It’s the time of the year when Apple pulls out the big guns, and it’s certainly not holding back in any way. The tech giant revealed the updates to the Apple Watch’s watchOS 9 at its WWDC 2022 (Worldwide Developers Conference), which runs from June 6 to 10, 2022.
Here are the top five features of the watchOS 9.
1) Four new watch faces & customisation updates
Apple Watch users will have four new watch faces to choose from: Lunar, Playtime, Metropolitan, and Astronomy.
watchOS 9 also introduces enhanced and modernised complications on classic watch faces and background colour editing. More depth effect can be seen in more photos, while Chinese scripts have been added to California and Typograph watch faces.
The Focus feature, meanwhile, now allows a specific watch face to appear when users start a specific Focus, making it possible to set a Photos face during a Personal Focus.
#2) Workout app updates
Updates include more new metrics to help users stay on top of their fitness goals, including easy rotation between Workout Views, new Heart Rate Zones and Custom Workouts which can be used to create structured work-rest intervals workouts. New alerts can also be added for performance thresholds to keep you updated on the fly.
It has support for a new Multisport workout as well, meant for tri-athletes. It will automatically switch between swimming, biking, and running workouts by using motion sensors to recognise the activity being performed.
For runners, the Watch will be able to provide data on Stride Length, Ground Contact Time, and Vertical Oscillation. These can help runners improve their running economy.
Swimmers will be able to track their efficiency with SWOLF score — a stroke count combined with the time, in seconds, it takes to swim one length of the pool. A kickboard detection has also been added.
A cardio recovery metric is in the update, which informs users when they should take a break to prevent overuse injury.
#3) Sleep insights
watchOS 9 will be able to track sleep stages and data on how much of your sleep is in REM (Rapid Eye Movement), core or deep sleep can be accessed in the Sleep app. These are available alongside other metrics such as heart rate and respiratory rate.
Users can also help expand the science of study by contributing their data through the Research app. All voluntary, of course.
#4) AFib history
Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is currently identified by the ECG app on the Apple Watch and notifications will be sent when it detects irregular rhythm, but it wasn’t tracked over a period of time.
In watchOS 9, users can turn on the US FDA-cleared AFib History feature to access information such as estimates of how frequently a user’s heart rhythm shows AFib, which can provide deeper insights into their condition.
A PDF with a detailed history of their AFib and lifestyle factors can also be downloaded and shared with doctors and care providers for a more informed conversation.
A new application (also on iPhone) to help users manage their medications, the feature allows users to create a medication list, set up schedules and reminders, and view information about their medications in the Health app.
In the US, users will be alerted if there are potential critical interactions with medications they have added to the Health app.
Other than these updates announced at the WWDC 2022, the watchOS 9 also introduces better privacy controls, better notifications and touch controls, more functionality improvements, and new APIs for developers.
The developer beta is available today to Apple Developer Program members, with a public beta next month for watchOS users. The watchOS 9 free software update will be rolled out to Apple Watch Series 4 devices or later this fall.
The WWDC 2022 keynote presentation is below if you wish to dive in. During the event, Apple also announced the all-new M2 chip for its new and latest line of the MacBook Air and Pro 13 models.
This article was first published in Geek Culture.