Apple has officially announced the next installment of its smartwatch operating system — watchOS 4 — this morning at WWDC 2017, which promises a myriad of exciting new features including interchangeable faces, advanced Siri capabilities, a whole new suite of fitness-focused tools, utilities, and more.
New Watch Faces, Dock, and Control Center Functions
First up, watchOS 4 will implement a new Siri-based watch face, incorporating advanced Siri integration with deep machine learning algorithms to help present users with a vertically-scrollable list of updates from their various Watch apps. Users will be able to browse this continuously-updated Siri face by simply twisting their Watch’s Digital Crown — and will also be able to receive up-to-the-moment updates from apps such as Wallet, Home, and 3rd party apps and much more.
Additionally, come watchOS 4, Apple’s wearable will feature a variety of additional Watch faces to choose from, including a new Kaleidoscope watch face — featuring a series of Digital Crown-controlled special effects, as well as new Disney character faces including Toy Story’s Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and Jesse for your customization pleasure.
The redesigned Dock in watchOS 4 also gains a new vertically-scrollable list interface, and an updated Control Center will boast a toggle for the new ‘Flashlight’ functionality on Apple Watch, allowing users to shift the device’s display into a flashlight, or a blinking warning light for when you’re running outdoors at night, for example.
Advanced Workout Functions
watchOS 4 is also gaining a host of new features to help you get the most out of your workout. New monthly challenges, for example, will focus on a variety of broader personal fitness achievements that you’ll be able to complete within a designated calendar month. Improvements to the Apple Watch’s achievements feature will likewise bring a host of new animations and new UI elements for easier navigation. Adding additional workouts to your daily routine has also become much easier, and can be done by simply tapping the (+) icon on the screen in watchOS 4.
Apple Watch will also be able to communicate seamlessly with as much as 80% of all NFC-enabled gym equipment, according to Apple, such as commercial machinery from leading manufacturers like Cybex, Schwinn, and Life Fitness. This feature will afford users a more accurate and comprehensive breakdown of their workout statistics. Moreover, by linking your watchOS 4-powered device with a compatible piece of gym equipment, you’ll also be able to get a more accurate reporting of heart-rate, incline, and other key details about your workout.
New Music App
Apple Watch chief, Kevin Lynch, also showed off a newly redesigned Apple Music app for Apple Watch, which is geared, first and foremost, to improve the AirPods listening experience. In watchOS 4, not only will users be able to sync multiple playlists with their Apple Watch at one time, but the overall look and feel — now featuring new music controls built directly into the workout app for easy navigation — has been redesigned.
When Will watchOS 4 Be Available?
Starting today, watchOS developers will be able to download the first preview of watchOS 4 — while the first public versions of the OS will be released later on this fall.