Apple today provided a sneak peek at the new watchOS 8 at the Worldwide Developers Conference which adds features to make the device even more useful for customers to stay healthy active and connected.
Updates to the software include improvement to the Wallet and Home apps which makes Apple Watch even more convenient to access cars, homes and offices.
Also included is a new Portrait watch face along with enhancements to messages and the Photos app to make sharing and staying connected to friends and family even easier.
“Apple Watch is the most loved watch in the world, keeping users healthy, active and connected,” said Kevin Lynch, Apple’s vice president of Technology.
“With watchOS 8, we’re bringing more convenient access to places users live, work and visit with significant updates to Home and Wallet; expanding support for both physical and mental wellbeing; and enabling richer personal connections with the new Portraits face and updates to Messages.”
Apple Watch is already a convenient way to make secure contactless payments but with watchOS8 users will have even more contact free ways to access the places and things they care about safely and securely.
Ultra-wideband support was announced at last year’s WWDC and now provides support for digital car keys on Apple Watch Series 6 .
Apple Watch owners can now securely unlock their car and start it from the driver’s seat.
Wallet on Apple Watch will also be able to include keys for their home, office and hotel.
REDESIGNED HOME APP
The Home app on Apple Watch has also been redesigned in watchOS 8 for easy access to accessories as well as the ability to control accessories by room.
And if you have a Homekit-enabled doorbell with a camera you can view the person at your front door directly on your wrist.
It’s now also possible to broadcast a message throughout your home to individual rooms via HomePod and Home Pod mini.
Apple Watch is taking a new approach to mindfulness in watchOS 8 with the Breathe app now becoming the Mindfulness app.
There is also a new session type called Reflect that allows the user to focus on something positive and recall a time you felt a sense of calm or something you feel grateful about.
SLEEPING RESPIRATORY RATE
watchOS 8 will now offer more insight into your overall wellness by tracking your sleeping respiratory rate.
This is the number of breaths per minute with Apple Watch using the built-in accelerometer to measure your respiratory rate while sleeping.
This information can then be viewed in the health app on iPhone.
PORTRAIT WATCH FACE
The photo face, where you can use your favourite image as your watch face on Apple Watch, is the most popular on the device.
With watchOS 8 you can now take your favourite portrait photos and bring them to your wrist with an immersive multi layered effect.
NEW WORKOUT TYPES
There are two new popular workout types that have been introduced in watchOS 8 – Tai chi and Pilates.
These workout types are supported by a custom-built heart rate and motion algorithm to provide accurate metrics.
Additional watchOS 8 Updates
– Multiple timers come to Apple Watch and can be given a specific label using Siri (such as ‘Laundry Timer’ or ‘Cooking Timer’).
– In watchOS 8, more Apple Watch apps support the Always-On display, including Maps, Mindfulness, Now Playing, Phone, Podcasts, Stopwatch, Timers, Voice Memos and others. watchOS 8 is also making it easier for developers to keep their apps timely and relevant with a new Always-On API for third-party apps.
– To support Apple Watch users with upper-body limb differences, Assistive Touch enables one-arm usage of Apple Watch by sensing simple hand gestures to interact without touching the display. Using the built-in motion sensors, users can answer incoming calls, control an onscreen motion pointer, and surface an action menu that can access Notification Centre, Control Centre and more.
– A new Find Items app on Apple Watch helps users locate tagged items using the Find My network, and a new Find Devices app helps users locate lost Apple devices that are signed in with the same Apple ID.
– The redesigned Music app enables users to share songs, albums and playlists through Messages and Mail, and enjoy music and radio all in one place.
– The Weather app now supports Severe Weather notifications, displaying government alerts about certain severe weather events. The app also delivers Next Hour precipitation alerts in selected regions and offers updated complications.
– Family Setup introduces the ability to add public transport cards from Hong Kong, Japan, and selected China (mainland) and US cities, and Calendar and Mail now include the option to add a Google account.
– Apple Fitness+, the first fitness service created entirely around Apple Watch, expands its offering in watchOS 8 with Picture in Picture support and new filtering options, and users can stop and resume an in-progress workout on any device. Later this month, Fitness+ introduces a new series of workouts featuring Jeanette Jenkins, one of the most sought-after fitness experts, and a new Artist Spotlight Series with workouts featuring entire playlists from Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Alicia Keys.