Tech

New iPad Air features iPhone 12 chip, new Apple Watch, and more tech news today

Your tech news digest, by way of the DGiT Daily tech newsletter, for Wednesday, 16 September 2020. Next up in big events: Son’y PlayStation 5 event today.

1. New from Apple

Apple upped its Watch and iPad offerings with its September event yesterday, and announced it will release iOS 14, iPadOS 14, watchOS 7 and tvOS 14 on September 16th. Today.

  • That lack of warning was a surprise. And, made app developers pissed — don’t expect your apps to have iOS 14 functionality straight away unless it’s a major one.

Anyway, here’s the hardware and subscriptions Apple announced yesterday and what it all means.

Apple Watch Series 6

Apple Watch Series 6

  • The new Apple Watch Series 6 is powered by a new S6 chip, which Apple says is a dual-core processor based on the A13 Bionic in the iPhone 11.
  • New to this model is an SpO2 sensor, to measure your blood oxygen saturation, which Apple says will take about 15 seconds. Also new is an altimeter, and it has a new U1 Ultra Wideband chip, which is now in iPhones. (It’s expected to be used with Apple’s AirTags tracking which we didn’t hear about.)
  • The always-on display is now 2.5 times brighter, and there’s now support for 5GHz WiFi networks (not 5G, in case you’re skimming this).
  • It starts at $399 for the GPS version, pre-orders open Friday.
  • It won’t come with a USB power adapter in the box, with some environmental justification provided by Apple. Expect the same for your next iPhone box, too!

There’s also a lower-cost Apple Watch SE:

  • This is a new, more affordable version of the Watch.
  • What’s missing is that it has last year’s S5 chip, meaning no 5GHz WiFi or the blood-oxygen sensor, and no ECG either (a Series 4 feature from 2018). Also missing the always-on.
  • It is the same size as Series 6 though.
  • It starts at a $279 price tag, those are the type of omissions you would expect when it comes to the more affordable version of a new device.
  • So, $120 difference to the latest device. Oddly, Apple is still selling the Series 3 for $199.
  • Won’t come with a charger in the box, either.

Here’s how to pick between the Apple Watch Series 6, SE, and older models (The Verge).

New iPad Air 2020

New iPad Air is much better, and almost as good as the iPad Pro for now:

  • The iPad Air is hot again, with a refresh across the board.
  • It’s now a 10.9-inch display, has less bezel than before, and looks like an iPad Pro, with a 2,360 by 1,640 resolution.
  • The fuller screen is created by moving the Touch ID fingerprint sensor and button to the side, next to the top power button, a first for Apple.
  • It’s the first device on Apple’s very latest A14 chipset, a 5nm process A14 Bionic, ahead of the iPhone 12 later this year.
  • Apple says it’s faster than ever, with six-core CPU, four-core GPU architecture for the first time, and 16-core neural engine, with 11.8 billion transistors in use.
  • It also uses a USB-C port, not Lightning, and it’s added Magic Keyboard support. (“A heartfelt eulogy for the decrepit Apple Lightning connector”, WIRED)
  • There’s five colors now, including sky blue and green, and availability is from next month.
  • It starts at $599 but sadly that’s for a 64GB storage version and should be ignored: you’ll want the 256GB for $699. Add in the cellular option and you’re up to $829, so keep that all in mind.
  • This is the one most people are talking about. It really provides pause as to why you need to buy an iPad Pro, which does have a nicer 120Hz screen, Lidar sensor, and Face ID, but now less power. (For now. The iPad Pro range should be updated with fresh silicon within weeks.)

iPad (8th generation)

  • A short stop here: the entry-level iPad is better. It now has a new processor with an A12 Bionic on board, from 2018’s iPhone. It still has the slightly outdated look but hey, it’s entry-level.
  • No change in price is part of the best news: the $329 starting point remains but only for 32GB storage, which will limit apps, what you can download for watching later, and more.
  • Seriously, get the 128GB model for $409, I’d suggest, unless you just browse stuff.

Fitness+

  • This is an interesting one. Apple Watch owners have enjoyed the closing the rings fitness tracking, and now Fitness Plus takes it further.
  • It’s a new premium subscription service that integrates with iPhones, iPads, Apple TV, and Apple Watch, and there’s 10 different workout types now, with more being added. It’ll run you $10 a month.
  • The idea is as you start a session, you’ll get metrics like heart rate and calories burned, and there’s classes and instructional videos.
  • It’s coming late 2020 and seems to be moving in on the likes of Peloton’s space. Whether or not this drives more awareness of Peleton, and if the new Apple service is any good and how well it works are open for debate and questioning.
  • Crucially, the sessions aren’t live.

New Apple One subscription bundle screenshot of announcement

Apple One subscription bundle

  • As was rumored, Apple One brings together a bunch of Apple services in a single subscription.
  • $14.95 per month: Apple Arcade, Apple Music, Apple TV+ and 50GB of iCloud storage.
  • $19.95 p/m: Families (up to six) can access the same services and 200GB of iCloud storage.
  • $29.95 p/m: Premier tier for all the above, plus access to Apple News+, Fitness+ and 2TB of iCloud storage.
  • Rivals aren’t happy. Spotify complained that “Apple is using its dominant position and unfair practices to disadvantage competitors.” (Apple Insider)
  • Apple, believe it or not, said it’s not unfair (The Verge).

2. Ad-supported mobile plans could be coming to AT&T in 2021 (Android Authority).


3. Speed Test G: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: Which ultra-premium device comes out on top? (Android Authority).


4. Sony has rejected the Bloomberg report about lower PS5 production (Android Authority). Sony’s PS5 event at 1pm PT / 4pm ET will be on YouTube and Twitch, btw.


5. Sony WH-1000XM4 vs Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700: Battle for the throne (Android Authority).


6. Android TV will very likely be branded as Google TV on the new Chromecast (XDA).


7. iOS 14 will have a new pickup truck emoji designed by Ford. But it has a problem… (Jalopnik).


8. Waze gets better: lane guidance, trip suggestions, traffic alerts, and more (VentureBeat).


9. What a saga — only in Australia?: “When you browse Instagram and find former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s passport number” (mango.pdf.zone).


10. The Mandalorian season 2 trailer now out, shows the search for Baby Yoda’s home (Android Authority).


11. Why birds survived, and dinosaurs went extinct, after an asteroid hit earth (Smithsonian Mag).


12. The father of Bill Gates, Bill Gates Sr, has died, aged 94 (Gates Notes).


13. European Space Agency awards $153 million contract for its first planetary defense mission (TechCrunch).


14. “Why does the Moon’s gravity cause tides on earth but the Sun’s gravity doesn’t?” (r/askscience).


The DGiT Daily delivers a daily email that keeps you ahead of the curve for all tech news, opinions, and links to what’s going down in the planet’s most important field. You get all the context and insight you need, and all with a touch of fun. Plus! Rotating daily fun for each day of the week, like Wednesday Weirdness. Join in!


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