watchOS 6 Review: Top Features You Need to Know
Apple, on Monday, previewed watchOS 6, which is coming as the next version of the wearable software of the company. Likely slated for release by the end of this year, the update empowers users of Apple Watch, allowing them to manage their health and fitness better. It also provides access to dynamic new watch faces and brings the App Store to Apple Watch, directly on your wrist.
Explaining the features of watchOS 6 during the keynote in the just concluded Apple’s WWDC 2019, Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, said: “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. watchOS 6 extends our commitment to helping users better manage their health and fitness with powerful and personal new tools.”
Apart from these, you will be allowed to cycle through applications to download on Apple Watch, instead of installing them on your iPhone. Other interesting features of the new software update are Noise app and Activity Trends. In this write-up, we will explain all these features in detail, and we will also mention which watches will be compatible with the new version of Apple’s wearable software.
New Health and Fitness Capabilities
With the new Cycle Tracking app in watchOS 6, women can now log crucial information on their menstrual cycles and get to know predicted timing for their next period as well as fertile window using their Apple Watch. The daily log feature facilitates the instant addition of info, which has to do with the menstrual cycle, like current period, flow, menstrual symptoms, results obtained from ovulation prediction kits, in addition to other issues related to fertility tracking. Also, the new Cycle Tracking functionality can be accessed in the Health app on iOS 13-powered iPhone.
Health experts say that maintenance of hearing health has beneficial effects on the quality of life, and according to research, hearing loss is linked with cognitive decline. With Apple Watch’s optimal position on your wrist, the Noise app can let you understand the sound levels in environments, like sporting events and concerts, which could have adverse effects on hearing. As the levels of sound change, you will see the decibel meter on the app move in real time. The watch sends you a notification whenever the decibel level gets to 90 decibels that can begin to have a negative impact on hearing after 4 hours per week of maintaining exposure at this sound level, based on the World Health Organization (WHO) findings.
Users are keen on closing their Activity rings, and watchOS 6 comes with a new Trends tab in the Activity application on iPhone, which offers them a long-term view of their activity behavior so as to enable them to track their progress. This tab, at a glance, reveals whether the trends for key metrics (like active calories, walking pace, exercise minutes, etc.) are up or down. If the last ninety 90 days (3 months) of activity has a downward trend compared with the last 365 days (1 year), the Activity app will provide you with coaching to enable you to get back on track.
The addition of an App Store will be the most significant upgrade to your Apple Watch. Previously, to use apps on your wearable, you have had to download them to your iPhone first. However, with watchOS 6, that is about to change.
You can now directly search the App Store from your wrist with the use of voice, Scribble or Siri. It will present you with different details on apps you would like to install, like screenshots on your Apple Watch’s display, and you will be able to install the applications there and then.
With this option, you can directly download and install apps onto your wrist on wearable gadgets such as the LTE version of the Apple Watch 4, without the need to be with your iPhone.
Apart from this, it will free up space on your iPhone since you can limit the services you only make use of on your wrist to your Watch, instead of having the same apps across two devices.
watchOS 6 is set to bring at least 3 new applications to your wrist. Apple Books is one of these apps, which lets you listen to audiobooks via Bluetooth headphones instead of having to put up with the discomfort from reading a hefty tome on your wrist.
Voice Memos is another app that will also be introduced to your wrist, allowing you to speak into your wrist for note-taking instead of using your iPhone.
For the very first time, Calculator app is also coming to watchOS.
We have always had 3rd-party options on Apple Watch; however, this represents the first time we will have the official Apple app on wearable software.
There is another new feature in the Apple Watch app: This is a tool for easily calculating tips or your share of the bill.
watchOS 6 Watch Faces
The newly announced software update will introduce new watch faces in your Apple Watch, known as Modular Compact, Solar Dial, Gradient, California, as well as Numerals, face. There is also a new complication for watch faces, enabling you to keep tabs on the volume level in a room you are in so that you can check if any risk of damaging your hearing crops up.
Taptic chimes are another feature in the update and can be included on all watch faces. This option will tap your wrist, silently, every hour (on the hour mark) to allow you to monitor the time, and if you put the sound on, you will hear an audible chime.
Every Apple Watch feature is offered with priority placed on your privacy protection. None of the sounds or audio in your environs are sent to Apple or saved by the Noise app; it is only the decibel level that gets sampled. The info from the health features in Apple Watch, such as the new Cycle Tracking app and others, can easily be seen in the redesigned Health app on the upcoming iOS 13. Also, all your data is encrypted on-device, and if you opt for iCloud backup, your data gets encrypted in iCloud.
Other watchOS 6 Updates
- New developer tools contain an audio API for streaming music, radio & podcasts; in addition to an API for providing extended runtime for session-based activities, like meditation and physical therapy; and Core ML now employs the Apple Neural Engine on Apple Watch Series 4, which brings about faster processing of on-device inputs.
- Siri search queries have the capability to display webpage results in full on your Watch.
- With Apple GymKit, compatibility is extended to brands like Octane Fitness, TRUE Fitness as well as Woodway, which connect Apple Watch to more cardio equipment in clubs all over the globe.
WatchOS 6 Pricing and Availability
On Monday, the developer preview of watchOS 6 was released to members of Apple Developer Program at developer.apple.com. The new software features are scheduled for public release this fall. They will be coming as a free software update for Apple Watch Series 1 or later versions that are paired with iPhone 6s or higher, powered by the new iOS 13 & higher software version. Features of watchOS 6 are subject to change and may vary from one region, language or device to the other.
You can order new Apple Watch band colours on apple.com and on your Apple Store app. They are also available at Apple Stores, in addition to some Apple Authorized Resellers as well as carriers in the United States and more than 35 countries & regions.