This story is partCNET’s full coverage from and about Apple’s annual developer conference.
The software that powers thegets an upgrade. Apple announced Monday at sa where he showed off new fitness features for runners, better sleep tracking, an app to track medications, and new watch faces.
The ad shows Apple’s focus on health and fitness as key selling points for the Apple Watch. The new sleep and running tracking metrics should help Apple close the capability gap between its smartwatches and competing devices from companies like Fitbit, Samsung, Garmin and Oura. The update will debut in the fall for Apple Watch Series 4 and later. A developer preview is available immediately, while a public beta will launch next month.
With WatchOS 9, the Apple Watch will benefit from new measures intended to help runners better understand their performance and reduce the risk of injury. These include vertical oscillation, stride length, and ground contact time. A new training view will allow you to see more information at a glance, such as segments, split times and elevation.
Heart rate zones will give you deeper insight into your training intensity in WatchOS 9. And a new multisport training option will let triathletes easily switch between running, cycling, and swimming tracking. Apple is also adding a custom exercise option, which allows for interval training that incorporates rest.
Apple is also improving its sleep analytics by integrating Sleep Stages into its smartwatches. As the name suggests, Sleep Stages will tell you how long you spent in REM, central, and deep sleep. Fitness trackers from Fitbit, Samsung and other companies have already offered this feature, so this addition should bring the Apple Watch up to speed.
WatchOS 9 will bring some improvements to atrial fibrillation detection. The Apple Watch will now be able to provide more context with a new feature called AFib History, which tracks rate and other trends related to heart condition.
A new Medications app is coming to WatchOS 9. The app is intended to make it easier to log medications and set regular reminders to take specific medications and vitamins, even without an Apple Watch. You will be able to add medications by scanning a label or entering the name manually. The app will also display information about drug interactions.
The update will bring four new watch faces and support for six new keyboard languages. The new dials are called Lunar, Playtime, Metropolitan and Astronomy. Other features include less distracting notifications when the Apple Watch is in use, new Quick Actions to answer calls or take a photo with a double pinch gesture, and a redesigned dock that prioritizes currently used apps.
New software updates for major Apple products are usually the centerpiece of WWDC. Apple is using its keynote as an opportunity to build excitement for new features and updates before software arrives later in the year. Although most of the conference is being held virtually this year, Apple held a special event for developers and students on its Apple Park campus on Monday.
Apple has maintained its leading position in the smartwatch industry. Apple accounted for 36.1% of smartwatch shipments in the first quarter of 2022, up from 35.9% in the same period last year, according to Search for counterpoint. Apple nabbed 28.9% of basic watch and smartwatch shipments in Q1 2022, research firm reports Canalys.
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