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With Series 7, Apple Watch has hit its innovation ceiling

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The Apple Watch is the best general smartwatch there is, having defined expectations for the entire category for seven straight years. So how could the 2021 model possibly introduce any meaningful upgrades without a risky complete overhaul?

The Apple Watch Series 7 has none of the most requested new features (extra battery life, a thinner case, a body temperature sensor), instead featuring a 1mm larger frame with bigger display to match, faster charging, better viewing angles, improved dust protection and a more crack resistant screen on the expensive steel model.

The steel Apple Watch Series 7, which comes in silver, graphite and gold, starts at $1049.

I was sceptical that I’d actually notice any difference, but it turns out that an extra millimetre is huge when used correctly, because it equates to almost 20 per cent extra screen real estate without feeling bigger on the wrist. It’s now easier to understand information at a glance, and it also enables an on-screen keyboard for the first time.

The faster charging means that an eight-minute charge is enough for a full night of sleep tracking, and 45 minutes is enough to get the battery from zero to 80 per cent. It’s not as good as extra battery life, but it’s a nice improvement.

The less expensive aluminimium model comes in a wider range of colours.

The less expensive aluminimium model comes in a wider range of colours.

There are also a bunch of new colours for the aluminium range, which starts at $599. There’s red, blue, dark green and a kind of beige that Apple calls Starlight, but my favourite is the Midnight, which is a blue so dark it’s almost black. The steel models still come in gold, silver or graphite.

Of course the Apple Watch Series 7 still has all the stuff that made the previous generations great, like fall detection — which makes it ideal for cyclists, older people, and those who are unsteady on their feet — and Apple Fitness+ integration.

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The problem is that once a device has been the best for so long, it’s difficult to offer much new. The physical updates to this year’s Apple Watch are so relatively minor it’s enough to make one question why the company didn’t just wait until there was something more substantial to release an update.



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Australiya

Former Japanese raider Keiai Nautique stakes Cox Plate claim as field takes shape

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At least 10 horses are certain of lining up in the Cox Plate.

Imports State Of Rest and Gold Trip are guaranteed starts, as are Zaaki, Verry Elleegant, Mo’unga, Anamoe, and Probabeel.

Epsom placegetter Dalasan, Caulfield Guineas runner-up Captivant, and New Zealand star Callsign Mav are also likely to get the tick of approval, leaving four more spots up for grabs if the race committee wants a full field of 14.

Sydney jockey James McDonald is on his way to Melbourne to ride the $3.20 favourite Zaaki in Saturday’s $5 million major, with Craig Williams on $4 second favourite Anamoe.

Superstorm, who won the exempt Feehan Stakes, is likely to bypass the Cox Plate for the Cantala Handicap on Derby day, while Colette and Forgot You will also be considerations.

Colette won Saturday’s Tristarc Stakes over 1400 metres and if Godolphin elects to race her, she’ll definitely get the tick of approval, while Forgot You won the 1600-metre Stutt Stakes. The New Zealand-trained Elephant is also still in the Cox Plate entries.

Incentivise, winner of Saturday’s Caulfield Cup, has all but been ruled out of a Cox Plate berth. Hungry Heart also won’t run; she’s more likely to contend the Empire Rose or the Golden Eagle.

Craig Newitt has been booked to ride Keiai Nautique in the Cox Plate. The Japanese import finished fifth in last year’s group 1 Yasuda Kinen, won by Gran Alegria, finishing two lengths off runner-up Almond Eye.

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What are the new rules for Melbourne and the regions and when do they apply?

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Groups of up to 15 people will be allowed to get together in a public gathering and, again, vaccination is recommended but not mandatory.

Travel limits

There will be no limit on travel within metropolitan Melbourne but travel to regional Victoria will not be permitted.

There will be no curfew and no limit on reasons to leave the home.

Reduced quarantine

Masks

Masks will still be required when leaving the home. The existing exemptions will apply.

