Apple held its annual WWDC this week, and we got a look at some pretty interesting stuff. From the long-awaited iOS 16 to the new MacBook Air and Pro, each section of the keynote had something to catch our attention. Besides big releases like iOS 16 and macOS Ventura, there was also a solid upgrade to the watchOS. The new watchOS 9 brings a lot of improvements to the watches, from smaller things like banner style notifications and keyboard support for various languages to big stuff like a hefty update to the health functionality of your watch. Let’s check out what the update has in store for us in detail.
Get a Makeover
The watchOS 9 update brings new ways to make your watch more interesting. With four new watch faces in four different styles, the Apple Watch stands out from the crowd.
- Astronomy: With real-time cloud coverage of the earth, the astronomy watch face takes advantage of the big display of the Apple Watch.
- Lunar: The Lunar watch face follows different cultural lunar calendars like Chinese, Hebrew and Islamic, and helps you track the phase the Moon is in. It also looks pretty cool.
- Playtime: This watch face, created by artist Joi Fulton, shows a more cute and whimsical side with the numbers designed as characters with a minimal interactive animation making the watch face livelier.
- Metropolitan: The most minimalist of them all, this watch face lets you try different colour combinations to match your style.
Apart from these four faces, the Portrait face now allows you to put pictures of your pets on your watch screen in Portrait Mode. You can also add tints to the background with the editing mode and make your watch face more personal.
Pump It Up
The software update brings a whole lot more functionality to the Workout App. The app now provides richer data to measure your active lifestyle, especially for runners. It also uses machine learning to analyse and optimise your running style for your preferred goals. For example, to improve stamina, your Apple Watch can record the energy you produce or go faster by studying how much your body stays in the air between steps. You can switch between an abstract view or read your performance metrics in detail.
The app also automatically switches between different sports for users who participate in multi-sport events like triathlons. watchOS 9 lets you create Custom Workouts too, including work and rest intervals.
Your Apple Watch could already detect atrial fibrillation. But with the new watchOS 9, your watch will help you track your AFib History, a unique feature of the ECG app that tells you how many times your heart is in AFib in a day. It also shows you a day-to-day analysis. You can then change your lifestyle to keep your heartbeat at a normal level throughout the week, or head to a doctor if you think it might be serious.
This will no doubt give the Apple Watch’s often “life-saving” features another level up.
With this update to watchOS, the Sleep App now doesn’t just track your sleep; it provides more insights into your sleep cycles. The app’s new feature, Sleep Insights, can analyse your sleep and detect when you are in REM, Core, or Deep Sleep. Besides that, it will also provide other data like heart rate and respiratory rate through the updated Health App, using signals from the accelerometer and heart rate sensor.
Track Your Pills
The new watchOS will keep you healthier by helping you track and manage your medications and supplements. The Medication app also lets you schedule custom timings for your medications. And with the update to the Health app with iOS 16, the Apple Watch takes a step further in keeping users healthy. The app also introduces a new feature. Critical Interactions help you know the side effects of different drugs and what you should avoid while taking the medication. Sadly, this feature is available only to US users.
Can You Run It?
Let’s come to what you were waiting for — the devices that will support watchOS 9. To get right to the point, Apple Series 4-7 and SE are compatible with the updated OS. You also need an iPhone 8 or later with iOS 16 to use watchOS 9. The info also comes with a disclaimer that not all features are available on all devices, regions or languages, like how Apple Watch Mirroring is available on Apple Watch Series 6 or later and Critical interactions is only available in the US. So, keep an eye out if you’re considering getting a new Apple Watch!
From past release patterns, we can be sure that the watchOS 9 update will be launching in the fall of this year. We know it’s a long wait, but it’s still worth getting excited. How do you feel about watchOS 9? Tell us in the comments below!