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Apple Event Highlights: New iPad Air at $599; Apple Watch Series 6 comes to India at Rs 40,900 onwards

New Delhi: Apple swapped its annual larger-than-life event with a virtual one this year by introducing a new lineup from Apple Park in Cupertino. 

CEO Tim Cook opened the event by talking about the "tough times" we are living in, and continued to focus on the "important role" that the tech company's products have played.

Cook revealed that the event would focus on two products, the Apple Watch, and the iPad.

Apple Watch Series 6

Jeff Williams, COO, took the Cook stage to talk about the Apple Watch Series 6, which he described as "the company's most colorful lineup ever." It will be available in new blue aluminum, new graphite, and a new Product Red.

Inside, the 6 Series is packed with new capabilities. You can measure oxygen in the blood directly with the watch, in just 15 seconds.

The Apple Watch's ability to monitor blood oxygen seeks to outperform a similar feature already available on the watches of rival Fitbit Inc, which Alphabet Inc's Google is buying for $2.1 billion. Apple said its watch will be able to take absolute blood oxygen measurements on-demand while the user is still, while Fitbit devices currently show variations in blood oxygen levels or a range of measurements taken while the user is asleep.

Apple Watch already has many features like ECG, heart rate monitor, and activity tracker. With the new Oxygen in Blood feature, the company has partnered with various health organizations to determine how blood oxygen and heart rate can help you maintain your health.

The Series 6 watch will change altitude in real-time when you travel and monitor the oxygen level in your blood. Memoji also comes with Watch Series 6. They move every time you move.

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The Series 6 watch can also detect when users wash their hands. "A handwashing researcher recognizes movement and sound when washing his hands and encourages him to wait the recommended 20 seconds," said Apple CEO Tim Cook during a presentation broadcast from the company's spaceship campus of the company in Silicon Valley. 

Apple also showed for the first time a way to use the Apple Watch without one-to-one pairing with an iPhone, and introduces what it calls "Family Setup." 

The California-based company has introduced a new band called a solo loop. Made of silicone, it comes without any clasp or buckle and stretches to fit on the wrist.  It will be available in seven colors. There is also a braided version of silicone thread yarn. 

There are also two Hermés bands for the luxe factor.

Apple Watch Series 6 will cost customers Rs 40,900 for the GPS model and Rs 49,900 for the GPS + Cellular model. 

There is also a lower-cost watch, dubbed the Apple Watch SE, which the company has described as the perfect watch for new customers. 

Apple Watch SE (GPS) starts at Rs 29,900 and Apple Watch SE (GPS + Cellular) starts at Rs 33,900. It will soon be available through authorized Apple resellers.

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The Apple Watch Series 3 will continue to sell at $199.

Both times are available to order today, with availability begins on Friday.

With an eye on the environment, Apple has said it has reduced its carbon footprint by 35 percent and aims to be 100 percent carbon neutral by 2030.

Apple one

When the pandemic forced people to stay home, Apple introduced a virtual fitness service called Fitness Plus. 

The subscription service will share metrics with users in real-time and has new training classes every week. This will include dance, yoga, cycling, high-intensity exercise, strength, and core. 

Users will get a video catalog on the iPad, iPhone, or Apple TV. 

Apple will use an algorithm to provide users with smart suggestions for their workouts. The service is priced at $ 9.99 per month, $ 79.99 per year, but it will only be available in select countries, not India to begin with.

Apple One, which houses the company's multiple subscription services, is here too. It will cover Apple Music, Apple TV +, Apple Arcade, News +, Fitness +, and iCloud. The subscription will cost Rs 195 per person and Rs 365 per month for a family. The Apple One single plan offers savings of over Rs 177 per month, while the Family plan offers savings of over Rs 200 per month. 

"With Apple One, you can access the best of Apple entertainment on all of your favorite devices with one simple subscription," said Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet software and services. 

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Spotify Technology, Apple's biggest music streaming competitor, criticized the package, saying Apple was misusing its market position in favor of Apple Music. 

In a statement responding to criticism from Spotify, Apple said the package is aimed at existing users of its services and that "customers can discover and enjoy alternatives to all Apple services." 

iPad 8th Gen

Tim Cook introduced the new iPad, beginning by saying that more than 500 million iPads had been sold in the device's 10 years. 

iPad 8th Gen, with iPadOS 14, works with keyboards and Apple Pencil and is priced at $ 329. The educational version is $ 299. Orders are open today in the US and availability begins Friday.

There's also the "completely redesigned" iPad Air. Featuring a 10.9-inch liquid mesh screen, it is fully encapsulated and has an anti-reflective coating. Apple has integrated a fingerprint sensor in the power button at the top. 

The new iPad Air comes with the A14 Bionic chip. A great novelty is its USB-C port.

It has a 7-megapixel front camera and a 12-megapixel rear camera. It also supports 4K video with improved stabilization. Pricing starts at $ 599 and will be available starting next month. 

While fans will have to wait for the new iPhone, iOS 14 will launch on Wednesday. Apple will also launch WatchOS 7 and TVOS 14 on Wednesday. 

When to expect the new iPhone?

The Silicon Valley titan made no mention of a keenly anticipated iPhone 5G considered vital to the company's fortunes.

An update to Apple's biggest seller, the iPhone, is expected to be announced next month after executives said its launch would be delayed for several weeks due to pandemic-related outages.

Also Read: YouTube launches its TikTok rival, YouTube Shorts, initially in India

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