Apple Watch 6, Apple Watch SE and iPad Air 4 specs leak just before launch

Apple Watch 5
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Apple Watch 6, iPad Air 4 and other new Apple devices have had their specs leak just hours before the big Apple Event gets underway.

Coming from established leaker Evan Blass, we have some details of all three of the big products Apple is expected to bring on stage later today.

iPad Air 4

Blass claims we'll be seeing two different tablets later on today. One will be the long-rumored iPad Air 4, which he says will use an A14 chipset and a USB-C port. The A14 Bionic is widely assumed to be Apple's new chip that will also be appearing in the iPhone 12. But since there are no predicted iPhone announcements at this event, this will be the first we see of the new processor.

While Apple uses Lightning connectors for its phones, a USB-C port would not be a surprise on the iPad Air. There is precedent in the form of the iPad Pro, which has used USB-C for a couple of generations already.

While not mentioned here by Blass, we're also expecting the iPad Air to feature Apple's first Touch ID sensor built into a power button. That's because the iPad Air is said to feature a full-screen design, and this is a way for Apple to do that without using a more expensive Face ID camera up front.

iPad 8

The other tablet we'll apparently be seeing is a new basic iPad, which would be the 8th generation. While this still will use a Lightning port according to Blass, it will be getting an A12X chipset to power it.

While the A12X is a couple of years old now, first appearing in the 2018 iPad Pro, it's a big boost compared to the 7th-gen iPad's A10 Fusion chip, which is itself approaching its fourth anniversary.

Apple Watch 6 and Apple Watch SE

Moving away from tablets to wearables, the Apple Watch 6 and the new budget Apple Watch SE will come in two sizes and with either Bluetooth-only or LTE connectivity, similar to previous Apple Watches.

What's unusual is that Blass claims the Watch 6 will have 'S4', presumably referring to the wearable chipset that first appeared in the Apple Watch 4 and was later superseded by the Apple Watch 5's S5 chip.

It would be a strange choice on Apple's part to revert its flagship wearable back to a nearly two-year-old chip. However it would make sense for the Apple Watch SE to use an S4, since it's rumored to be using the Apple Watch 4's design. We can hope this was a typo on the part of Blass or his source inside Apple.

Some other rumored features for the Apple Watch 6 are its new case design, which should use an optical sensor instead of a digital crown for navigation, and the introduction of an SpO2 monitoring, for improved health and fitness monitoring.

Mark Gurman, a writer for Bloomberg and a long-standing source of reliable Apple leaks, also weighed on on Apple's new wearables. He says not to expect too much new out of the Apple Watch 6 beyond the SpO2 monitor and new chipset, but that the Watch SE would be much more similar to the Watch 5. This seems to conflict with other rumors though, so it'll be interesting to see what turns out to be the truth later today.

Apple Event outlook

If you would prefer to hear the details straight from the mouth of an Apple spokesperson, then you can watch Apple's September 15 event live online. We're not expecting there to be any iPhone 12 news at today's presentation, but it's possible we'll see a little teaser of some kind for Apple's next event where it finally unveils its new phones.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.