(Pocket-lint) - Apple announced the Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE at an event on 15 September, both of which will be available alongside the older Watch Series 3.

Here's everything you need to know about the two new smartwatches, including what they offer, how much they are and when they will be available. 

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Release date and price

  • Pre-order 15 September
  • Available 18 September
  • Watch SE from $279/£269
  • Watch Series 6 from $399/£379

Apple announced the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Watch SE during its Special Event on 15 September. Both smartwatches are available to pre-order now and they will both be available from 18 September 2020. 

The Apple Watch Series 6 will start at $399 in the US and £379 in the UK. The Apple Watch SE will start at $279 in the US and £269 in the UK.

The Apple Watch Series 3 will still be available and cost $199 in the US and £199 in the UK.

Design and display

  • Watch Series 6: 40mm/44mm, Always On display, Multiple finishes
  • Watch SE: 40mm/44mm, Retina display, aluminium finishes

Both the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE follow the same design as the Apple Watch Series 5. There are a range of new colours and a number of new straps, including a Solo Loop and Braided Solo Loop strap that have no buckles or pins.

The Watch Series 6 comes in a number of finish options, like the Series 5, including aluminium, stainless steel and titanium. There are also Nike and Hermes models. The Watch SE comes in aluminium only and in three finishes.

Both the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE offer the larger display within the same footprint - introduced on the Apple Watch Series 4 - but only the Watch Series 6 has an Always On Retina Display like the Watch Series 5. The Watch Series 6 display is also said to be 2.5x brighter than the Series 5. The Watch SE has the same Retina display as the Series 4.

The Watch Series 6 and Watch SE are both available in 40mm and 44mm size options, like the Series 5. They are also both water resistant up to 50-metres. 

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Hardware

  • Watch Series 6: S6 processor, U1 chip, faster charging
  • Watch SE: S5 processor

The Apple Watch Series 6 runs on a new dual-core processor - the S6 - which is said to be 20 per cent faster than the Watch Series 5. 

The Apple Watch SE meanwhile, runs on the S5 chip, like the Series 5. It is claimed to be 2x faster than the Series 3 but it won't be as fast as the Series 6.

Both offer optical heart rate sensors, accelerometers, always-on altimeters, microphones and speakers. The Watch Series 6 also comes with the U1 chip and Ultra Wideband antennas to enable short-range wireless locations for features like next-generation digital car keys.

The Watch Series 6 also has faster charging, said to complete a full charge in 1.5 hours. It's battery life is said to be 18 hours. The battery life of the Watch SE hasn't been stated as yet.

Features

  • Watch Series 6: Adds SpO2 monitoring, real-time elevation to Series 5 features
  • Watch SE: Adds fall detection, internation emergency calling, noise app and real-time elevation to Series 3 features

The Apple Watch Series 6 comes with all the same features as the Apple Watch Series 5, including the ability to take an ECG, fall detection and International Emergency Calling, along with high and low heart rate notifications and irregular heart rhythm notifications.

The Series 6 smartwatch adds blood oxygen monitoring though - also known as SpO2 monitoring - as well as real-time elevation tracking with the always-on altimeter.

The Apple Watch SE features all the same features as the Watch Series 3, along with fall detection, real-time elevation tracking, international emergency calling and the Noise app. It doesn't offer the ECG app or the blood oxygen monitoring app, but it does have the real-time elevation tracking like the Series 6.

Software

  • WatchOS 7

Both the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE will launch on the latest WatchOS 7 software build that will be available to all Apple Watch models from the Series 3 and later. The software will be available to download from 16 September.

You can read all about watchOS 7 in our separate feature but here is a breakdown of the top new features it will bring with it.

  • More customisable watch faces
  • Shareable watch faces
  • Cycling turn-by-turn directions in Maps
  • Activity app rebranded to Fitness app
  • Ability to track Dance as a workout, as well as cool down and functional strength
  • Sleep tracking 
  • Silent alarms
  • Wind down mode to get you ready for bed
  • Siri enhancements, including translation
  • Hand-washing tracking with 20-second countdown timer
  • More hearing protection features
  • Family Setup

Apple Watch Series 6 rumours: What happened?

Here are all the rumours and news so far, surrounding the Apple Watch Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE prior to their official reveal.

15 September 2020: Apple Watch SE seems certain to launch alongside the Watch 6, iPad Air and new entry-level iPad

Leaks on Twitter, backed up by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman suggest there will be an Apple Watch SE launched at the event taking place today - 15 September 2020.

14 September 2020: Apple Watch Series 6 could come in new colour

Leaker @L0vetodream tweeted "new color for Apple Watch", suggesting the Series 6 may appear in a new colour. No further information was offered though so it's unclear what colour it might be and in which material.

8 September 2020: Apple announces September event

Apple has announced it will hold an event on 15 September 2020 at 10AM PDT. The Apple Watch Series 6 is expected but not confirmed.

7 September 2020: Apple iPhone 12 launch could be announced this week, new iPad Air and Watch 6 too

Bloomberg's Mark Gurman suggested it's likely we will find out the date of the iPhone/Watch Series 6 virtual launch event the week of 7 September. 

Another tweet by Jon Prosser also suggested a press release has been scheduled for 8 September from Apple. It's possible Apple could reveal Watch Series 6 and a new iPad Air, leaving the event for the iPhone.

26 August 2020: Apple Watch Series 6 and new iPads hit EEC database, could launch soon

A number of model numbers for what is said to be the Apple Watch Series 6 have appeared on the Eurasian Economic Commission's database, suggesting their imminent release.

1 August 2020: Apple Watch Series 6 batteries spotted on certification websites

MySmartPrice reported that a number of Apple batteries were spotted on several certification websites, including UL Demco with the model number A2327.

