Apple today previewed watchOS 6, which empowers Apple Watch users to better manage their health and fitness, and gives access to dynamic new watch faces and the App Store directly on Apple 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,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, in a statement. “watchOS 6 extends our commitment to helping users better manage their health and fitness with powerful and personal new tools.”
Health and Fitness
The new Cycle Tracking app gives women the ability to log important information related to their menstrual cycles and see predicted timing for their next period and fertile window using the convenience of Apple Watch.1 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 iOS 13.
Maintenance of hearing health positively impacts the quality of life and studies have shown that hearing loss has been associated with cognitive decline.2 With the optimal position of Apple Watch on the wrist, the Noise app 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.
Customers are passionate about closing their Activity rings and 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.
App Store and Apps
For the first time, watchOS 6 brings the App Store directly to Apple Watch. Users can easily install third-party apps, search for apps using Siri, dictation or Scribble and view app product pages designed for the watch screen right from the wrist. Developers can build Apple Watch-only apps, created to work independently on Apple Watch without an iOS app.
Additional watchOS 6 Updates
• watchOS 6 introduces dynamic new watch faces and customization options offering more personalization and access to favorite apps, contacts and information. These include: Modular Compact, Solar Dial, California, Gradient and Numerals faces.
• New developer tools include an audio API to stream music, radio and podcasts, an API to give extended runtime to session-based tasks, such as physical therapy and meditation, and Core ML now uses the Apple Neural Engine on Apple Watch Series 4, enabling faster processing of on-device inputs.
• The popular Voice Memos app is now available on Apple Watch.
• Audiobooks purchased on Apple Books are now available to listen to directly from the new Audiobooks app on the watch.
• The new Calculator app helps with tip calculations and splitting checks right from the wrist.
• Siri search queries can display webpage results in full on Apple Watch.
• Apple GymKit compatibility extends to manufacturers Octane Fitness, TRUE Fitness and Woodway, connecting Apple Watch to more cardio equipment in clubs around the world.
All Apple Watch features are designed to protect user privacy. None of the audio or sounds in the environment are saved by the Noise app or sent to Apple — only the decibel level is sampled. The information from Apple Watch health features, including the new Cycle Tracking app, will be visible within the redesigned Health app on iOS 13. All data is encrypted on-device and if iCloud back up is selected by the user, data is encrypted in iCloud.
Summer Watch Bands
New colors of the Sport Band and Sport Loop in Canary Yellow, Dragon Fruit and Cornflower are available beginning today, along with a new Pride Edition Sport Loop with a donation being made to the following LGBTQ advocacy organizations: Encircle, Gender Spectrum, GLSEN, ILGA, PFLAG, the National Center for Transgender Equality and The Trevor Project.
Pricing and Availability
• The developer preview of watchOS 6 is available to Apple Developer Program members at developer.apple.com starting today. New software features will be available 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. For more information, visit apple.com/watchos-preview. Features are subject to change. Some features may not be available in all regions or all languages or on all devices.
• New Apple Watch band colors are available to order on apple.com and in the Apple Store app, and will be available later this week at Apple Stores, as well as select Apple Authorized Resellers and carriers in the US and over 35 countries and regions.
Source: Apple Inc.
MacDailyNews Take: Having the App Store on your wrist, not to mention allowing developers to be able to develop for Apple Watch without an iPhone companion app, is going to be awesome for the Apple Watch app ecosystem. The Cycle Tracking is certainly going to sell a lot of Apple Watches to reproductive age females. Audio streaming of things like MLB games and other sports, podcasts, new, etc. is going to get a lot of use on runs from us! And it’s certainly good to see Apple’s GymKit continuing to spread to big name fitness equipment makers.
We’d hoped developers would be able to create their own Watch faces and offer them on the App Store, but Apple seems to be holding face close to the vest for some reason. Probably becuase Apple is reticent to give up such a large percentage of the look of the device. Ugly Watch faces mean ugly watches, so Apple wants to retain control of that. The good news is that Apple keeps adding high quality, beautiful, and useful faces of their own making to Apple Watch.