Apple Watch 6 – the new smartwatch
The Apple Watch has been setting the tone for years. Now it is entering its sixth generation with the Apple Watch 6. For the second-hand fans, there is also a SeventyOne report on the Apple Watch 4.
Next Generation Smartwatch
The Apple Watch 6 expands on the already robust features of its predecessors. The always-on display permanently shows the time and even more functions from the Apple cosmos find space on the Watch.
Instead of innovation, Apple focuses on good care: thus, the watchOS 7 software brings the sleep tracker. Besides, the fresh chip speeds up and reduces charging times, and the altitude sensor now works in real-time. Nevertheless, the Smartwatch still has some weaknesses, first and foremost its short battery life of one day and the fact that it only works with iPhones.
Apple Watch 6 display
Like its predecessor, the Apple Watch Series 5, the Smartwatch permanently displays the time. In this so-called always-on mode, the Watch dims the brightness and reduces the refresh rate.
According to the manufacturer, the Apple Watch 6’s screen shines up to 2.5 times brighter, which increases readability in sunlight. The visual test showed that in direct sunlight, the differences were visible compared to the Apple Watch Series 4. While indoors, no difference in brightness was visible to the naked eye. When users raise their arm or tap one of the buttons or the display, the screen shines as brightly and with high contrast as usual. Thanks to OLED technology.
Apple Watch Series 6:
Same sizes, new colours
Like its predecessors, the Apple Watch 6 comes in two case sizes. Since the Apple Watch 4 was introduced in 2018, Apple has offered the Watch with a case height of 40 and 44 millimetres. That’s how it remains. The standard variant in the aluminium casing has been available in space grey, silver and gold for years.
With Apple Watch 6, the company is promptly introducing two new colours: Blue and Red. SeventyOne has opted for the silver variant. The strap is anthracite with a light grey and blue stripe. The Apple finish has a high-quality look. However, those who like to change wristbands are more likely to get stuck with the blue or red case than with the more traditional colours. The Apple watch case is still waterproof to 50 metres.
Operating and wearing comfort
The operation hardly differs from previous Apple Watches. The touchscreen reacts sensitively to inputs. Also, the crown, i.e. the round, rotatable button, precisely navigates through menus. A slight resistance can be experienced, which provides the operator with a mechanical feeling (“haptic feedback”).
The side button escorts you back to the watch face or to the view of the open apps. If you press the button longer, the menu for switching off the Watch or making an emergency call opens. Apple has abolished Force Touch with watchOS 7.
Instead, developers have to modify their apps and provide corresponding menus as a replacement. Apple has also done this. For example, if you want to change the menu view with the small circles to the list view with alphabetically sorted apps, you can no longer do this via Force Touch. Instead, this can be regulated under Settings > App View.
The Smartwatch has a comfortable fit. And how does it look at night? With the new watchOS 7 software, the Watch becomes a sleep tracker. Moreover, the Watch is at least less disturbing than some other models. What is exceedingly pleasant, however, is the vibrating alarm function. This is especially appreciated when someone can sleep longer than the other.
Apple Watch 6: Battery life and interior
There are some innovations inside the innovative leading model – including the weak point of the Smartwatch: the battery. The memory is 32 gigabytes – and thus offers a lot of space for music and apps.
The manufacturer’s promised battery life is meagre 18 hours. This is because the many functions suck the Watch dry faster. However, thanks to the S6 chip with improved power management, the battery now charges more quickly: The battery is full in only 1.5 hours; previous models needed 2.5 hours for this.
No new accessories are needed for this; in fact, the standard magnetic charging cable and a 5-watt mains adapter are sufficient. The test confirms this. While the Apple Watch charges by 20 per cent in 27 minutes, the battery of the Series 6 recharges by a full 30 per cent. So the manufacturer’s specification is precisely right. However, it is annoying that another cable is needed.
More accurate altitude measurement
The new altimeter directly provides more accurate data by incorporating GPS and Wi-Fi information. According to the manufacturer, the Watch thus detects even small altitude changes of 30 centimetres and displays this information in real-time.
