The latest announcement from Apple sees some BIG changes to the everyday features of the Apple Watch, thanks to the watchOS 7 iOS update. The only catch? We’ll have to wait until September for the update to roll out globally. Unless you want to try the beta version…?
Apple may not have been able to host their big keynote event IRL in San Francisco this year, but that didn’t stop the tech giant from launching a raft of exciting new updates for iOS users today.
The one that piqued our interest was the changes that will come for the Apple Watch – thanks to the newly unveiled watchOS 7 operating system, which is due to roll out to the general public from September of this year.
One of the biggest updates will affect the native Sleep app – making it easier to hit your nightly sleep goal – something that we could all use help with. There will also be a newly added hand washing sensor that will automatically pick up when you’re washing your hands – and ensure you do it properly. A timely addition, in these post-pandemic times.
Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, said of today’s unveiling “We’re energised by the positive impact Apple Watch is having on our customers and are excited to deliver meaningful new tools that support their health, fitness, and wellness,” He continued, saying “watchOS 7 brings sleep tracking, automatic hand washing detection, and new workout types together with a whole new way to discover and use watch faces, helping our users stay healthy, active, and connected.”
Sort out your sleep
The watchOS 7 update will add a little more muscle to the existing native Sleep tracking app on Apple Watch – adding features and functions that will remind you to start the ‘wind down’ process before bed – suggesting things like reading a book, or listening to a podcast, that will help get you mentally ready yourself for sleep. When wearing the watch, users can track the duration of their sleep thanks to the watch’s accelerometer, however it won’t give an indication of the type or quality of sleep you’re achieving each night – but if you goal is to just get a solid eight hours of shut-eye, this could be the thing that gets you there. The only drawback is you’ll have to wear your watch to bed – so it might be best to pop it on charge while you’re winding down before hitting the hay.
Better track your movements
Currently, the native Workout app tracks a wide range of exercise types – but there are some missing, which watchOS 7 hopes to redress with the introduction of specific Dance, Functional Strength Training, Core Training and Cooldown workouts. These workouts will be “supported by powerful heart rate and custom-built motion algorithms” – meaning more accurate calorie tracking. Dance in particular proved a tricky one to capture – given the variations in movement types and speed – but Apple has validated and tested the algorithm against the most popular dance styles: Bollywood, cardio dance, hip-hop, and Latin.
Automatic hand washing detection
A timely addition to the watchOS 7 suite of features, no? This new feature will be able to automatically detect when the user is washing their hands by using motion sensors, the microphone, and on-device machine learning – ensuring that the length of time meets the minimum of 20 seconds, as suggested by the US’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A haptic notification will alert the user when they have washed their hands adequately, and the app can also remind the user to wash their hands when they return home, too. Handy.
Make your face your own
The watch face of the Apple Watch will be more customisable than ever, with users able pull their favourite stats from different apps to appear together on the one watch face. This means you’ll be able to simultaneously keep an eye on your favourite surf spot via the Dawn Patrol app, but also order an Uber at the tap of your wrist. Spot a watch face design you like? You can easily ask friends to share their faces – or you can create a bespoke design for someone else. The options will be endless.
Even more options
There will be safety checks in place via the newly introduced Noise app, ensuring that users don’t accidentally damage their hearing when listening to audio thanks to warning notifications. Good new for those who like theire tunes LOUD.
Cycling enthusiasts will also welcome a new Navigation feature – which will be able to guide them through cycle routes with clear and legible directions shown on the watch face. Maps will be able to direct riders when they’ll need to dismount, say to go down a set of stairs. Nifty, huh?
Translating languages from your wrist will also become second nature, thanks to an update to Siri.
When will these updates be available to iOS users in Australia?
The watchOS 7 update will roll out for free, globally to Apple Watch users in September, 2020. No exact date has been supplied. The update will be available to users with Series 3, Series 4, or Series 5 Apple Watch paired with iPhone 6s (or later), running on iOS 14 (or later). For keen beans, Apple for the first time is releasing a beta version of watchOS 7 will be available to the public from July, 2020. Want in? Head here to try it first.