The annual Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) 2018 conference ushered in the expected updates to the watchOS software that runs on the Apple Watch. The upcoming software is called watchOS 5, and while it isn’t designed to be an entirely new experience, there are certain critical revisions along the way.
Activity tracking has always been one of the Apple Watch’s highlights, and watchOS 5 will improve on that significantly. For starters, the Watch will now be able to detect when you start an activity, even though you may have forgotten to start one for tracking on the Watch.
The activity prior to the start of the tracking will also be logged, so that you don’t miss out on the crucial activity moments that may be the difference between all the Activity rings closing or not closing at the end of the day! You will now also be able to invite friends and family to a 7-day activity challenge, and will be able to monitor each other’s progress in real-time.
Apple has added yoga and hiking to the predefined workout types. Runners will appreciate the new cadence (steps per minute) metric for indoor and outdoor runs and walks. There is also a new pace alarm for outdoor runs, and you will get prompts if you are behind or ahead of the designated target pace.
The watchOS 5 also adds a feature known as rolling mile pace, which will allow runners to take a glance at their pace for the just preceded mile, their average pace as well as the current pace.
The watchOS 5 will add a new communication method called Walkie-Talkie. For this, you and your friend or family member need to accept the one-time request for instant calling. Once done, you simply need to go to the Walkie-Talkie app, select the contact, press the on-screen button and send your voice message. The recipient will get the message after a notification beep, and can respond instantly. This will work on Wi-Fi as well as the LTE connections on the newest Apple Watch series 3 with Cellular.
The new watchOS 5 will bring an updated Siri watch face, which will now also have sports scores, heart rate data and predictive Siri shortcuts as well. Third party apps notifications show on this watch face, including Nike+ Run Club—this is in line with the updates that Siri has received for the upcoming iOS 12 for the iPhone and iPad.
Finally, Apple has now eliminated the need to say “Hey Siri", before giving a command or asking a question to the virtual assistant on the Watch. Now, you simply raise your wrist and ask it a question as you normally would in any conversation.
Apple will be rolling out the watchOS 5 update sometime in the fall months, and will be available for all variants of the Apple Watch Series 3 and the Apple Watch Series 2. This new software will not be available for the first generation Apple Watch, however.