Image source: Apple

WatchOS 9: Apple announces next generation software

Apple has previewed the next generation of its Watch operating system at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2022. Here’s everything you need to know about WatchOS 9.

WWDC is an information technology conference organized annually by Apple Inc. The conference is typically held in the San Jose Convention Center in California. This is when the company unveils the next generation of its operating system for a range of its devices. This includes iPhones, iPads, Macs and its flagship smartwatch.

Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets

Of most interest to us is Apple’s health and fitness tracking software. Not much was known about the next version of WatchOS 9 ahead of the event. The company is obviously getting better at keeping things under lock and key ahead of official reveals. Now we have all the details. It turns out, the software is getting a few nice upgrades.

watchOS 9 will be available on Apple Watch Series 4 and newer later this fall. Apple Watch Series 3 has been dropped from the list of supported devices.


WatchOS 9 – what’s new?

WatchOS9

Four new watch faces

Apple has remastered the Astronomy face. Users also get a Lunar calendar, a Playtime watch face with has whimsical animated numbers, along with Metropolitan – which highlights watch typography. Rich complications will come to more watch faces. The company has also done some UI tweaks, and Siri and banner notifications get a revised look.

New running metrics

Some will consider this the biggest upgrade to watchOS 9. The company is introducing a few running metrics.

This includes vertical oscillation which measures how much you move up and down. The tech uses info from the accelerometer and gyroscope to arrive at the calculations. These sensors are also used to work out stride length and ground contact time. Both are also considered to be running form metrics.

All of this is nicely arranged in the new easy to read workout views – which let you see more at a glance. Simply use the crown to scroll between them.

WatchOS9

The company is also introducing heart rate zones on the watch. This will help you train more efficiently.

Apple HR zones

Interestingly, Apple is adding running power. This is a feature that many sports watches do not have so the company is ahead of the curve here. The metric is expressed in watts. It uses information on altitude, heart rate and more to calculate how much energy you are expending in real-time as you are running. This allows you to tweak your effort so that you do not push too hard.

New multi-sport activity

Beyond that, there is a custom workouts feature. This helps you add structure to your run. For example you can customise a HIIT session as per your preference. Plus you can add alerts to keep you on track – for example to stay in a heart rate zone. It uses both haptics and voice to notify.

For triathletes – there’s the option to start a multi-sport activity. This automatically switches between different sports (swimming, cycling, running) so you don’t have to do a thing expect focus on the task in front of you.

The Fitness app is now available to all iPhone users

Apple is making the Fitness app available to all iPhone users. Those who do not have an Apple Watch can tap into the phone’s sensors to track activity. Or link apps such as Strava and the data will be synced.

Sleep Stages

Sleep tracking has been a long time coming. It finally had arrived a couple of years ago.

Now this is getting an upgrade that comes in the form of Sleep Stages. The watch on your wrist will automatically detect which stage of sleep you are in. This could be Awake, REM, CORE and DEEP. In the morning you’ll get a nice overview showing how efficiently you slept. The company has used best-in-class medical grade sensors to arrive at its alogorithms. Apple Heart & Movement Study participants will now be able to contribute sleep stage data to the scientific study.

Apple Sleep Stages

Afib History

The AFib feature that was introduced a while ago alerts if the device on your wrist suspects you have Afib. For those with the condition, the new Afib History helps you understand the time you spend in AFib. This is important to help you manage the condition.

It allows you to see how lifestyle factors such as exercise, sleep and weight are effecting Afib. The graphs allow you to identify date, time of day or week when you experience the condition. The company says it is expecting FDA clearance soon for this life-saving feature.

WatchOS9

Medications management

As its name implies, medications will let you track, manage and understand medications, supplements and vitamins. You don’t necessarily need an Apple Watch for this.

Just build your medications list. You can scan labels of medications to make the process easier. Create a schedule for reminders, add custom visuals to make it easy to remember and more. The software also spits out info on drug-drug interactions. If there is a critical interaction on your list you’ll get an alert.

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One thought on “WatchOS 9: Apple announces next generation software

  • do you know if Apple is going to add “Iceskating” to it’s activity list??????

    Reply

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