A quick guide to Apple's Event - full video below - and NZ pricing

• Apple Watch Series 6 (from $699) - starts at 10min 40sec
•Apple Watch SE (from $479) - starts at 24min 17sec
• Apple Fitness+ ($19.99/month)- starts at 31min 40 sec
• Apple One (from $23.95/month) - starts at 39min 29sec
• iPad, 8th gen $569) - starts at 41min 23sec
• iPad Air ($999) - starts at 49min 40sec

Apple this morning launched its Apple Watch Series 6 (from $699 in NZ), which adds more features to help the watch monitor its owner's health - including a sensor that can read blood oxygen levels.

The feature, specific to the Series 6, could be timely, given that Covid-19 frequently attacks the lungs.

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The company also introduced a cheaper version of its smartwatch, its latest attempt to broaden the appeal of its trend-setting products while many consumers are forced to scrimp during the coronavirus pandemic.

The scaled-down Apple Watch follows a budget iPhone the company released five months ago as the economy cratered and unemployment rates rose above the levels reached during the Great Recession more than a decade ago.

Apple also took the wraps off a new high-end watch model, a next-generation iPad and a couple of new subscription services during its virtual event.

The company normally also rolls out its new iPhones at this time of year, but production problems caused by the pandemic have delayed their release until at least October, when a 5G model is expected.

The new Apple Watch Series 6 features a blood oxygen sensor and app. Photo / Apple
The new Apple Watch Series 6 features a blood oxygen sensor and app. Photo / Apple

CEO Tim Cook didn't mention iPhones during Tuesday's one-hour presentation recorded at the company's massive, but now mostly empty, headquarters in Cupertino, California.

The Apple Watch has never come close to rivaling the iPhone's popularity, but it does dominate the market for smartwatches. Canaccord Genuity analyst T. Michael Walkley estimates about 51 million Apple Watches will be sold this year, a 5 per cent increase from last year. The research firm GlobalData pegs Apple's share of the US$64 billion smartwatch market at roughly 60 per cent.

The new discount model, called the Apple Watch SE, will sell for $479 in NZ and be available beginning Friday. The price is a markdown from the $399 that Apple is asking for the next version of its higher end watch, the $699 Series 6, which was also launched today.

Apple added more features to help the watch monitor its owner's health, including a sensor that can read blood oxygen levels.

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The feature, specific to the Series 6, could be timely, given that Covid-19 frequently attacks the lungs.

Apple also announced a new fitness subscription service tailored for its watches for $16.99 per month or $139 per year in NZ, as well as a new option that will bundle its existing music, video, news and gaming services into a package that will cost $23.95 to $31.95 per month in NZ.

Tens of millions of people already subscribe to Apple's various services, helping the company double its revenue during the past four years within a division that creates products for the more than 1 billion iPhones, iPads, watches and other devices that the people already use.

The services division also includes Apple's app store, which is under regulatory scrutiny for charging a commission of up to 30% for products sold through other companies who have no other option but to use the store to reach the mostly affluent consumers who buy iPhone products.