Apple Watch Series 6: What to expect

Ahead of its likely release this fall, there are plenty of rumors and a few clues about what’s expected to be called “Apple Watch Series 6” hidden in the latest WatchOS 7 beta.

Apple Watch Series 5 in space black titanium.
Apple Watch Series 5 in space black titanium.

Vanessa Hand Orellana for CNET:

Chances are, this year’s Apple Watch will look a lot like its predecessors: a squarish body with rounded edges and an OLED screen that curves at the sides.

The big health feature for the Series 6 this year could be SpO2 tracking, or the ability to monitor oxygen saturation in the blood.

According to 9to5Mac, iOS 14 code snippets suggest the next Apple Watch will be able to not only detect blood oxygen levels, but send an alert if it detects levels below what’s considered a “healthy” threshold, similar to what the watch already does with the high and low heart rate alerts. Blood oxygen levels are generally measured using a pulse oximeter on the tip of the finger, and to do this on the wrist, it’s very likely Apple would need to add new hardware to the Watch, making it a Series 6 exclusive.

This would be good timing, because some doctors are recommending pulse oximeter devices to monitor COVID-19 symptoms, and people have begun buying pulse oximeters during the coronavirus pandemic.

MacDailyNews Take: A long-desired Apple Watch feature is finally coming with watchOS 7: Sleep tracking. A new Sleep app from Apple leaked last fall. At the time, reports said Apple’s sleep-tracking feature would be able to monitor sleep quality via sensors within the Apple Watch that would log a user’s movement, heart rate, and noise data. The new Apple Watch Series 6 could make sleep tracking even better by improving battery life and tracking blood oxygen levels at night.

10 Comments

  1. This is all good, but I would still like accurate blood pressure readings through the day. I went to the hospital 3 years ago because of a warning from my Watch about heart rate, and now I’m on blood pressure medicine. I was told that if I didn’t get that warning, it’s very possible that in two or three more days I could have had a heart attack.

    1. The Apple Watch showed that I might have a-fib. I went to doctor’s to get a diagnosis. It was confirmed that I had a-fib and was put on blood thinners. I’m now looking into ablation to cure/further reduce the a-fib.

      Thank you Apple Watch!

    1. Apple won’t make the watch bigger, and they’re adding new hardware features (and new features like sleep tracking). So it’s unlikely they’ll do any more than work on reducing power drain to offset new features.

      Just as Apple aims iPad battery power at a constant over the years it looks like they hit what they think is the sweet spot for the Watch too. I wouldn’t expect any improved battery on the next model.

  2. Blood pressure and blood glucose monitoring are the two killer features the Apple Watch needs. These could be delivered through a smart band, it doesn’t have to be built into the watch. Perhaps such a band could house an extra battery as well.

      1. I love the omron BP cuff. Only issue is that bluetooth connect to the app will not work if cuff is close to apple watch on same arm. solution is remove cuff to record data to app then it works perfectly.

  3. I have no issues with the battery. I wear my old series 2 to bed all night and put my series 5 on at 0530hrs in the morning and go all day. I usually change it back to the series 2 around 2030hrs in the evening and I am still around 45 – 55% battery life. And that includes the exercise complication being used for outdoor walk (with the dog) for 2 to 3 miles and “other” for 30 minutes on my bowflex.

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