Apple Watch Series 6
MacFormat UK|April 2021
Apple’s wearable is a masterpiece in miniaturisation
Carrie Marshall

The Apple Watch has come a very long way in a very short time. It’s just five years old, and in that time we’ve seen Apple enhance it in every conceivable way: better battery life, an always-on display, 4G connectivity, apps that run without a connected iPhone and most importantly of all, a whole bunch of sensors to provide useful insights into your health and fitness.

As the Apple Watch has evolved, it’s delivered a masterclass in miniaturisation: the Series 6 may look much like the first generation, but what’s inside is much more advanced and much more useful.

Now you see it

The main output of the Apple Watch is, of course, its display. In the Series 6 the display is an always-on OLED: unlike standard LED displays the pixels are self-illuminating and don’t require a separate backlight. The particular flavour of OLED here is LTPO, which is short for low-temperature polycrystalline oxide, and it was developed by Apple to deliver dynamically controllable refresh rates. That’s what made the always-on display possible: before LTPO, the display was too power-hungry and had to be woken up to tell you the time.

The refresh rate of a display is how frequently it updates, and while you want fast refresh rates for things like animation or video you don’t want them for just showing you the time: refreshing uses energy, so the less frequently you refresh the longer you get between charges. With LTPO, the refresh rate can change as required – so you can have your Watch running at a very low refresh rate to save power and only go to a faster refresh rate when you actually need it. In the Apple Watch, the refresh rate is 60Hz – 60 times per second – when required and 1Hz when it isn’t.

The Apple Watch also includes a small speaker and integrated microphone for Siri commands and making calls.

The magic touch

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