Apple unveiled watchOS 10 along with the iOS 17, and iPadOS 17 at the WWDC event. The update brings significant enhancements to the Apple Watch, including redesigned apps, a new Smart Stack, additional watch faces, improved cycling and hiking features, and tools for promoting mental health.
watchOS 10 brings several noteworthy features:
- Redesigned Apps: Apps like Weather, Stocks, Home, Maps, Messages, World Clock, and more provide more information at a glance and improved navigation on the Apple Watch display. The Activity and Fitness apps offer enhanced tracking, sharing, and a redesigned trophy case.
- Smart Stack: A new widget stack that adapts to the user’s context. It displays relevant information, such as weather or boarding passes, based on the time of day or user activities.
- Developer Updates: Developers can utilize the new design language to update their apps. Examples include Streaks, the NBA app, and Waterllama, offering improved functionality and design.
- Control Center: Accessible with the side button, making it easy to open over any app. Double-clicking the Digital Crown reverts to recently used apps.
- New Watch Faces: Palette and Snoopy watch faces bring artistic and joyful visuals. Palette displays time using shifting colors, while Snoopy features interactive elements based on weather conditions and user activities.
- Cycling Enhancements: Improved metrics, views, and experiences for cyclists. Automatic workout synchronization between Apple Watch and iPhone, optimized workout views on iPhone, and support for Bluetooth-enabled cycling accessories.
- Hiking Features: The Compass app generates waypoints for cellular connection and emergency calls. Elevation view, topographic maps, and trail search capabilities in Apple Maps enhance hiking experiences.
- Mental Health Support: The Mindfulness app allows discreet logging of emotions and moods. The Health app provides insights on associations and lifestyle factors affecting mental health, including depression and anxiety assessments.
- Vision Health: Apple Watch can measure time spent in daylight, promoting eye health and well-being. The Screen Distance feature encourages users to maintain a healthy distance from devices to reduce myopia risks.
- Data Security: Health app data, including mental health and vision health data, is encrypted when the device is locked with a passcode, Touch ID, or Face ID.
Additional features in watchOS 10:
- NameDrop: Share contact information easily by bringing Apple Watch close to someone’s iPhone or face-to-face with another Apple Watch.
- Offline Maps: Access turn-by-turn navigation, estimated arrival time, and places in Maps on iPhone without Wi-Fi or cellular services. Compatible with paired Apple Watch.
- FaceTime: Playback FaceTime video messages and support for Group FaceTime audio on Apple Watch.
- Medications: Medications app sends reminders if a medication hasn’t been logged 30 minutes after the scheduled time.
- Apple Fitness+: Custom Plans offer personalized workout or meditation schedules. Stacks allow seamless back-to-back workouts or meditations. Audio Focus prioritizes music volume or trainer’s voice.
- Enterprise: Enhancements for productivity and safety in the workplace, including hands-free communication, Fall Detection, and Mobile Device Management (MDM) support for remote app installation and configuration.
- APIs for Workout App Developers: Access to high-frequency motion data for analyzing swing mechanics in sports apps. Custom Workouts integration for coaching platforms like TrainingPeaks. Validated calorie tracking for golf workouts. Enhanced cycling metrics and workout mirroring between Apple Watch and iPhone.
watchOS 10 beta is available now for developers and will be released for users next month. The watchOS 10 update will be available for free this fall for Apple Watch Series 4 or later and iPhone Xs or later with iOS 17.
Commenting on the launch, Kevin Lynch, Apple’s Vice President of Technology, said:
watchOS is the best system for smartwatches, and it has changed how people everywhere see what a watch can do. watchOS 10 is a big update and a new way for Apple Watch, with a new look for seeing information, fun new watch faces, new features for bike riders and walkers, and helpful tools for health.