Apple introduced a cheaper version of its smartwatch Tuesday in 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 on the heels of a budget iPhone the company released five months ago as the economy cratered. Apple also took the wraps off a new high-end watch model, a next-generation iPad, and a couple of new subscription services during the 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. This was the company first virtual-only product reveal, reports the Wall Street Journal.
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, the AP reports. The new discount model, called the Apple Watch SE, will sell for $279 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 Series 6. Apple added 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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