During the WWDC 2018 keynote, the latest version of watchOS was unveiled for the Apple Watch. watchOS 5 will be coming to most Apple Watch owners later this fall and is chock full of new features.
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As expected, Apple has been making a big shift in health and fitness with the Apple Watch. watchOS 5 is the latest iteration and brings along with it some much-requested features and more.
In previous versions of watchOS, you could share your activity with other Watch owners. This is being expanded with watchOS 5 with Activity Competitions.
Users will be able to challenge their friends, family, and coworkers to 7-day competitions. You will earn points for closing rings, while also receiving notifications “to help stay engaged and win the week”.
For some strange reason, Auto-Workout Detection was not a feature found on the Apple Watch. That is changing with the latest watchOS iteration, as your watch will automatically detect when a workout has started.
A notification will appear on your wrist, asking for confirmation. From there, you can act on those notifications and not worry about your workout being tracked.
When the workout has been completed, your Apple Watch will ask if you have finished. You will confirm the end of the workout and your progress will be logged.
Speaking of workouts, Apple is bringing two new workout types with watchOS 5. Yoga and Hiking are the two types, with heart rate, pace, and elevation being tracked.
For the runners out there, Apple is adding a new cadence (steps per minute) metric. This will be tracked regardless of indoor or outdoor runs and walks.
There is also an alarm that for when you are running behind or ahead of the targeted pace. Rolling mile pace is another new option coming to view the pace for the preceding pace.
The wait for a dedicated podcasts app on the Apple Watch is over. watchOS 5 will bring a new Apple Podcasts app to the Watch.
Podcasts progress will sync across all of your devices, ensuring that you can pick up and go regardless of your device. Additionally, you can use Siri from your Watch to search and find any podcast available.
iOS 12 and watchOS 5 both will bring new improvements for Siri across the board. Siri Shortcuts will be shown with the updated Siri watch face, along with suggestions.
These suggestions can include something like your “Drive Home Playlist” at the ready on your wrist. There is also new integration with some of your favorite apps. These integrations allow your workout apps to suggest workouts and more when you have free time.
Notifications was a big focal point of the new iOS 12 release. The same can be said about watchOS 5. Apple has improved notifications, bundling them together for various apps.
This will help clear up your notification shade, along with making specific notifications more actionable. Additionally, these actionable features are coming to more apps, making it easier to take care of things from your wrist.
In addition to the health and fitness features coming, there were a few extra goodies thrown in.
You may remember that when Apple demo’d the Apple Watch a few years ago, there was a walkie-talkie app. This made you feel like you were the real Dick Tracy, but the app was nowhere to be found.
It turns out that Apple has been working on this app behind the scenes. Walkie-Talkie allows Watch users to easily communicate with each other.
You will simply press a button on the side, speak, and an audio clip will be sent to the other person. Then, the recipient can listen to the message and respond with a clip of their own.
Customizable Control Center
While you can customize just about every aspect of your watch faces, you can’t do the same with Control Center. That’s changing with watchOS 5.
You will now be able to customize Control Center, making it easy to arrange things the way you want. You can do so by swiping up to activate CC, scrolling all the way down, and tapping “Edit”.
In Edit Mode, all of the icons will begin wiggling, similar to iOS apps on the iPhone and iPad. Tap and hold the icons you want to move and place them where you want.
The final major addition coming with watchOS 5 is WebKit support. This makes it possible for you to view web pages from your wrist.
If a link is embedded in a text message or email, you can tap on it to load the page. Once the link has been loaded, your wrist will vibrate allowing you to view the page and interact.
Apple has put quite a bit of work into watchOS 5 and this may be the best iteration yet. We want to hear from you though.
Sound off in the comments and let us know what your favorite feature of watchOS 5 is!