Apple – at the WWDC – confirmed the existence of the watchOS 5 and the new features coming with it. Apple Watch is already the world’s most popular watch, and the new watchOS 5 features will extend its popularity even further.
“We’re thrilled with the positive impact Apple Watch is having on people’s lives,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. Further, the executive said that the watch is helping customers to stay connected, notify of life-threatening conditions and also enhance their fitness.
Talking of the new watchOS, Williams said that the new OS comes with new activity and communication features that would take the user experience to a whole new level. The new watchOS 5 features include Activity sharing competitions, auto-workout detection, Walkie-Talkie, advanced running features, Apple Podcasts and advanced third-party apps on the Siri watch face.
The Activity sharing competition is one of the most interesting WatchOS 5 features. Now, the Apple Watch wearer can challenge another Apple Watch owner to compete in a seven-day activity competition, earning points for closing activity Rings. Also, users get coaching notifications to help stay engaged and win the competition.
Another great feature is Auto workout detection, which would ring an alert to start the correct workout and awards retroactive credit. A user would also be notified of the end of the workout session after a period of inactivity, in case the user forgets to note it. The WatchOS 5 includes new workouts as well like Yoga and Hiking.
Apple launched built-in cellular connectivity for the first time in the fourth-generation Apple Watch, giving users the much-needed freedom to leave their iPhone at home. Now with the WatchOS 5, the company is adding the ability to communicate with other Apple Watch owners. The new Walkie-Talkie feature allows users to send quick voice memos back and forth over a cellular connection or Wi-Fi. The new feature could save time spent in calling and would also consume less data.
Apple also talked about new features coming to Siri in the forthcoming iOS 12, including customizable shortcuts. These shortcuts support a series of actions with a single voice command. According to the company, the WatchOS 5 would also get the new Siri shortcuts. Also, a user now would not have to say “Hey Siri” to use the assistant, simply raising the hand and start talking would be enough for the watch to know that there is a command that it needs to follow.
Further, the WatchOS 5 also allows users to listen to their favorite podcasts on the go. With Apple Podcasts, the watch users can stream any podcast in the catalog using Siri. Also, episodes will be automatically synced, and as they’re listened to on other devices, the app will automatically refresh with the latest episode.
The watchOS 5 also includes a student friendly feature that replaces their ID cards. By adding ID cards to the wallet on Apple Watch, a student can access places such as dorms, events, library or pay for food around the campus just by raising their wrists. “The program launches with Duke, the University of Alabama and the University of Oklahoma this fall. Johns Hopkins University, Santa Clara University and Temple University will bring the capability by the end of the year,” Apple says.
Further, to celebrate LGBTQ Pride month, Apple also released a new watch face that is available for download from the Face Gallery. Also, a Pride Edition woven nylon band has been released, which would be available on Apple’s online store.
Apple will make the watchOS 5 available as a free update this fall for the Apple Watch Series 1 and later. The OS supports iPhone 5s or later on the iOS 12. The developer version of the watchOS 5 beta 1 is now available to download. The public beta will be available sometime later this month, while the final version will be available later this fall.
In bad news for the original Apple Watch owners, the Cupertino, California-based company has confirmed that the WatchOS 5 won’t support the first-generation watch. This shouldn’t come as a surprise as Apple usually does not extend the support for too long, be it the original iPhone or other gadgets from the house of Apple.
The original iPhone got its last update in February 2010 or less than three years after the device was launched. Just like the first-generation iPhone, Apple Watch’s initial model has its limitations in terms of processor and hardware features, and therefore, it makes more sense to focus on the new models rather than upgrading the older watch.