When Apple announced the Watch Series 6 last week, the company understandably spent a lot of talking up the wearable's new sensor for measuring blood oxygen levels. But it turns out the latest Apple Watch has a couple of smaller enhancements hidden underneath its new sensor.
When it sat down to take apart the wearable, iFixit found both the 40mm and 44mm Series 6 models have bigger batteries than their Series 5 counterparts. The 44mm variant features a 3.5 percent higher capacity battery than its Series 5 equivalent, while the 40mm model has an 8.5 percent larger power cell. The bigger energy stores don't appear to affect battery life too much since Apple still claims 18 hours of use on a single charge, just like it did with the Series 5.
Another component that's bigger in the Series 6 is the Taptic Engine. This time around, it's also made from 100 percent recycled rare earth metals and tungsten. In late 2019, Apple said it would start manufacturing the iPhone's Taptic Engine from recycled components. One year later, it's doing the same with the Apple Watch.
The teardown also highlights the removal of Force Touch. We knew the feature was on its way out when Apple released the watchOS 7 beta in June, but iFixit's teardown confirms the component that enabled the gesture is no longer present in the Apple Watch Series 6. From a repairability standpoint, iFixit notes the removal of Force Touch makes things easier.
"We're happy to see a fragile, damage-prone part retired, but sad to see the final nail in the coffin for Apple's nifty pressure-sensitive display technology," the company said. "We're torn, but we'll call this a win."
The end result of all those tweaks is that the Series 6 is slightly thinner than the Series 5. It measures in at 10.4mm thick compared to the Series 5’s 10.74mm. As for that blood oxygen sensor Apple talked so much about, iFixit wasn’t actually able to take it apart. “Fused display on top, fused sensor array on the bottom. We’re not gonna find anything but broken pieces if we bust this apart.”