Apple Introduces watchOS 4 w/ New Watch Faces and Lots of Features

Thursday, 08 Jun, 2017

Apple Watch owners will also find a redesigned Apple Music app included with improved support for playlists, native core Bluetooth support, screen autorotate and background navigation. Apple Watch, additionally, will tap into your workout history and suggest milestones accordingly.

Siri now shows an information stream quite like Google Now on your Apple Watch. With watchOS 4, customers doing back-to-back workouts or training for a triathlon can combine multiple workouts to capture overall calorie and time measurements.

The tech giant is debuting a Siri watchface - or "Siri Face" - that can change dynamically based on your routines and the apps that you use. Other watchfaces have come along such as the Kaleidoscope face and characters from Disney's "Toy Story" franchise. Updates to the Activity app reflect that usage. The company is making it a bit more personal for each user with a couple small additions. For example, you'll be able to set monthly challenges and check them off as you complete them. While we are likely to see some upgrades to features and internal components, it's likely that the most significant changes will be in how the watch uses the fitness features of the wearable OS. You can also control your music playing during a workout by swiping on the watch and hitting play or pause. If needed, toward the end of the day, they'll be told exactly how long they should walk to close their Activity Rings before the day is over. The software update will introduce more swim training sessions as well as an auto-set feature that enables the Watch to know when you've stopped for a rest at the side of the pool and automatically count that as a set. Apple Watch-enabled gym equipment will begin rolling out this fall. This is a feature many heart rate monitoring chest straps have, but not many modern smartwatches or fitness trackers.

WatchOS 4 will also bring updates to the watch's fitness tracking, including a new user interface for the workout app and new integrations with gym equipment manufacturers. The update is a substantial release for existing Apple Watch owners but it wasn't accompanied by any new hardware for people not yet bought into the ecosystem. You can easily play music, rotating the crown to get your playlist running.

Health developers say this is a promising sign that Apple will open up new pathways for them to create their own interchangeable watch bands laden with health sensors.

At WWDC 2017 Apple previewed what's coming to WatchOS 4 in fall 2017.