The site suggests this model number could be included in one variant of the Apple Watch Series 6, featuring a capacity of 303.8mAh, which would be larger than the Watch Series 5.

31 July 2020: Apple Watch Series 6 could feature blood oxygen sensor

Chinese outlet Digitimes reported that its sources have claimed the Apple Watch Series 6 will come with a blood oxygen sensor on board.

31 July 2020: Apple admits the next iPhone won't launch this September

Apple confirmed in its third-quarter earnings call that it would launch the next Phone series a bit later this year.

Apple CFO Luca Maestri said: "Last year we started selling new iPhones in late September; this year we expect supply to be available a few weeks later."

22 June 2020: Apple previews watch OS 7 at WWDC

Apple revealed several of the details that would be appearing as part of the watch OS 7 software update that will arrive e later this year, including sleep tracking.

30 April 2020: Apple Watch Series 6 feature leak suggest blood oxygen monitoring

A tweet has appeared from YouTuber @NikiasMolina claiming to reveal some of the features coming to the Apple Watch Series 6. The tweet suggests we will see a blood oxygen sensor, along with sleep tracking and a longer battery life. 

It also suggests the S6 chip and the ability to detect mental health abnormalities, which we are very skeptical about. 

16 April 2020: Could a future Apple watch detect if you've fallen into a river?

As we've seen from the introduction of heart monitoring features, Apple is keen to make Apple Watch into a device that promotes life.

According to an Apple patent, a future device could detect the type of water its in and therefore assess if you've fallen into a river or the sea and then assess your situation. For example, if your watch's GPS assesses you're in deep water it could be set to alert authorities. 

30 March 2020: Blood oxygen level monitor and sleep tracking

Blood oxygen monitoring would require new hardware, but it's possible this could be coming in the Series 6.  Sleep tracking brings in a little problem though because most people charge their Apple Watch overnight. 

We think the feature would have to coincide with enhanced battery life for the watch since the opportunities to charge it would be fewer.

9 March 2020: Apple watch OS 7 features leak

Leaked iOS 14 code revealed some watchOS 7 features that will, of course, come to the Apple Watch 6. There will be a sleep goal in the Apple Health app on an iPhone and a Sleep app for the Watch.

There will also be a new watchface called Infograph Pro with a tachymeter feature plus there will also be a Photos watch face, too. Parents may also be able to manage kids' Apple Watches as well and there was also hints of a blood oxygen detection feature, spotted by 9to5Mac.

6 February 2020: Digital Crown to get new features

One of the most distinctive things about the Apple Watch is the Digital Crown. Now it could be getting some new features to make it touch or light-sensitive. Certainly Apple would intend for the crown to become more sensitive through these methods, not less. Again, these have been spotted thanks to a patent release.

"The crown may include a light-directing feature configured to direct, onto the image-sensing element, an image of an object in contact with the imaging surface" says the filing. The crown could potentially detect the motion of your finger as you rotate or touch the crown. 

Apple Insider suggests this could mean that the Digital Crown has less physical bulk, therefore, making room within the watch for other components.

30 January 2020: Digital Crown set to be replaced with an optical reader? 

A patent spotted by Patently Apple shows the Apple Watch Digital Crown being replaced by an optical fingerprint reader instead which could then recognise gestures, such as if you were to rotate the virtual crown. 

At present we think it's unlikely that Apple would remove the Digital Crown because it's one of the most distinctive features of the timepiece. But this could happen in a future version of the Apple Watch rather than being for this year, of course. 

11 November 2019: Could Touch ID make its way to the Apple Watch?

Apple filed a patent that turns the Apple Watch screen into a Touch ID sensor. The patent notes that "the display may provide an image or video output for the watch body 100. The display may also provide an input surface for one or more input devices such as a touch sensing device, force-sensing device, temperature sensing device, and/or a fingerprint sensor."

While we're seeing a lot of phones with under-display fingerprint readers now, this move would require quite a step-up in technology because of the diminutive size of the watch.

7 October 2019: Apple's new Sleep app with sleep tracking for Apple Watch users spotted in leak

Twitter user Daniel Marcinkowski spotted the yet-to-be-released Sleep app for the Apple Watch mentioned in an App Store listing. The reference popped up for Apple's pre-installed Alarms app on the Apple Watch.

Marcinkowski shared a screenshot showing an unreleased version of the Alarms app labeled with "Sleep" and a recommendation to "Set your Bedtime and wake up in the Sleep app". It's not clear if this feature might appear before the Series 6, but we'd be surprised if it didn't come to the 2020 model.

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5 August 2019: Apple Watch could use in-display fingerprint sensor

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has claimed Apple will introduce an ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor into the 2021 iPhone, but he also said the technology could be used in a new Apple Watch too.

Currently, the Apple Watch has no biometric security but an in-display fingerprint sensor would allow it to offer some, without changing the design.

26 February 2019: Apple testing sleep tracking for Watch

Bloomberg reported that Apple was testing sleep tracking technology for its Apple Watch. Though some thought it would arrive on the Series 5, Bloomberg always said it wasn't expected to arrive until 2020 on the Series 6.

16 January 2019: Three big health features rumoured

The Fast Company reported that Apple has hired numerous clinicians and engineers to work on health features for the Apple Watch, which are said to include blood pressure, blood glucose or diabetes management and sleep tracking or science. Given these didn't appear on the Series 5, perhaps they are destined for the Series 6?

8 May 2018: Patent for round Apple Watch approved

A patent for circular screen technology was approved, after being originally filed in January 2016. The filing mentioned wrist wear, leading some to assume a circular Apple Watch was coming.

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Writing by Britta O'Boyle.