The Apple Watch Series 6 is the upcoming new version of the most popular smartwatch in the world and it is expected to be unveiled along with the new iPhones in the middle of September of 2020, but early leaks and rumors are already here and indicate it will get some important new features.
In this article, we are rounding up all the major new features expected to come to the Series 6, as well as rumors about its pricing and release date. Read on...
Biggest new feature? Sleep Tracking
Apple has allegedly been testing sleep tracking on the watch since late 2018 in special facilities near its Cupertino HQ
Chief among those rumors are whispers about adding a sleep tracking functionality to the Apple Watch Series 6, which will allow you to wear it while sleeping and get a morning report about the quality of your sleep. Such a feature is already present on other smartwatches like ones by Fitbit and Withing, and it's also been available on the Apple Watch via third-party apps, but not natively.
In order for Apple to add sleep tracking to the Watch, it will need to achieve a big jump in battery life, so that the watch can at least last a full day and then the night without recharging, which is a full 24-hour cycle. The feature might be implemented as part of a low-power mode for the device at night, and might also require you to charge up your device in the morning. Currently, the Apple Watch is rated for an official battery life of 18-hours and needs to be recharged every night.
A Bloomberg report from early 2019
claimed that Apple has been testing sleep tracking on a watch since late 2018. The company has allegedly run a secret program with testers at specialized facilities near its headquarters in Cueprtino, California.
It's worth knowing that Apple's Health app on iPhones has had a separate sleep tracking category for years, but right now it uses data from the alarm clock on an iPhone, which of course provides little actual information about the quality of sleep. Apple acquired Finnish company Beddit in 2017, a company that makes a sleep-tracking sensor that is currently available on the Apple Store for $150.
As soon as in October 2019, we saw a mention of a yet non-existent "Sleep app" on the Apple Watch. The discovery came from Twitter user Daniel Marcinkowski
and is one more confirmation that Apple is actively working on adding sleep tracking to the watch.
Also new: Much better Gym Stats
While smartwatches and the Apple Watch in particular have been great companion devices for runners, cyclists, swimmers and a few other sports, gym goers lifting weights have had less use for the watch.
Apple has been working actively to change this and it has introduced a new "Apple Watch Connected" initiative for popular gyms in the United States. The new program will have the gyms bring Apple Watch-connected equipment as well as reward programs based on workout data collected by the watch.
Participating gyms are required to offer an app for either the iPhone or the Watch so that members can track their fitness progress, plus they have to support Apple Pay and offer a rewards program. Gyms will also need to have equipment compatible with Apple's GymKit API for tracking workouts. The program will require users to opt in, meaning that Apple will not automatically gather data about you.
The list of participating gyms includes Orange Theory, Crunch Fitness, YMCA, and Basecamp Fitness, and more can join in later on.
We are not sure whether this will result in particular features related to the Apple Watch Series 6 or all Apple Watches, but we would not be surprised to see a focus on better gym exercise tracking become one of the major features in the Series 6 release.
New Health Features
Blood pressure and blood sugar measurements
In early 2019, reports emerged that Apple had hired clinicians and engineers to explore adding features like blood pressure and blood glucose measurements to the watch. A report by The Fast Company
mentioned that these stats will be useful for people who need to manage their diabetes, as well as will come in handy for more precise sleep tracking. These features never materialized on the Apple Watch S5, so it is possible that they might make their debut on the Series 6.
Will the Series 6 come with a new design?
The rectangular shape will stay, but new elements including flat edges cannot be ruled out
The Apple Watch physical form has basically not changed at all since the launch of the very first one in April of 2015 and there are no rumors saying that the Series 6 will be an exception.
We expect it to retain the rectangular form factor that has proven to be popular with users, but it is possible that elements of design change. Apple's new 2020 iPhones are rumored to get a new design with sharper corner and flat edges, and we would not be surprised to see the Apple Watch borrow some cues from that new design aesthetic.
When will the Series 6 be released?
Set your calendars for late September, 2020
Ever since 2016, Apple has released a new watch at its fall iPhone event that usually happens on the second Tuesday of September.
In 2020, possible dates for this event are September 8th or September 15th, with the actual release date for devices set for the next Friday after the event. So chances are that you will be able to find the Apple Watch Series 6 in stores on either Friday, September 18th, or the next one, on September 25th.
What about prices?
No surprises on this front
The Apple Watch Series 6 shapes up to be a gradual upgrade and not a revolutionary one, so we don't see a reason for a spike in prices.
We expect the Series 6 to replace the Series 5 model, and prices of the new one will remain the same:
- Apple Watch Series 6 40mm Wi-Fi: $400 for aluminum sports model
- Apple Watch Series 6 44mm Wi-Fi: $430 for aluminum sports model
- Apple Watch Series 6 40mm Wi-Fi + Cellular: $500 for aluminum sports model
- Apple Watch Series 6 44mm Wi-Fi + Cellular: $530 for aluminum sports model