Apple today previewed watchOS 9 , which brings new features and enhanced experiences to the world’s leading wearable operating system. Now, Apple Watch users will have more watch faces to choose from, and richer add-ons that provide more information and opportunities for personalization. The updated Workout app has advanced metrics, views, and training experiences inspired by high-performance athletes to help users take their workouts to a new level. watchOS 9 provides the Sleep Phases feature for the Sleep app and a new FDA-approved feature, an atrial fibrillation history record, which provides more detailed information about the user’s condition. The new drug app makes it easier for users to manage their medication, understand it, and keep track of when to take it easily and quietly.
“Users around the world love Apple Watch because it helps them stay connected and connected with loved ones, stay more active during the day, and take better care of their health,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s general manager of operations. This fall, watchOS 9 will advance the Apple Watch experience with science-based information in areas like fitness, sleep and heart health, while offering users more innovative ways to personalize their Apple Watch.”
Watch faces for every taste
The Apple Watch experience begins with watch faces, which give users the opportunity to express their own style while connecting them to important information at a glance through extensions. watchOS 9 introduces four new interfaces: the “lunar” calendar interface, which depicts the relationship between the Gregorian calendar and the lunar calendar used in many cultures such as Chinese, Islamic, and Hebrew; the Playtime interface, a dynamic and unique piece of art for the Apple Watch created in collaboration with artist Joy Fulton; the Metropolitan, a model-driven watch face where the style changes when the Digital Crown is rotated; and Astronomy, an original redesigned interface featuring a new star map and existing cloud data.
watchOS 9 introduces enhanced and updated add-ons for some of the more classic watch faces, such as the Utility interface, the Simple interface, and the Activity Analog interface, as well as the customization of background colors for the Modular interface, the “synthetic compact” interface, and the “Extra Large” interface for further customization. The new Portrait interface displays a depth effect on more images, including cats, dogs and landscapes, while Chinese texts have been added as options for the “California” and “Typography” interfaces. Focus now allows users to choose an Apple Watch face to automatically appear when a particular focus feature is launched on the iPhone, such as the Photo interface through Personal Time Focus mode, to help keep users focused.
Workout app updates
The Workout app, one of the most popular apps on Apple Watch, has been updated, bringing richer performance metrics as well as new exercise experiences to help users achieve their fitness goals. And now the familiar screen during sessions uses the Digital Crown to alternate between easy-to-read workout displays, so you can Users can see important metrics for different exercise styles. Heart rate zones, which can be created manually or automatically calculated using custom health data, can be used to monitor exercise intensity. Phase training is an important part of any workout plan, and in watchOS 9 the Workout app offers custom workouts that can be used to create a structured workout that includes phases of work and rest. New alerts including speed, power, heart rate, and step rate can be added to guide the user through the exercise.
For triathletes, the Workout app now supports a multi-sport type of workout that can automatically switch between a series of sports including swimming, cycling and jogging, and motion sensors recognize movement patterns. And when each workout is completed, the redesigned workout summary page in the Fitness app provides additional details with interactive charts for more accurate analysis.
The Apple Watch is already a powerful tool for runners, and watchOS 9 is adding more data and features to help see how well users are running. Metrics for running patterns, such as stride length, ground contact duration, and vertical oscillation, can be added to the measurements in the Workout view. These metrics appear in the Fitness app summary and in the Health app, where users can see trends over time and learn from patterns.
Users can choose to match their best or most recent score on the tracks they use the most, and receive alerts during exercise about their speed progress or delay, as well as when they deviate from the lane. Moreover, the new speed limiter experience allows users to choose the distance and target for the time they want to finish a running workout, and calculates the speed required to achieve the goal. While exercising, they can follow the provided speed and measurements alerts.
Swimboard detection has been added as a new type of motion in Pool Swim, using sensor integration into Apple Watch to automatically detect when users have been swimming with a swim board and classify the movement in the workout summary along with the distance traveled. Now swimmers can track their swimming efficiency with the result on the SWOLF scale. The SWOLF scale calculates the number of strokes and the time in seconds taken to swim a certain distance in the pool. Users can see the average SWOLF score for each group in the exercise summary.
Get more out of your Fitness+ workouts
Apple Fitness+ is the #1 fitness and wellness service designed specifically for the Apple Watch, for everyone. It intelligently integrates real-time exercise measurements from the Apple Watch directly onto the screen using iPhone, iPad or Apple TV, motivating users of all levels from start to finish. And with watchOS 9, Fitness+ now displays on-screen instructions as well as workout trainers to help users get the most out of their workouts, including: Intensive Phase Training, Cycling, Rowing, and Treadmill; strokes per minute for rowing; cycling rpm; And incline walkers and runners in treadmill exercises.
Now, Fitness+ subscribers who don’t have an Apple TV can use AirPlay to stream exercise and meditation sessions with measurements displayed on TV screens and compatible third-party devices, letting them work out anywhere, anytime.
