Apple announced and previewed the new version of its operating system for Apple Watch – watchOS 6, which adds additional health and fitness to the world’s most popular smart watch.
“Apple Watch has become an indispensable part of our customers’ everyday lives, from helping users stay connected to the people and information they care about, to inspiring them to live a better and more active day,” Jeff Williams, Apple’s COO, said in a statement. “watchOS 6 extends our commitment to helping users better manage their health and fitness with powerful and personal new tools.”
Among the new health and fitness features is the Cycle Tracking app that gives women the ability to log important information related to their menstrual cycles and see predicted timing for their next period and fertile window. The daily log function enables the quick addition of information related to the menstrual cycle, including current period, flow, symptoms, results from ovulation prediction kits and other elements of fertility tracking. The new Cycle Tracking feature is also available in the Health app on iPhone with (also newly announced) iOS 13.
Then there’s the Noise app which helps users understand the sound levels in environments such as concerts and sporting events that could negatively impact hearing. As the sound levels change, the app’s decibel meter moves in real time. The watch can send a notification if the decibel level reaches 90 decibels, which can begin to impact hearing after four hours per week of exposure at this level, according to the World Health Organization.
Finally, the new Trends tab in the Activity app on iPhone now gives users a long-term view of their activity behavior to help them understand their progress. At a glance, the tab shows whether the trends are up or down for key metrics such as active calories, exercise minutes, walking pace and others. If the last 90 days of activity shows a downward trend relative to the last 365 days, the Activity app offers coaching to help the user get back on track.
In the other Apple Watch news, the Cupertino-based company unveiled an App Store for the Watch for installing third-party apps, as well as the ability for the Watch to run apps independent of the iPhone (without a companion iOS app).
Furthermore, watchOS 6 includes new watch faces and customization options, new developer tools and APIs, ability to preload audiobooks onto the Watch, the Calculator app, and the ability to show Siri search queries in full on Apple Watch.
Finally, Apple GymKit compatibility has been extended to manufacturers Octane Fitness, TRUE Fitness and Woodway — connecting Apple Watch to more cardio equipment in clubs around the world.
The developer preview of watchOS 6 is available to Apple Developer Program members, while consumers will get it this fall as a free software update for Apple Watch Series 1 or later paired with iPhone 6s or later running iOS 13 or later.