Apple has previewed watchOS 5 at its annual Worldwide Developers conference.
“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.”
Building on the excitement around Activity Sharing, watchOS 5 now enables users to invite another Apple Watch wearer to compete in a seven-day Activity competition, earning points for closing Activity Rings, while receiving coaching notifications to help stay engaged and win the week.
For the most popular workouts on Apple Watch, auto-workout detection provides an alert to start the correct workout and gives retroactive credit. This feature also offers a reminder to end workout sessions after a period of inactivity if the user forgets.
watchOS 5 delivers high-performance features for running enthusiasts, including a new cadence (steps per minute) metric for indoor and outdoor runs and walks, as well as a new pace alarm for outdoor runs that alerts users when they are behind or ahead of their designated target pace.
watchOS 5 introduces Walkie-Talkie, an entirely new way to communicate with voice and just a tap of the wrist. A fun and easy way to quickly get in touch with friends and family, this new watch-to-watch connection is fast, personal and can be activated between any compatible Apple Watch users around the world over Wi-Fi or cellular.
Using machine learning, the updated Siri watch face on Apple Watch is an even better personal assistant. It now offers more predictive and proactive shortcuts throughout the day based on routines, locations and information such as heart rate after a workout, or commute time with Maps at the appropriate time of day. The Siri watch face will also show actionable content from favourite third-party apps such as Nike+ Run Club, Glow Baby and Mobike.
Notifications from third-party apps can now have interactive controls and be used without needing to open the app: for example, a Yelp reservation notification will have the option to modify the time or change the number of guests right from the notification.
Apple also released a new watch face to celebrate Pride, which Apple Watch users can download from the Face Gallery in the Apple Watch app. The Pride Edition Woven Nylon band is updated with a new rainbow stripe with a donation being made to LGBTQ advocacy organisations.