Apple announces watchOS 9 with new watch faces and health features
Apple today previewed its upcoming watchOS 9 update at WWDC. The new update includes improvements to the watch faces, Workout app, sleep stages, a first of its kind AFib History, and medication tracking.
watchOS 9 includes four new watch faces. These include Lunar, Playtime, Metropolitan, and Astronomy. watchOS 9 also includes updates to existing watch faces; The Portraits face now highlights the depth effect on photos with cats, dogs, and landscapes, while some of the classic watch faces like Modular, Modular Compact, and X-Large now feature customizable background colors and gradients.
The Workout app has been updated for displaying more information and metrics. The addition of custom workouts lets you create a structured workout with custom work and rest intervals. New alerts, including pace, power, heart rate, and cadence can also be added.
For triathletes, the Workout app now supports a new Multisport workout type that automatically switches between any sequence of swimming, biking, and running workouts, using the motion sensors to recognize movement patterns.
For runners, watchOS 9 now shows additional running metrics, including stride length, ground contact time, and vertical oscillation, to help improve your running. Those who run on frequently used routes can now race against their previous best or last result. A new pacer mode tells you the pace you need for a selected distance and time goal.
Apple has improved sleep tracking with introduction of sleep stages. The Apple Watch can now provide breakdown of REM, Core, and Deep sleep in the app.
Next, watchOS 9 brings AFib history for those diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. The Apple Watch can now track your heart rate for AFib and show how frequently does the heart rhythm show signs of AFib. Users will get weekly notifications and a detailed history in the Health app. A PDF of it can be downloaded to share with doctors.
Lastly, watchOS 9 also adds Medications, which lets you manage and track your medications and supplements, with schedules and reminders. In the US, you will also get alerts if there are potential critical interactions with the medications they have added in the Health app.
Other new features include kickboard detection and SWOLF score for swimmers, Home app support in Family Setup, new Quick Actions, Apple Watch Mirroring for controlling the watch through the iPhone’s assistive features, and redesigned notifications.
watchOS 9 will be available on compatible Apple Watch models later this year.