Why watchOS 5 gives your Ap­ple Watch a boost

The orig­i­nal £8,000 Ap­ple Watch won’t be able to get it, though. Michael Si­mon re­ports

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS -

With ru­mours swirling about the first Ap­ple Watch re­design due to land in the au­tumn, Ap­ple used its WWDC key­note to fo­cus on some of the new fea­tures in watchOS 5. The new fea­tures just might keep some of those old mod­els in cir­cu­la­tion a lit­tle longer – though not the orig­i­nal Watch, which will be dropped from watchOS 5 com­pat­i­bil­ity.

From work­outs to watch faces, ver­sion 5 is shap­ing up to be one of the best up­grades to watchOS in years,

and we can’t wait to get our hands... er, wrists on it. Here are five rea­sons why it’ll be a must‑up­grade.

1. Fit­ness fea­tures

Ap­ple Watch is al­ready one of the best fit­ness track­ers you can buy, and watchOS 5 is only go­ing to make it bet­ter. It starts with the Ac­tiv­ity app. In­stead of just track­ing your own ex­er­cise, you’ll be able to set up weekly com­pe­ti­tions with friends as you bat­tle to earn those pre­cious badges.

Work­outs have been en­hanced as well. There are new pre­sets for yoga, hik­ing, and out­door run­ning, which will track things like your heart rate, el­e­va­tion, and ca­dence. Your watch will also be able to au­to­mat­i­cally de­tect when a work­out has started and let you know if you’ve for­got­ten to end it.

2. Walkie-Talkie

While our Ap­ple Watches al­ready of­fer cool ways to com­mu­ni­cate, Ap­ple is adding an­other one in watchOS 5: Walkie‑Talkie. Af­ter a one‑time re­quest dur­ing setup, you’ll be able to con­tact other Ap­ple Watch users just by tap­ping a Talk but­ton on the screen – with­out dialling, typ­ing, or doo­dling. And it’ll work over Wi‑Fi or LTE, so you’ll never be out of range.

3. Siri watch face

Since its in­tro­duc­tion in watchOS 4, Siri has quickly be­come a favourite watch face, and it’s get­ting a host of im­prove­ments in watchOS 5. First off, there will be new cards for sports scores, maps, and heart rate, as well as sup­port for the new Siri Short­cuts in iOS 12. But best of

all, devel­op­ers will be able to get in on the fun with a new API that lets third‑party apps ap­pear on the face as well. And fi­nally, there will be no need to say “Hey Siri” any­more. Just raise your wrist and start talk­ing.

4. In­ter­ac­tive no­ti­fi­ca­tions

No­ti­fi­ca­tions on Ap­ple Watch are mostly a pas­sive ex­pe­ri­ence out­side of Ap­ple’s core apps, but we may be in­ter­act­ing with them a whole lot more in watchOS 5. While phone alerts will still mainly be short­cuts, Ap­ple is let­ting devel­op­ers build but­tons into no­ti­fi­ca­tions in watchOS 5, so we don’t need to bounce to an app just to turn on a work­out or check into a flight.

Fur­ther­more, with grouped no­ti­fi­ca­tions, you’ll be able to see full con­ver­sa­tions with­out scrolling through un­wieldy list of alerts. And when you get a link in Mail or Mes­sages in watchOS 5, you’ll ac­tu­ally be able to view it on your tiny screen thanks to We­bKit sup­port.

Add it all up, and we’ll have even fewer rea­sons to pull our phones out of our pock­ets.

5. Pod­casts and back­ground au­dio

Ap­ple is fi­nally bring­ing the Pod­casts app to the watch. That means you’ll be able to lis­ten to your favourite pod­casts on your watch, with synced play­back across all of your de­vices so you’ll be able to pick up right where you left off. And one more thing for mu­sic lovers: third-party apps will now be able to keep their au­dio play­ing in the back­ground, which opens up the pos­si­bil­ity of a Spo­tify app.

Third-party apps will be able to add their own cards to the Siri watch face in watchOS 5

iOS 12 will let you lis­ten to your favourite pod­casts on your Ap­ple Watch

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