Apple on Monday officially announced watchOS 6, the next major update to the company’s mobile operating system. The next-generation of watchOS is packed with new apps, health platforms and other features. Here’s what you should know.
New Apps and App Store
For the first time since the wearable operating system was launched, watchOS will be getting its own standalone version of the App Store.
That means users will be able to download and install apps onto their Apple Watch devices without the use of their iPhone. The store will be navigated through scribble, dictation or by asking Siri using voice commands.
watchOS 6 will also be getting several apps that have been missing from the platform, including an Audiobooks app, Voice Memos and Calculator — the latter of which will also include built-in a tip calculator.
Developers will also be able to create independent apps that will no longer require an iPhone companion app. As far as other notables APIs, users will be able to add live-streaming abilities to their watch apps in the new version of the platform.
New Health Apps
The Activity app has been updated with new features, such as Activity Trends — which will compare nine metrics over a period of time. It will also coach users into improving those metrics, including mood, walking pace and others.
Apple Watch will also keep your hearing intact. There’s a new Noise app that will detect ambient noise levels and warn you if environmental sounds can be damaging to your hearing health. It, however, doesn’t record or save any audio.
The lack of a menstrual cycle tracking app has long been a criticism of watchOS. But in watchOS 6, Apple is fixing that with its Cycle Tracking app. The app lets users track their cycles, log symptoms, and gives them a slew of insights about their overall reproductive health.
Apple has also redesigned the health app with new highlights and summary data, which will let users get a bird’s-eye view of their health at a glance.
New Watch Faces
As you might expect, Apple is adding several new watch faces to watchOS 6. That includes new a minimalist Gradient Face, Numeral Face and Digital Infograph face. A couple of notable additions include a classically styled California Dial face and a Solar Face that will track the current position of the sun.
There’s also a new ability to make some watch faces monochromatic, while all faces are customizable with various rich complications. Some faces will now support Taptic chimes, which will silently “tap” a user on the hour and play a sound if it’s enabled.
Apple has also added a slew of other miscellaenous features, such as automatic song detection via Shazam, a redesigned Walkie-Talkie app, smart guidance in Apple Maps, and new wind and chance of rain complications.
The company is also launching a new set of watch band colors, including a new Pride Edition watch band that will match the existing Pride watch face.