Retail

General retail will be open for outdoor service only plus click and collect.

Hairdressing will be open for up to 5 fully vaccinated people.

School and childcare

The staggered return to school will commence on Friday, earlier than planned previously.

Early child education and childcare will be open for children of vaccinated parents.

Hospitality

Venues will be open for indoor food and drink service but only for a maximum of 20 fully vaccinated customers.

The previous plan for opening would have restricted venues to 50 fully vaccinated people outside and the new 20 people indoor limit is on top of that allowance.

“There will be density limits but it is again something extra, it is something meaningful that we can do at this point,” he said.

Entertainment venues will be allows 50 fully vaccinated people outdoors.

Sport and recreation

Outdoor community sport will be allowed again for training only (no competition) for the minimum number required.

Outdoor swimming pools will be open for up to 50 fully vaccinated people.

Zoos will open at 25 per cent capacity for fully vaccinated visitors, amusement parks will open for 50 fully vaccinated people outdoors only and tours will also be allowed for up to 50 fully vaccinated people outdoors only.

Ceremonies

Weddings will be allowed for up to 20 fully vaccinated people or 10 unvaccinated people indoors and 50 people fully vaccinated or 20 people unvaccinated people outdoors subject to density limits.

Funerals will be allowed for up to 20 fully vaccinated people or 10 unvaccinated people indoors and 50 people fully vaccinated or 20 people unvaccinated people outdoors subject to density limits.

Religious ceremonies will be allowed for up to 20 fully vaccinated people or 10 unvaccinated people indoors and 50 people fully vaccinated or 20 people unvaccinated people outdoors subject to density limits.


Regional Victoria

There were some updates to the settings in the regions too.

Private gatherings will be allowed for up to 10 people including dependents with vaccination highly recommended for anybody over 12 years of age.

Public gatherings will be allowed for up to 20 people including dependents with vaccination highly recommended for anybody over 12 years of age.

Outdoor venues will be allowed up to 100 fully vaccinated people and 20 people unvaccinated.

Indoor settings, such as restaurants, cafes, cinemas and gyms will be allowed up to 30 fully vaccinated people and 20 people unvaccinated.

All school students will return to school on Friday.

More to come



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Travel from New Zealand’s South Island to reopen as quarantine-free flights with Singapore discussed

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Mr Hunt said international travel would resume in three phases: the first, already announced by NSW, allowing fully vaccinated Australians to return, and allowing citizens to leave. The second is for priority visa holders, including students and priority workers. Mr Hunt said the second phase was still being worked on with states and territories but was “ultimately a Commonwealth decision”.

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The third phase would be allowing fully vaccinated international travellers including tourists into Australia. Mr Hunt did not tie any of these phases to vaccination rates. However, under the national reopening plan capped entry numbers for priority visa holders would be introduced once the country enters phase B of the plan after 70 per cent of the eligible population is fully vaccinated.

“We’ll obviously review the epidemiology both in Australia and globally … to look at when it is safe and appropriate for unvaccinated travellers to be able to enter Australia,” Mr Hunt said.

So f ar, nearly 85 per cent of Australians aged 16 and over have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 67.8 per cent are fully vaccinated. More than 95 per cent of people aged 60 and over have had one dose, and more than 80 per cent of that cohort have had second shots.

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Australia has also signed deals for two new COVID-19 treatments, one of which will start arriving in the country this month.

The Commonwealth has purchased 15,000 doses of the coronavirus antibody-based therapy ronapreve from Roche Products. Professor Kelly said the drug will be used to prevent severe infection, particularly among unvaccinated people who contract the virus. The first supplies are expected to be available by the end of October, pending medical regulator approval.

The Commonwealth has also secured an agreement for 500,000 courses of Pfizer’s antiviral drug, which is still undergoing clinical trials but is expected to help reduce the severity of illness in people who have contracted COVID-19.

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