With version 8 of its smartwatch operating system watchOS, Apple is continuing the focus on health and fitness: The Apple Watch will in future measure the breathing rate during sleep and will inform users of any noticeable changes, as the company announced on Monday. As new workout types, the smartwatch will then support Tai-Chi and Pilates.
The breathing app is being replaced in watchOS 8 by a mindfulness app, which, in addition to breathing exercises, also leads through “self-reflection”, according to Apple. Third-party apps can use a new interface to support the always-on display of newer Apple Watch models for outputting data. Other Apple apps such as Maps and “Now is running” should also be always-on in the future.
Wallet app saves IDs
With watchOS 8, the integrated wallet app supports functions such as storing your ID card and driver’s license – for the time being, however, only in some US states. Selected checkpoints from the US Transportation Security Agency (TSA) will accept these digital IDs. The first cars can in future be unlocked and started using the digital car key using a watch (from Series 6) with ultra broadband. So far, only BMW has announced support in the iX electric SUV.
New apps and functions
With watchOS 8 there is also an app for contact management on the watch, and the new focus mode of iOS 15 is supported. A revised home app supports the intercom function of the HomePods and shows live images from HomeKit video bells. In addition, the watch will also be able to locate other Apple devices and objects integrated into the “Where is?” Network – for example via AirTag.
With the AssistiveTouch operating aid, the watch can in future be controlled by gestures without having to touch the display. Apple has already shown this in advance. The timer app will also support creating (and naming) multiple timers in the future.
WatchOS 8 will be available to the general public in the fall, and Apple plans to offer a public beta from July. The operating system runs from Apple Watch Series 3, iOS 15 is required on the associated iPhone for installation.