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Screenshot: Axios via Apple.com

Apple on Tuesday unveiled new iPad and Apple Watch models, as well as a new fitness service and Apple One, which bundles the company's main services for one monthly price.

Context: Apple has launched new iPhones in September in the past, but production issues have flipped the script this year and the new smartphones are expected to be unveiled at a second event, likely next month.

iPad

Apple updated its iPad line with new models including:

  • a new entry-level model with a 10.2-inch screen and an A12 Bionic processor. It starts at $329 ($299 for education customers) and will be available on Friday.
  • an updated iPad Air that comes in five colors and has a 10.9-inch, all-screen display, with a Touch ID fingerprint sensor integrated into the top button. It also features a new A14 Bionic processor.
    • Like the company's Macs and its higher-end iPad Pro, iPad Air will now use a USB-C connection rather than the Lightning connector used by the iPhone and entry-level iPad.
    • The new iPad Air will be available starting next month.
Apple Watch
  • Apple Watch Series 6 features a faster processor and new capabilities, such as blood oxygen monitoring, as well as new color options, including a blue and (Product) Red versions.
  • The company is launching a series of health studies to see if long-term blood oxygen monitoring can help with diseases including asthma as well as if changes in the level can indicate anything about flu or COVID-19 onset.
  • It also includes an altimeter, for tracking elevation changes, as well as new watch faces.
  • Apple is also adding a feature called Family Setup that allows people to use their iPhone to set up a cellular-equipped Apple Watch for their kids or older relatives. (Until now, people needed their own iPhone to set up an Apple Watch.)
  • Apple Watch SE uses some aspects of Series 6 but and comes in both cellular and non-cellular models but starts at $279. Apple will also continue selling Apple Watch Series 3 for $199.
  • One thing the new Apple Watch won't come with is a power adapter, with the company touting the environmental benefits of not including something most customers already have.
  • The new models will be available for order today and start shipping on Friday.
Services
  • Apple introduced a new bundle of its key services including iCloud, Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, Apple News+ and Apple Fitness+.
  • The service, named Apple One, starts at $14.95 a month for Apple TV+, Apple Music, Apple Arcade and iCloud storage. A family plan offers similar features for the whole household for $19.95 per month, while Apple One premiere adds Apple Fitness+ and Apple News+ to the other services and costs $29.95 per month.
  • Apple also debuted Apple Fitness+, a new $9.99 per month digital workout service with real trainers centered around the Apple Watch. The service works with any brand of fitness equipment and supports ten types of workouts, including treadmills, rowing, cycling, yoga, strength training and more. The service will also be available for $79.99 annually, and three months come free with a new Apple Watch purchase.
Software
  • Apple also said it is releasing iOS 14 and updated software for iPads and Apple TV on Wednesday.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Nov 18, 2020 - Technology

Apple to lower commissions for small businesses on App Store

Screenshot via Apple.com

Apple announced a new program Wednesday under which it will take a smaller 15% cut from App Store sales for businesses earning less than $1 million selling their apps, rather than the standard 30% cut.

Why it matters: Apple is under fire from some critics over its rigid App Store policies that require developers to use Apple payment systems for both app sales and in-app payments in exchange for a cut of sales.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Nov 18, 2020 - Technology

Microsoft adding security chip to Windows machines

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Microsoft said Tuesday it is working with chipmakers AMD, Intel and Qualcomm to bring a new security processor to Windows machines. Dubbed Pluton, the security chip is based on work done for the Xbox One and designed to bring an added layer of security.

Why it matters: A number of difficult-to-patch chip flaws in recent years have left computers vulnerable to attack. It also comes as many of the biggest tech companies, including Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon, are increasingly designing their own silicon to augment traditional processors.

The ransomware pandemic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

"We are on the cusp of a global pandemic," said Christopher Krebs, the first director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, in Congressional testimony last week. The virus causing the pandemic isn't biological, however. It's software.

Why it matters: Crippling a major U.S. oil pipeline this weekend initially looked like an act of war — but it's now looking like an increasingly normal crime, bought off-the-shelf from a "ransomware as a service" provider known as DarkSide.