The Apple Watch Sleep app experience is already enabling users to create rest schedules and bedtimes, and also track their sleep to help achieve their goals. And watchOS 9’s sleep tracking provides more information with the introduction of the sleep stages feature. Apple Watch can detect rapid eye movement, or whether the user is in basic sleep or deep sleep using accelerometer and heart rate sensor signals. Users will see sleep stage data on their Apple Watch in the Sleep app and can see more detailed information like sleep time, along with additional metrics like heart rate and breathing rate, with sleep comparison charts in the iPhone Health app.
Machine learning models have been tried and validated against the clinical gold standard, polysomnography, with one of the largest and most diverse populations of a wearable device ever studied. As the science of sleep is still being explored, users will be able to help with potential discoveries by contributing their sleep stage data to the Apple Heart and Movement Study through the Research app.
The history of atrial fibrillation is unprecedented
Currently, the ECG and arrhythmia notification app on your Apple Watch can identify potential signs of atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation, if left untreated, can be a major cause of a stroke.
Research indicates that the length of time a person has atrial fibrillation can affect symptoms, overall quality of life, and risk of complications. Previously, there was no easy way to track the frequency of atrial fibrillation over an extended period of time or control lifestyle factors that could affect a person’s condition. According to the American Heart Association, treatment of modifiable lifestyle factors can reduce how long atrial fibrillation lasts. 1
With watchOS 9, people diagnosed with atrial fibrillation can turn on the FDA-approved atrial fibrillation history 2 and access important information, including an estimate of how often the heart rhythm shows signs of atrial fibrillation, More detailed on user status. Users also receive weekly notifications to understand pace and see a detailed history in the Health app, including lifestyle factors that can affect atrial fibrillation such as sleep, alcohol consumption and exercise.
Users can download a PDF with a detailed history of atrial fibrillation and lifestyle factors, which can be easily shared with clinicians and caregivers for more informed conversations.
The new drug trial on Apple Watch and iPhone helps users manage and track medications, vitamins and supplements, allowing them to create a medication list, set schedules and reminders, and view information about their medications in the Health app. And the Medicines app on Apple Watch makes it easy and confidential to keep track of when you take your medications, vitamins, and supplements anytime, anywhere.
Custom schedules can be created for each medication, whether it needs to be taken multiple times a day, once a week, or when needed, and users can set up alerts to help them keep track. In the US, users can receive an alert if there are potential critical interactions with medications they have already entered into the Health app. 3
Privacy is central to the design and development of all Apple features. And when your iPhone is locked with a passcode, Touch ID, or Face ID, all of your health and fitness data is encrypted in the Health app except for your Medical ID. An iCloud backup of any data from the Health app is also encrypted while it’s in transit or saved on our servers.
Additional updates in watchOS9
- Getting information right is an important part of the Apple Watch experience, and in watchOS 9 , notifications have been redesigned to reduce user interruption while remaining effective, and appear as new, slim banners when actively using your Apple Watch.
- Family Setup now supports the Home app, so inviting a child to be a member can control HomePod speakers and smart home accessories 4 and use the home and hotel keys in Wallet.
- With the new Quick Actions feature on Apple Watch, users can do more with a two-finger pinch gesture including answering or ending a call, taking a photo, playing or stopping media in a running app, and starting, stopping or resuming a workout. It complements the innovative technology used in Apple Watch’s Assistive Touch feature, which gives users with disparities in the upper body the option to control the Apple Watch via gestures such as fist or finger pinch without having to tap the screen.
- Using Apple Watch is easier than ever for people with physical and mobility impairments with Apple Watch Mirroring
, which helps users control Apple Watch remotely from paired iPhones.With Apple Watch Mirroring, users can control their Apple Watch using the features iPhone assistance such as Voice Control and Switch Control, so they can navigate their Apple Watch using their voice, voice actions, head tracking, or external triggers designed specifically for the iPhone as alternatives to tapping on the Apple Watch screen. 5 Apple Watch Mirroring uses hardware and software integration, and improvements to AirPlay, to make sure users who rely on these motion features can take advantage of unique Apple Watch apps like Blood Oxygen, Heart Rate, Mindfulness, and more.
- The QWERTY keyboard on Apple Watch Series 7 adds support for French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese (Brazil), and Spanish (Mexico, Spain, and Latin America).
- Actively used apps are now pinned to the rest of the apps in the redesigned Dock , making it easier for users to get back to them quickly.
- The Reminders app now allows users to add or edit basic details such as date and time, location, tags, and notes.
- Stay productive with the updated Calendar app by creating new events right from your Apple Watch. For the first time, users can access a week view as well as an updated list, day, and month view to support more scrolling through calendar events.
- Cardio Recovery is a useful fitness measure that can be an indicator of cardiovascular health. Your Apple Watch can provide estimates of your Cardio Recovery after walking outside, jogging, or hiking, and even when your workout isn’t peaking. The scale can be tracked over time in the Health app.
- New APIs let developers build industry-leading third-party apps, with CallKit and ShareSheet support, easy access to a photo picker, and the ability to integrate watchOS apps with Apple TV.