Apple today previewed watchOS 5, a significant update to the world’s most popular watch, helping users stay healthy and connected. Apple Watch becomes an even stronger companion for fitness, communication and quick access to information with a host of new features including Activity Sharing competitions, auto-workout detection, advanced running features, Walkie-Talkie, Apple Podcasts and third-party apps on the Siri watch face.
“We’re thrilled with the positive impact Apple Watch is having on people’s lives,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. “Apple Watch is helping our customers stay connected, enhance their fitness and, in many cases, detect life-threatening conditions. With the launch of watchOS 5, we’re excited to introduce new activity and communications features that will take the Watch to a whole new level.”
Building on the excitement around Activity Sharing, watchOS 5 now enables users to invite another Apple Watch wearer to compete in a seven-day Activity competition, earning points for closing Activity Rings, while receiving coaching notifications to help stay engaged and win the week.
For the most popular workouts on Apple Watch, auto-workout detection provides an alert to start the correct workout and gives retroactive credit. This feature also offers a reminder to end workout sessions after a period of inactivity if the user forgets.
Yoga and Hiking join 12 other dedicated workout types, accurately tracking active calories burned and exercise minutes earned.
New Running Features
watchOS 5 delivers high-performance features for running enthusiasts, including a new cadence (steps per minute) metric for indoor and outdoor runs and walks, as well as a new pace alarm for outdoor runs that alerts users when they are behind or ahead of their designated target pace. A brand new metric — rolling mile pace — is introduced as an additional option for runners to see their pace for the immediately preceding mile in addition to their average pace or current pace.
watchOS 5 introduces Walkie-Talkie, an entirely new way to communicate with voice and just a tap of the wrist. A fun and easy way to quickly get in touch with friends and family, this new watch-to-watch connection is fast, personal and can be activated between any compatible Apple Watch users around the world over Wi-Fi or cellular.1
Apple Podcasts App
Users can now listen to their favourite podcasts on the go with Apple Podcasts on Apple Watch and stream any podcast in the catalog by using Siri. Episodes will automatically sync to Apple Watch, and as they’re listened to on other devices, the app will automatically refresh with the latest episode. A new feature for developers allows music, audiobooks and meditation sessions from apps such as Pandora, Audible and 10% Happier to be synced to Apple Watch for playback offline without the user’s iPhone nearby.