Apple Watch OS and tvOS updates at WWDC 2018
5 June 2018
Watch OS 5 was announced at WWDC 2018 this week, bringing with it an array of new features. One of our favourites is the new Competitions feature in the Activity app. Set you and your friends a 7 day challenge and earn points by being active, during the competition you can see your own stats, your friend's and also your current ranking within the competition. We run a Close the Ring challenge here among our staff using a third party application so we’ll definitely be trying this one out when its released!
Watch OS 5 also brings a couple new workout types to those currently available including Yoga and Hiking. The later recognises elevation gain ensuring you get the work out points that come with increased gradient. The Outdoor Run workout now includes your rolling mile statistics, which let you know how fast you ran in the preceding mile. You can also set a custom pace alert which will notify you when you go above or below the pace you’ve set.
If you own an Apple Watch you’ll know the frustration of starting a work out but forgetting to log your session or ending a work out and forgetting to stop it on your watch. Watch OS 5 now brings automatic workout detection which will intelligent recognise when you’re active and retroactively assign the steps you’ve already done. It can also recognise when you’ve slowed down and finished your workout and will prompt you to end the session on your watch.
Another brand new feature is Walkie Talkie - it works by sending your friend a request to talk, once they accept once you’ll be able to chat live to them across WiFi or Cellular when ever you want. We’re feeling nostalgic already!
The Siri Shortcuts that are being introduced in iOS 12 on iPhone and iPad will also be available via the Siri watch face, again making day to day actions a little quicker and efficient. You also no longer have to say ‘Hey Siri’ when you raise your wrist and instead can fire straight in to your question. Notifications will also now show a preview of links (similar to iOS messages) as WebKit is included in Watch OS 5 - we recognise trying to read websites on a tiny Watch screen seems a little daft, but its a nice feature to quickly preview the content that you’ve been sent before you move on your iPhone.
Lastly, and we’re excited about this one, is that Apple Podcasts are now available on Apple Watch! Looking forward to trying it out on our next run!
Apple Watch OS 5 will be available for Series 1 and newer (not compatible for Series 0) and should be released as a free download later this year.
Apple TV 4K
While we’re here, Apple TV also got a few updates at WWDC. The 4K Apple TV is now compatible with Dolby Atmos, a revolutionary sound system that directs sound in three dimensional space creating an entirely immersive experience. You’ll need a compatible sound bar for your television, and Dolby Atmos quality streaming will be made available as part of your iTunes subscription for a free upgrade on all supported titles. Apple TV 4K is also now partnering with cable providers worldwide to become the go to device for streaming your digital and on demand content. We’re unsure so far of any Irish or UK TV suppliers linking in to this service, but we think watch this space over the next year. Lastly, aerial app on the Apple TV also now includes some stunning pictures for the International space station.
The new tvOS update will be made available in autumn, usually around September.