Apple has launched two new Apple Watches. The new Apple Watch Series 6 and an Apple Watch SE. The company says the new line up will allow it to reach more people than ever - in fact Apple clearly has your family in its sights with a new Family Set Up feature that will make it easy to manage various Watches in your household. We discuss the Apple Watch SE in a separate article, here we will be discussing the new features coming to Apple Watch Series 6, which include a new blood oxygen sensor and new blue and red colour options.

For rumours about the next generation, browse our roundup of the latest Apple Watch Series 7 news.

Release date

Apple says that the new Apple Watch 5 will be available to order today (15 September) and will ship on Friday 18 September.

Read our Apple Watch SE vs Apple Watch 6 comparison.

Price

The new Watch 6 will starts at £379/$399 with various additional options increasing the price. The entry-level cellular versioon starts at £479/$499.

Pre order the Apple Watch Series 6 from Apple here. We're also looking at full pre-order availability and prices here.

There is also a cheaper Apple Watch SE from £269/$279, and the Apple Watch Series 3 will remain on sale from £199/$199.

Pre order the Apple Watch SE from Apple here

Design

The design of the Apple Watch 6 is the same as the previous generation, but there are new colour options including blue, gold stainless steel, graphite, and a Product Red version. Apple describes graphite as "a rich gray-black hue with a striking high-shine finish". There is also an updated yellow option.

To compliment your Watch there are a selection of new Apple Watch bands, including a new stretchable solo loop band that is made from silicon and doesn’t have a buckle or a clasp. There are seven different colours available. There is also a braided Solo Loop made from 100 recycled polyester yarn with five different colour options. And there is a new leather link strap that attaches with magnets. There are nine available lengths for the new straps so hopefully you will find one that fits.

Apple Watch 6 red and blue

Specs

The Apple Watch Series 6 will use a 6th generation Apple S6 chip that is based on A13 Bionic chip.

Apple says that the S6 SiP is 20% faster than Apple Watch Series 5, which should mean apps launch faster. The Watch will offer the same 18-hour battery life as it's predecessor.

The new Watch 6 also includes the U1 chip and Ultra Wideband antennas.

Apple also claims that the Retina display on the Apple Watch Series 6 is around 2.5 times brighter than that of the Apple Watch Series 5 when used outside.

Features

The big news is the new blood oxygen sensor in the Apple Watch 6, which according to Apple may be able to help in the battle against COVID-19 as well as other challenges such as asthma and heart failure. Apple described some of the research projects that it is involved with for which the new blood oxygen sensor will be used.

The blood oxygen monitor works by using green, red, and infrared LEDs, as well as  four photodiodes. Red and infrared light is shon on to your wrist to measure light reflected back from blood. Apple says it is able to compensate for natural variations in the skin colour. Then algorithms are used to determine the colour of your blood and work out how much oxygen is in your blood. The process takes 15 seconds. Apple says its Blood Oxygen app will measure blood oxygen between 70 percent and 100 percent.

Apple Watch blood oxygen

This is known as a VO2 measurement. The oxygen levels in your blood can be used as a measurement of health based on the maximum rate of oxygen consumption during incremental exercise. But more importantly it can warn of health conditions because your oxygen levels are linked to information about your breathing and circulation and the health of your heart and lungs. Hence it could be a useful tool for asthmatics, it may help identify heart failure, and it may give warning if someone is in the early onset of Coronavirus.

For example, Apple is involved with a flu study that is seeking to learn how signals from apps on Apple Watch, such as Heart Rate and Blood Oxygen, could serve as early signs of respiratory conditions like influenza and COVID-19.

There is also a new always-on altimeter that will provide real-time elevation data.

Apple also announced a new Fitness subscription service for the Apple Watch. Fitness Plus will include virtual workouts, for a fee.

New watch faces

There are also new Watch faces coming that will complement the design of the Apple Watch Series 6 (and the Apple Watch SE).

For more on the Apple Watch range take a look at our Apple Watch buying guide and our selection of the best Apple Watch deals. If you're looking to get more out of the device you've got, you should head over to How to use the Apple Watch.

If you want to find out more about the Watch 6 read our Apple Watch 5 vs Apple Watch 6 comparison.