If there is an accurate definition of what defines an Apple product , it is undoubtedly the Apple Watch. A product whose technology came when all the competition had their own proposals in the market, launched a year after the rest of the brands flooded their windows with their models – you just have to remember what the Mobile World Congress was in 2015. In the Successive years that wave of “innovations” has gradually died out.
The Apple Watch Series 6 adds the experience of previous years to reach a generation that is mature than ever
Quite the opposite of the Apple watch, whose objectives have matured generation after generation: the company has managed to adjust that delicate balance that a brand that only pays attention to technology cannot achieve, aesthetics and design as a wearable product and its utility as a device. In the latest versions, Apple builds us the idea of a product oriented from aesthetics towards sports and health.
Rightly, in the keynote Tim Cook showed us success stories in which the watch has improved or even saved the lives of several people by preventing them from health problems before they knew them or helping to contact their doctor or with emergencies in cases of danger. Although most of us do not look to it for a device that saves our lives – hopefully it is never necessary – it never hurts to remember that what we now wear on our wrist could one day do it . Without counting this extreme, let’s see why at least the Apple Watch does improve our day to day , powered by this Series 6 version.
Apple Watch Series 6, obviously indiscreet
One of the drawbacks that the Apple Watch always ran into was the eternal comparison with high-end watches, which are practically jewels. Apple had to struggle with something of a disadvantage because it does not offer different case models with which to differentiate itself, as do the own brands of the watch industry. Nor with the pretense of becoming something like that, the game that the strap changes give and its licensing to third brands to obtain literally thousands of them is today one of the strengths of the Watch.
Apple dares with the Series 6 to use two new colors that are not discreet, but that continue to maintain the image of the product
It was pending, yes, that Apple was more daring with the materials it offers to its customers. Silver, gold, space gray, some white ceramic model nowadays discontinued, but nothing groundbreaking outside of the traditional. The Series 6 changes that course and presents us with two new case colors : one in red – which continues to support the (PRODUCT) RED campaign against AIDS – and another in blue aluminum. The first is the most striking without any doubt and completely differential in appearance, wanting to attract attention, obviously.
The blue aluminum is understated but elegant with that touch that brings a midnight color and that of course is much more easily combinable – combinable well, it is understood – the red. The model given for analysis is the latter and in person it is sober and discreet, sometimes and in low light, perhaps even a little too dark that will make us think that we are facing a space gray. On a day-to-day basis, the color change is visibly perceived and integrates perfectly with the screen and the sensors of the watch that we are used to. Personally, this blue is my favorite color of this generation.
The case is practically the same – on the outside – as the one we had in the Series 5. Same dimensions and weight, absolute lightness on the wrist and a certain comfort for, for example, wearing the watch at home or sleeping as a sleep meter – something that personally I had always found it uncomfortable in other “traditional” watches. The new materials to the touch are identical to those we already know from other years and which certainly follow the same high level of quality in manufacturing.
More changes, beyond color
Inside, the changes are more than remarkable. iFixit has disassembled a Series 6 to discover that Apple has managed to simplify the components thanks to the elimination of the Force Touch – the system that simulated pressure at different levels of the screen to access secondary menus of the same. This has changed some actions that we used to do by pressing hard on the screen – such as “delete all notifications” that are now presented as an option at the beginning of the screen. In other cases, such as the customization of spheres, it continues to “simulate” a forceful pressure on the screen that practically works in the same way as we had been doing with the Force Touch.
In my opinion, the elimination of Force Touch misleads us in some actions that we are used to and about which I think Apple could have simulated a Force Touch very similar to the one we had with this new hardware – as happens in the selection of spheres – simply updating the operating system. This is likely to happen on watchOS 8. In the meantime, there are ways of doing it all that we’ll have to get used to for now.
This small toll achieves a new almost extreme miniaturization in the components inside that includes a new way to disassemble the watch ( on the side ) and that allows us more important improvements in the day to day, such as a battery and a larger Taptic Engine . The first obviously lengthens the load on the product and the second significantly improves notifications and the vibration it transmits. On a daily basis, vibrations become more precise and less “artificial”, being able to show more nuances without being radically different from those we know.
Internal redesign improves interaction with the Taptic Engine and battery efficiency
Now one type of notification is more perceptible to another, not only because of the duration or the movement itself, but also because of its hardness. A small change that makes it more comfortable, especially for people who find unexpected notifications on their wrists causing some discomfort. The interior redesign reveals experience and tremendous construction technique and improves with an exceptional level of miniaturization – the iFixit editors themselves are amazed at the level of engineering of this model.
The screen also undergoes an important change and that is that it is twice as bright as in the Series 5 , in idle state. That is, being turned on it is identical to the previous generation but if we consult it at rest we will notice a more defined screen and with more light. In addition to that, it is interactive, that is, we can move through the control center or touch the complications of the sphere while in idle mode. Very useful to check the watch without turning your wrist, especially when we are outdoors. In my tests, I have found it particularly comfortable training on an elliptical, keeping my hands on the machine at all times, or running outdoors.
S6 chip, AI reaches our wrist
In terms of improved performance, the new heart of this Series 6 is the new S6 “system on chip” , approximately 20% faster than the Series 5. However, there is much more to note about this new processor: To begin with, it is based on the A13 Bionic chip in the iPhone 11 whose focus of action is the improvement of performance and the containment of energy. For the first point, the applications are practically instantaneous when opened, with which we will notice the change from the first use.
