Apple announced watchOS 5 during yesterday’s WWDC in San Jose, including lots of new activity and connectivity features, such as 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.”
First up we have Activity competitions, inspired by the popularity of Activity Sharing; with watchOS 5 you’ll be able to challenge another Apple Watch owner to compete in a 7-day Activity competition, where you earn points by closing Activity Rings, and will also receive coaching notifications to keep you going.
Another new feature, Auto-Workout Detection, will provide an alert to start the correct workout for the most popular Apple Watch workouts, and also give retroactive credit. It will also remind you to end your workout after you’ve been inactive for a certain amount of time.
Workouts are always incredibly popular on Apple Watch, of course, so it’s no surprise that there are some new workouts in watchOS 5, with Yoga and Hiking being added to the other 12 workout types available.
New running features included in watch OS 5 range from a new cadence (steps per minute) metric for indoor and outdoor runs and walks; a new pace alarm for outdoor runs; and a new metric, rolling mile pace, as an extra option for runners to view their pace for the immediately previous mile as well as their average or current pace.
Walkie-Talkie was another new watchOS 5 feature that proved to be particularly popular at the Keynote event, enabling you to communicate using just your voice and a wrist tap with any compatible Apple Watch user over Wi-Fi or cellular.
Podcast listeners will be glad to hear that Apple Podcasts are coming to Apple Watch with watchOS 5. Your podcast episodes will automatically sync to Apple Watch.
Siri watch face is another popular Apple Watch feature, and with watchOS 5 you now get improved shortcuts, thanks to machine learning. The Siri watch face will also be able to show actionable content from certain third-party apps, including Nike+ Run Club, Glow Baby, and Mobike.
A new Pride watch face and band was also announced to celebrate Pride month, along with new summer band colours such as Marine Green, Peach, and Sky Blue.
WatchOS 5 will be available this fall. The Pride watch face and woven band are available from today, and the new summer bands are available to order from apple.com from today.