Apple’s WWDC press conference was packed with new features for all its numerous operating systems, and the Apple Watch’s watchOS 6 had some of the most interesting-including a new app store, various improvements, additions to its health tracking features, and even some new aesthetic options. Here are all the watchOS 6 features Apple showed off at WWDC 2019.
watchOS Apps and App Store
One of the biggest new watchOS changes was the announcement that the Apple Watch will now have its own dedicated App Store. Users will be able to browse, purchase, and download watchOS app directly to the Apple Watch.
Part of the new watchOS App Store announcement was the confirmation of new native Apple Watch apps that will work on the device itself, independent of an iPhone or iPad. These include new apps developed with Apple’s newly released streaming audio API for watchOS. This means that dedicated audio streaming apps can run on Apple Watch without iOS devices required. One such app is an MLB radio app that will let you stream to live games on Apple Watch.
Other new Apple Watch apps include a voice notes app, a new audiobook app, and a built-in calculator that features a tip calculator that can even split the bill between multiple payers.
New health features
Apple also announced new and expanded health and wellness features found on watchOS 6.
- Activity Trends: New “trends” in the Apple Activity app will keep track of your daily activity, and provide users with readouts of how their activity levels change over time. These can let you know if you’re maintaining, improving, or even regressing. Apple says that these are aimed at long-term motivation.
- Menstrual Cycle Tracking: With watchOS 6, Apple Watches will now help users track their menstrual cycles. User will be able to track specific symptoms and severity, and after time, will get a readout of what their expected cycle is. Similarly, those trying to conceive will be able to track their fertility window in the app as well. While announced first for watchOS, the cycle tracker is also available in the iOS health app.
- Hearing health: By using the Apple Watch’s onboard mic, this feature detects the decibel levels and alert you sounds around you could be dangerous to your hearing. While this is a smart feature, we all know that devices recording us can be sketchy. Thankfully, Apple Watch does not record or save audio from the hearing health feature. Instead, the app will only periodically sample the Apple Watch’s mic and does so entirely on the device and not on remote servers.
- Private health tracking in iOS health app: All of the above health and wellness data that your Apple Watch keeps tabs on-and much more-can be viewed both on the watch and in the iOS Health app. Apple says that this information is stored privately and locally on your devices or encrypted on iCloud, and nothing is shared without your express permission. Users have the option to choose how much health info they share.
New watch faces, bands
There will be new watch faces as well. Among the most interesting are a new Gradient face that lets users apply a personalized gradient color scheme from a selection of colors; Two new Extra Large faces that will show large watch numbers he showing jumbo numbers, with selectable fonts and colors; and a solar tracking face that will display the current location of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun.
The Apple Watch can also show new types of onscreen information as well, such as how much is left in a current audiobook, new precipitation and weather info, and ambient noise levels.
Lastly, there were new colors and watch bands announced, including a new Pride-themed rainbow band.