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  • Bruce Burke

Wrist Revolution: Apple Watch SE Vs. Series 6

Updated: Nov 28, 2020

In September, Apple unveiled Apple Watch Series 6, Apple Watch SE, and watchOS7. But what are the differences between the two models, and what does the updated operating system bring?



Series 6 delivers breakthrough wellness and fitness capabilities, while the SE is the ultimate combination of design, function, and value. But which watch best fits your wants and needs?


Do I Want a Watch?


Family Setup in watchOS 7, brings the communication, health, fitness, and safety features of Apple Watch to kids and older family members of the household who do not have an iPhone.

First let's talk about value, I currently don't own an Apple Watch and have not worn a watch for more than a decade. Once I started carrying a phone with me everywhere I found less and less use for a watch. So in thinking about investing in a SmartWatch, I along with you am going to dig in and discover for myself if I find it compelling and understand how I will derive value from it.


The Apple Watch Series 6 starts at $399, and the Apple Watch SE starts at $279. Both models are available in 44mm or 40mm case sizes. The Series 6 features a new Always-On Retina display, while the utilizes the raise to wake feature to activate the Retina display.


Both models are available in GPS and GPS + Cellular and feature; high and low heart rate notifications, Irregular heart rhythm notification, the GPS + Cellular models support Family Setup and all models are water resistant to up to 50 meters.


The Series 6 has the Blood Oxygen app and ECG app with blood oxygen sensors and the hardware to deliver these breakthrough wellness and fitness capabilities. It is the The most advanced Apple Watch yet, and includes Emergency SOS, International emergency calling, Fall detection, Compass and an Always-On Altimeter.




What Features Do I Need?


The Always-On Retina display never sleeps, so you can always see the time and information that’s most important to you. The viewing area stretches deep into the rounded corners and is over 30 percent larger than the Apple Watch Series 3 display, in the same case size.


The Series 6 is available in Aluminum, Stainless steel, and Titanium finishes. The Apple Watch Series 6 case is thinner than the Apple Watch Series 3 case. Aluminum models have Ion-X glass displays. Stainless steel and Titanium models have sapphire crystal displays.


I don't know where you are yet, but as this is my first foray with a Smartwatch I will approach cautiously. I've always been an early adopter and I waited with Apple Watch. The new Apple Fitness program is what really attracted my attention, as I'm getting older and recently put on some Covid couch weight I realize I need to get back on track. We'll dive into the fitness aspects later.




Special Edition


I purposefully picked the image above because I wanted to talk about the color options. Here's where there is some limitations with the Apple Watch SE. The Aluminum body is available in three different colors; Silver, Space Gray, and Gold.


Conversely the Series 6 has a wide variety of colors for the different materials used for the case. The Series 6 Aluminum case is available in Silver, Space Gray, Gold, Blue and Red. Stainless steel cases come in Silver, Graphite, and Gold, while the Titanium model comes in Titanium and Space Black. There is no ceramic case Apple Watch model, this year.

Later in this post I am going to visit the Watch Apple Studio website and create both a Series 6 and SE model that I want and compare the two on features and price. Each different case and band have their own individual cost.


Watch bands go from simple rubber loops to a Hermès Attelage Double Tour. I'm not leaning towards the Hermès, it's just not in my pandemic-induced budget. And although I think the Blood Oxygen and ECG features are cool and the Always-On Display is nice ... I don't think I'm old enough to need these more extreme health features and if I can save a few hundred dollars - I can live without the Always-On display. What's your choice? Do you want the new wellness features?




Match Game


I want to talk a little bit more about the colors available in the various watches. All these colors have already been released and are indicative of what colors the iPhone 12 will come in. So if you're a person who wants their Smartphone and Smartwatch to have a similar design language you may want to take some notes here.


The watch and band colors you select may influence your iPhone 12 purchase or vice versa. As you would suspect the Series 6 Watch colors align more with the colors slated for the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max models. While the mini and standard iPhone colors align more with the colors for the Apple Watch SE. So now we know what the colors of the various iPhone models are because Apple has already told us by releasing the new Apple Watch designs before the iPhone event.


Based on both the watches and the watch bands, we can assume the new iPhone's will be available in Black, White, Gold, Silver, Graphite, Red, Blue, and Green. So how does it breakdown? What colors are going to be available for the standard iPhone and the mini? Black, White, Red, Blue & Green are my prediction for these two models.


While the Pro and Pro Max will get Gold, Silver, Graphite & Blue. I think the Pro and Pro Max will continue with the textured glass on the back again this year. The popularity of last year's Midnight Green color model makes me hopeful for a navy blue phone in this finish. Navy blue will be a highly desired color this fallI as we head into 2021. Now I may be wrong about this ... I'm not 100% on this - it's only my best guesstimate based on the clues scattered across the Internet.




Apple Watch Studio


Apple Watch has been Apple’s most customizable product. Any case, any band, any style you want. Starting with the Series 5, Apple introduced Apple Watch Studio. This innovative new shopping experience makes creating a look and feel that fits your style easier, Apple Watch Studio lets you mix and match styles to build and order your own personalized model of Apple Watch.


To get started you select the type of watch you want, the options include the Series 6 and SE, but there is also sections of the studio dedicated to both the Hermès and Nike brands - there is even an Apple Watch Nike SE section for the more budget minded fitness enthusiasts.

Earlier I said I was going to use the Apple Watch Studio to construct two different models. I'm going to call this the Champagne Taste - Beer Budget Apple Watch comparison. I think you'll find it interesting. I was able to create a similar look and feel but at two extremely different price points.


