Apple Watch: 10 New Features in WatchOS 7


Angela Lang / CNET

Apple watch ($ 399 at Apple) is learning some new tricks in WatchOS 7. On Monday, Apple announced its latest software updates in its annual World Developer Conference on Monday and took a look at the new features coming to their Apple Watch models. The update is expected this fall and includes a new batch of watch faces, new training options, and native sleep tracking, the latest of which has been very early for many years.

Unfortunately, these features will only be compatible with Apple Watch Series 3. ($ 199 at Apple) or later and some features are exclusive to Series 5. Here is a breakdown of 10 key new Apple Watch features announced at WWDC 2020.

Native sleep tracking finally arrives

The wait is over. Apple Watch users will finally be able to wear their watch in bed and follow their sleep without having to download a third-party app. WatchOS 7 also helps users sleep on time by providing a way to relax from the day with a relaxing routine before bed. Once in bed, the Apple Watch uses its motion and heart rate sensors to determine when you have fallen asleep and turns off all notifications. In the morning, you can look back on your sleep cycle to see if you woke up in the middle of the night and watch your progress over time.

To track sleep, the Apple Watch must be at least 30 percent charged, and will need a recharge when you wake up. Once Apple Watch is fully charged, you’ll receive a notification on your phone that it’s ready to go.

Training and ‘new’ exercise app

Maps now has instructions for biking.

Apple

That kind of Zumba can show that you’ve burned more calories in WatchOS 7. Apple has added dancing, basic training, functional strength, and cooling to its list of watch training options. As such, the clock algorithm is specifically tuned for these exercises, and calorie tracking is more accurate.

Cyclists will also get a new navigation feature on Apple Maps that will allow them to choose routes based on time to destination, total distance, or number of hills.

The Activity app, which houses the activity rings and summary of your day, has been renamed on WatchOS 7. It will be called the Fitness app on both Apple Watch and iPhone. Although the app is still very similar on the watch, it has been slightly redesigned on the iPhone. It has a more complete summary page and a more intuitive way to find your statistics at a glance.

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Screenshot by Sarah Tew / CNET

WatchOS 7 keeps you honest about handwashing

You know we are living through interesting times where handwashing receives almost as much airtime as sleep tracking on the keynote. Apple Watch will use the motion sensors and microphone to determine when you’re washing your hands and make sure you’re doing it right. Once it’s determined to be in the sink, a 20-second countdown will begin, which is the optimal duration per CDC guidelines. It may even remind you to do so as soon as you enter your home.

Other health characteristics

WatchOS 7 is taking the Noise app one step further by expanding noise alerts to headphone levels. The Apple Watch already monitors ambient noise and alerts users when it reaches levels that could affect hearing loss. But now you will do the same when you listen to audio through your headphones from your iPhone, iPod or Apple Watch. You will receive an alert if you have exceeded the recommended volume or the listening time given by the World Health Organization.

There is also a new health metric that can help users get an idea of ​​their mobility and cardiovascular capabilities. Advanced age or injury can affect people’s balance and overall ability to move safely and effectively. The Apple Watch uses its motion sensors (as well as the motion sensors on the iPhone) to get a picture of what it looks like over time, similar to a “6-minute walk test” you’d normally get in a lab. If these data are shared with a doctor, it could help detect mobility problems before they reach the point of affecting your health.

Share and discover new watch faces

Apple still won’t allow third party clock faces, but there will be more ways to customize apple watch customizing existing templates or adding multiple complications from the same application. Watch wearers can also share watch faces with one another via text message, email or social media, or discover other looks selected by specific companies.

The Apple Watch also has a new Chronograph Pro option, which has an analog-style tachymeter that measures speed and distance, and has an extra-large text option and new photo filters. And you will be able to add new complications for the camera, remote control, suspension and Shortcuts Applications

Car key function turns your watch into a keychain

With updates, your Apple Watch can become a keychain for your car. You won’t be able to grant car key permissions like on the iPhone, but you can accept them if they are shared with you through the Wallet app. The car key feature will only be available on Apple Watch Series 5 or later (assuming we get a Series 6 in autumn), and will only be compatible with select BMW models for now.

Other iOS features

  • Apple Watch has online responses for the Message app
  • Siri can read your text messages when connected to headphones
  • Apple Watch will get a translation app that allows users to translate entire conversations.


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