Apple announces watchOS 7, with Face Sharing, handwashing timers, and more.
Apple has debuted watchOS 7 at WWDC 2020, featuring sleep tracking and handwashing monitoring, all set to release to all users in the fall.
WWDC 2020 kicked off Monday, and there's been no shortage of new updates and featured for all our favorite Apple devices. The Apple Watch is no different, as Apple announced the upcoming release of watchOS 7.
Complications and new faces
The new Chronograph Pro watch face includes a tachymeter to calculate speed based on the time it takes to travel a fixed distance.
Developers can allow more than one complication per app on a single watch face, too. Apple gave the example of Glow Baby, which allows parents to track multiple things, such as breast-feeding, bottle-feeding, diaper changes, and nap times all from a single watch face.
Now users can share their Apple Watch faces, the same way users can share Shortcuts. If you see an Apple Watch layout you like, the creator has the option to share it via a URL or Messages. If you wish to share your watch faces, you'll be able to long-press it to bring up an option to share it with others.
Apple Maps has been expanded in watchOS, with the ability to receive turn-by-turn directions that prioritize cycling paths. Cycling directions are large, easy to read, and prompt users when they encounter steep inclines or stairs. Users can even choose to avoid stairs altogether.
Now that Siri's been redesigned, and thanks to Siri's on-device dictation, Apple Watch users should see improved dictation for search queries and voice-to-text messaging in Messages. Users will also be able to access Siri's new translation features.
With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, good hygiene is more important than ever. Starting in watchOS 7, Apple Watch now automatically detects when you're washing your hands and encourages you to wash them for at least 20 seconds. The Health app on the iPhone will show the frequency and duration of the user's handwashing and provide helpful tips for limiting the spread of disease.
Last year saw the introduction of the Noise app, which aimed to protect users' hearing by monitoring ambient noise and alerting users when hearing damage could occur. Apple is now expanding its dedication to hearing health by alerting users' when audio from headphones is too loud.
If a user reaches the weekly limit for safe listening — about 40 hours of audio played at 80 decibels — they will receive an alert on their Apple Watch, and the sound will be turned down. Users will also be able to see how long they've been exposed to high decibel levels for the week and can set maximum volume levels for safe listening.
The Apple Watch has always been a health-forward device, and with watchOS 7, users are getting a new way to close their rings. Apple Watch can track dance workouts, core training, functional strength training, and cooldowns. Now, watchOS 7 combines data from the heart rate sensor and accelerometer to track calories burned while dancing accurately.
New to watchOS 7, users will now be able to track their sleep with Apple Watch. Apple has chosen to take a holistic approach to sleep health, giving users the tools to set up healthy sleep routines, meet their sleep goals, and get better sleep. The Apple Watch will track users' micro-movements to monitor sleep, and in the morning, users will see a chart of their sleep habits on both their iPhone and Apple Watch.
WatchOS 7 brings new mobility metrics to the Health app, including low-range cardio fitness, walking speed, stair speed, walk distance, step length, and gait asymmetry. While Apple does not appear to have a first-party app in the works for the mobility metrics, developers will be able to use them for their own app projects.