First I went with my fantasy, my dream Apple Watch - I headed straight to the Hermès section of the studio. I'm not really a sports style kind of guy. I don't wear a lot of bright colors and I like my clothes simple with clean lines. I chose the Hermès 44mm Silver Stainless Steel Case with Noir Swift Leather Single Tour. The total comes to $1299 and features exclusive Hermès Watch faces.




Then I came back to reality, by visiting the SE section of the studio and created a 40mm Space Gray Aluminum Case with Charcoal Braided Solo Loop. The total came to a palatable $329.




Since we are really comparing the Series 6 to the SE I took it one step further and headed over to the Series 6 section of the studio and was able to quickly construct a 40mm Graphite Steel Case with Charcoal Braided Solo Loop. The total came to $749, cheaper than the Hermès but more expensive than the Apple Watch SE.


I found it interesting that I could achieve pretty much the same look and feel at three different price points. The differences being the materials, finishes and brand.




$329, 749 or $1299 - or do I want an Apple Watch? Stick with me, well get to what you can do with in just a minute or two. Let's review the final details and then we'll do a deep dive.


As a side note I chose a larger case size for the Hermès design, if I'm going to flex a brand on my wrist I want everyone to see it. But for the more realistically priced models I chose the 40mm size case because I am tall and thin and have a smaller wrist.


While we are on the subject of size you'll want to use the sizing tool that Apple provides to get the right size for you watch band. Even if you are going with the stretch to fit Solo Loop bands you want to measure your wrist for fit.


To help with this process Apple has provided a Sizing Guide. The printable tool is the easiest and fastest way to find your band size. Don't have a printer? You can also use household objects such as a measuring tape. I've included the Apple Sizing guide as a downloadable PDF you can print.


Apple Watch Sizing Guide
.pdf
Download PDF • 181KB

Are You Ready To Step Up?


Now that we have chosen our design and figured out what we want to order, let's talk about some of the ways you can use your Apple Watch. With watchOS 7, customers can take personalization to the next level with seven new watch face options, including Stripes, Chronograph Pro, GMT, and Artist, while curating, discovering, and sharing new watch face configurations with others.


New health and fitness features, including low-range VO2 Max, sleep tracking, automatic handwashing detection, and new workout types, can help users better understand overall well-being. Conveniently accessible on the wrist, Maps includes cycling directions and Siri offers language translation.

As I said earlier, one of my main reasons for getting Apple Watch is to shed some Covid weight and get back in shape. Apple Fitness+ is a new fitness experience for everyone, powered by Apple Watch.


Try world-class workouts by the world’s top fitness trainers. Work out anytime, anywhere, and see your personal metrics onscreen in real time. Find it inside the Fitness app on your iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV. Fitness+ will be available later this year and is part of the Apple One bundle of services that includes Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, iCloud, News+ and Apple Fitness+ - this gives you your music, and workout for your music, in a single subscription.




That looked exhausting, I broke a sweat just watching the video, but at the same time it's inspiring and I need to do it. But just think - no big fitness equipment monopolizing your living room or den. All you need is your Apple Watch, and an iPhone, iPad or Apple TV to complete your daily rings.


Joined at the Wrist


With Family Setup, you can use your iPhone to pair watches for your children or older adults who don’t have their own iPhone.So everyone can stay in touch by phone, text message, or Walkie-Talkie. They can also do things like play music, find apps, and close their Activity rings. It’s more independence for them, and you have the comfort of knowing they’re just a call away.


Family Setup lets you pair watches for your children and older family members to your iPhone. Each person can get a phone number, and you can manage each and every watch using the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.

With kids, you set the rules - you can approve or disapprove contacts and downloaded apps. And you can schedule Schooltime mode that limits the Apple Watch features, allowing a kids to focus on their school work. With Apple Cash Family, you can send money to your children for allowances, chores, or just because. - It's easy to manage with parental controls.


And it's not just for kids, calling and texting provide independence and an easy way to stay in touch. Watch faces with large type and complications, fall detection, and Emergency SOS make Apple Watch great for older family members. Family members can share their location in the Find My app. Get alerts when older family members and kids get home, or when they aren’t where they’re supposed to be.




So there you have it. after examining all the capabilities, features and benefits, I chose the Apple Watch SE model I created for myself in the Apple Watch Studio and will be ordering it soon. I want to wait until after the iPhone 12 announcement on October 13th so I can make my decision concerning both the Apple Watch and new iPhone when I have all the details of both products.


Once I have all this goodness in hand I'll be doing full reviews on each item separately. As I said, this is my first foray into Apple Watch, so I want to put it to the test and see what results I get.


I just ordered the newly improved AirPods Pro last night. I already have the original AirPods but am impressed by the reviews of the spatial sound features. I questioned Apple Support on Twitter last night about whether or not the AirPods Pro provide spatial audio when using Apple TV 4K.


I was disappointed when a negative response came back. But I think there is an updated Apple TV 4K coming soon. It's just a matter of putting the right chips and software in box. I have one of the original Apple TV's in my bedroom and it's starting to experience some issues. It may need a new battery in the remote. But I think it's time for an upgrade and I could attach the new unit in the living room and move the older 4K model into the bedroom, where it will be overkill for the 1080 TV.


So what Apple Watch will you create and which model will you get? Please feel free to share your Apple Watch experience in the comments below and please subscribe so you don't miss anything.




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