The S6 chip is based on the A13 chip of the iPhone 11. According to the manufacturer, work 20 per cent faster than the processor of the predecessor Series 5. The difference in speed is hardly noticeable in everyday life because previous Apple Watch models also work quickly.
Apple Watch 6: Health features
With the electrocardiogram (ECG) to detect the dangerous cardiac arrhythmia atrial fibrillation and the fall detection with emergency call function, Apple has long oriented the Watch as a health companion. In the present circumstances, it has infrared LED sensors to measure the oxygen saturation in the blood. Apart from that, there are some changes on the software side, thanks to watchOS 7.
In future, the Apple Watch will monitor the value for maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max) even more closely and make statements about cardio fitness. The deal is determined during outdoor training at high speed. In future, the VO2max measurement will work “in the low range”. This means it estimates the value even without starting a training recording. According to the manufacturer, the Watch will communicate a message when the cardio fitness drops to a low level with an update that will follow later this year.
Blood oxygen saturation
In a 15-second measurement, new infrared LED sensors record the blood’s oxygen saturation (SpO2).
The Watch undertakes automatic measures at night and during the day. Like the competition, the Apple Watch does not determine the value with medical accuracy, which the manufacturer explicitly points out.
Your arm must be motionless for the measurement. The measured saturation fluctuated between 87 and 100 per cent on one day. This represents a somewhat extremely broad range. If it falls below 90 per cent, this becomes noticeable through symptoms like exhaustion. The value is interesting for mountaineers or to detect breathing pauses during sleep. But its significance is limited.
Nevertheless, this function was prevalent during the Corona phase.
Fitness functions in the test
The fitness functions of the Apple Watch 6 do not differ from those of previous models.
As usual, there are various training modes for athletes. If you want to record your workout, select the appropriate training from the app on the Smartwatch. Thanks to the always-on screen, the Watch continuously displays the most critical data during exercise, including heart rate, duration and time.
The Watch recognises many activities automatically, including walking and running, and asks if it should record the workout. It does the same when it wants to recognise that the workout is over.
In modern gyms, the Apple Watch can be paired with equipment and then takes over the data from the fitness equipment.
Outdoors, it records the route followed via GPS and altitude sensor. This also worked in the test.
The Watch transmits the results to the fitness app on the iPhone. This is the discontinued activity app, which was renamed “Fitness” with iOS 14 and has become much clearer. However, users cannot enter their personal maximum heart rate anywhere, and the fitness evaluation does without a display in training heart rate zones, as many other manufacturers use. This representation would help with classification.
The Apple Watch 6 inspires its users to exercise more by displaying the data in the form of activity rings and informing them about their progress. It measures how often users get up per hour, how much they move and how eager they are to exercise.
Heart rate measurement
The Apple Watch continues measuring the heart rate without any problems and consistently with the editors’ reference device, even during sports where the arms move a lot. In everyday life, the Smartwatch publishes a message if the heart rate appears abnormally high, too low or irregular. In the latter case, the heart rhythm can be examined more in-depth using a single-channel ECG.
The new top model hardly needs any groundbreaking innovations, because its predecessors have done enough: Messaging and telephony work, fall detection and ECG already made the Apple Watch 4 a health helper.
Hence, since the Apple Watch 5, there has been a display that permanently shows the time. Besides, Apple services such as voice assistant Siri and Apple Pay are indispensable. With watchOS 7, more apps and functions will follow: Siri learns to translate. Shortcuts can be managed via the Watch, and sleep tracking is added. But the predecessors also learn all this. The distinguishing features are the measurement of oxygen saturation, a relatively more vivid always-on display, the sounder chip and the new case colours.
That alone is not enough. Anyone who owns a Series 5 or can presently persuade one at a bargain price will consider only unconvincing arguments for switching. However, the new colours and the fact that the equivalent alternative Series 4 is hardly available any more, which will also soon be the case for Series 5. This situation puts the Apple Watch 6 in the spotlight.