apple Watch Series 6—in some flashy new colors, as well as a less-expensive alternative, the Apple Watch SE. As with other recent Apple Watch updates, the Series 6 is focused primarily on adding new health-monitoring features, like blood-oxygen monitoring, as well as personal customization options, while the Apple Watch SE offers a faster, newer alternative for those looking to spend a bit less. Both can now work without being paired to an iPhone via Apple's new Family setup feature.

Powered by Apple's new S6 processor, the Series 6 has a dual-core processor based on the company's A13 Bionic chip. Along with a faster processor, the watch gets an improved always-on display that's two times brighter than the Series 5. Rounding out the new hardware is an always-on altimeter.

All this upgraded hardware powers newly announced features like the Blood Oxygen app. This app lets users measure their blood-oxygen saturation in just 15 seconds and takes readings periodically throughout your waking and sleeping life. All of this is aimed at keeping track of respiratory and cardiac health to monitor asthma symptoms and potential heart problems, for example. Apple has partnered with the Seattle Flu Study, the University of California Irvine, and Anthem to help develop three new research studies, including how to better manage asthma, using data to prevent heart failure, and how changes in blood oxygen and heart rate can indicate early signs of health problems, as in the onset of COVID-19 infection, for instance.

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