As part of Apple’s annual worldwide developer conference (WWDC), which is held every June – also this year purely online, the company has outlined many aspects of their platforms (iOS, iPad OS, watchOS, etc.). For this post, however, I have I just want to focus on the portable side of the house ̵
As usual, today’s event outlined new software, they announced no new Apple Watch hardware. But that’s normal. Historically, it comes instead in September (usually). Whether that happens this year remains to be seen, of course, but Apple has largely shifted to an annual update cycle for the Apple Watch series. Last year they launched the Apple Watch Series 6, so we assume we will see the Apple Watch Series 7 in September as usual.
But WWDC is about developers, and especially about how these developers will use Apple’s different platforms. It’s similar to Garmin’s Connect IQ conference or Microsoft’s Build conference. Sure, sometimes new hardware comes out. But it’s more about software features. And more importantly, sometimes you see hints about what comes hardware-wise via the software features that have been discussed, but which are not yet possible to take advantage of.
With that, let’s dive into the details.
(Note: I will update this post with further details when they become available)
Apple watchOS 8 New Features Outlined:
Now, as far as Apple’s main tone goes, things were pretty slim on watchOS updates compared to previous years. But again, in many ways we only get a small part of the new features during the main tone, with many more appearing in the coming hours / days / weeks / months. Finally, watchOS 8 will not be finished and will be shipped until after they launch the Apple Watch Series 7 in September, usually the same day as the new Apple Watch ships, they will continue to consider the watchOS finally finished.
So here’s what’s new about the Apple Watch in particular:
– Add two new types of exercise – Tai chi & Pilates: This usually means some sort of basic caloric algorithms for that support, as well as sometimes some sort of data fields specific to a given type of exercise. We do not have the full details here yet.
– Added more sleep tracking features: This includes time to sleep, average heart rate and oxygen level in the blood (plus the breathing rate in the next bead).
– Added sleep rate during sleep tracking for Apple Watch: This will track your breath per minute and then surface it through trends and Apple Health. Keep in mind that Apple Health already supports breathing rate today (like most other wearables).
– Add new Mindfulness app next to Breath: This adds new animations, which remind users to calm down for a moment, including some guided meditation.
– Add new portraits to the dial: This will automatically use your portrait mode images, then allow you to use the digital crown of the dial to make the image feel alive by customizing the composition.
– Refurbished the Photos app on the Apple Watch: Now supports sharing photo memories directly from the watch via messages and email.
– You can now mix a message that has been dictated, scribbled (handwriting in the first place) and emoji all in one. It’s like the burrito of messages, because when you simply can not get through a single text message without changing the medium.
– Added support for Find Me items directly from the wrist: This allows you to take advantage of find the devices from Find My Network
– Added more timers directly on the clock
– Added support for HomeKit-enabled extended detail alerts on Apple Watch: Specific doorbell preview and package discovery (comes via new extended HomeKit features, for HomeKit-enabled accessories / cameras)
– Added home key support via HomeKit: Allows you to unlock doors with Apple Watch, with supported accessories / platforms / systems.
– Added support for UWB car keys: This would be to unlock your expensive car
– Added support for ID cards via Wallet: This also includes support for the Apple Watch.
– Added support forever on the screen for more apps: They have shown music, maps and calculator. As a reminder, only certain apps that have historically been able to use Apple’s always on screen, not including most third-party apps. It sounds like it will change in the future, but we have to see the details there.
– Added ‘Focus’ concept to Apple Watch, which is part of the larger Apple ecosystem update that basically tells your contacts when you do something that needs focus (a new variant of do not disturb).
Apple Fitness + Updates: These are for Apple’s subscription service, Apple Fitness + (Plus), which I have covered before. These updates are modest for now, though again, I expect far more updates in the fall here, in line with last year. In the meantime, these two new items will arrive later this month (June).
– Adds slate with new Artist spotlight series of workouts, from: Lady Gaga, Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Alisha Keys.
– To add a new instructor Jeanette Jenkins, with her training series focused on HIIT & Strength training sessions.
– Added more filters for training types
– Add picture to picture for Fitness +, which means you can watch the workouts being played while in another app on your phone.
And with that, that’s all there is to it. Fast and easy! Again, I expect more features to bubble to the surface in the coming days, especially with developer beta being released today. Usually we talk 3-4 times the number of features outlined below the main speech for watchOS will become known. Usually more minor things, but every little feature is often a big deal for some. And then again in September, we will probably see a new record of new features then with new hardware.
With that – thank you for reading!