The interface is completely reactive to any touch ( also discriminating accidental ones ) and the new context animations in watchOS 7 help improve the user experience – the way in which the controls are drawn on the screen, the zoom in or zoom out of the selector, the transitions … Day-to-day use is instantaneous throughout the product, as we expect in a device that we wear on our wrist and with which we want to interact as quickly as possible.
The new S6 chip is based on the A13 Bionic of the iPhone 11: Apple Silicon technology also improves on our wrist
This new S6 chip brings other improvements in this generation, such as the connection to the increasingly common 5Ghz wireless networks to avoid the very congested and traditional 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi that many Bluetooth devices also use. We also have something that we will talk a lot about in the future from Apple: the U1 chip, which uses ultra-broadband connectivity with a protocol similar to NFC but much more precise for spatial location, especially indoors . This protocol is used in the latest car models to activate electronic keys, for its safety and practicality. That is, if we have a compatible car ( the latest BMW 5 Series are), simply by wearing the unlocked watch on our wrist and opening the door with our hand, the car will be activated.
The U1 allows directional location of the product that includes it . We have seen this in the iPhone 11 that allow us to discover via AirDrop other iPhone 11 with the same chip by “pointing” them against them ( and the ones in front of us are marking us ). In the Watch, Apple has not yet exploited this possibility, for example to locate a lost Series 6 from an iPhone with the Search application and find it with this precision even within rooms, but it is very possible that as the U1 chip is integrated with more devices comes something like this in the new operating systems.
A more comfortable battery
The larger size of the battery is joined by the energy efficiency improvement that Apple brings us with the S6 chip . Basically the system learns from our usage habits to know when to activate or deactivate a sensor or put certain features on pause. The best way to test it by using the clock for 24 hours straight, without disabling any notification or feature (hand washing, etc …) or using any energy saving mode.
- At 8:00 I start the day with the clock with the battery fully charged.
- Workouts: running outdoors with GPS activated (in standalone mode, without wearing an iPhone) and 15 minutes of elliptical machine, both managed by the Training app.
- Background activated blood oxygen sampling. Three tests with the app during the day taken manually.
- Calls, notifications, use of various apps during the day such as Apple Maps, Apple Music, Shortcuts, Siri …
- At 22:17 ( 12 hours since the last charge ), the battery reaches 50%. I continue to work sitting at the computer until 00:00 with the clock on.
- At 00:00, the battery reaches 45% . I activate the sleep mode and leave it overnight to monitor the level of rest ( the sleep mode can only be activated when the watch has more than 30% battery. If not, it will ask us to charge it until we arrive minimum to that value to wear it at night and prevent it from being disconnected ).
- The clock wakes me up at 8:00, the sleep mode turns off. The battery of the watch is now at 33%, after having worn it 24 hours without interruption , doing sports with it, using apps and without any limitation in notifications or energy saving.
As you can see, the clock has been half discharged until what we could consider a daily “shift” of 12 hours , from 8:00 in the morning until 22:00 at night when we are already at home and we can take it off. With this measurement, we could perfectly use it for two days in a row with 12-hour shifts, without charging – although in my opinion the important thing that we can extend this day , continue to wear the watch throughout the night using sleep monitoring and 24 hours later we continue to have more than 30% battery and charge it before leaving home in an hour ( while showering, dressing or having breakfast ).
Fast charging allows you to wear the watch all day and all night and almost fully charges it in 60 minutes
This new “fast charge” that is only available in the Series 6 at the moment and allows to pass, according to my tests, from 10% to 84% charging it only for 60 minutes . The comfort and above all tranquility that this provides is important not only when we want to use the watch at night, also if one day we forget to charge it and we have an emergency. As you know, the charger is not included in the box of this generation – for the charging tests I have used the typical 5W iPhone charger, although it has also worked in the same way, even connecting it to a USB connection of a TV turned on or in different computers.
Extremely concentrated technology
We must consider the Apple Watch Series 6 as one of the important works of the Apple engineering team. Although in design it is similar to the Series 5, inside the architecture has changed and now we have a new barometric altimeter that will tell us the elevation in real time without impact on the battery – perfect for training but also to measure the conditions that we surround as another parameter to accompany our health data on the device.
The oxygen sensor works amazingly simply by wearing the watch and resting the arm: in 15 seconds we will have the value of oxygen in the blood in a comfortable way, which also works in the background taking samples at random. If the watch detects any significant variation, it will alert us to a possible problem (it is one of the symptoms found in COVID-19 patients, although the company does not explicitly mention it ).
The combination of everything it offers, together with the new Solo Loop straps that refresh the customization of the models that we can choose, make it not only the best smartwatch we can buy right now – also an important health monitor in no time. where this data is more important than ever.
Devices like the AirPods Pro or the Apple Watch are not just a different connection to our digital world – these wearable devices also offer us the closest information we need: our workouts, our health and advice to take advantage of all that data – always counting on the maximum privacy that the company puts forward. Consulting them, taking care of ourselves and taking advantage of this information to improve our day to day is undoubtedly the objective of this Series 6, with which Apple shows the improvements it is able to achieve using the experience of the last five years.