watchOS 4

Michael Si­mon re­veals the op­er­at­ing sys­tem’s new fea­tures

Macworld - - Contents -

The Ap­ple Watch might still feel like a new prod­uct, but its al­ready on the fourth ver­sion of watchOS. And each one has brought some pretty ma­jor changes. Ver­sion 2 brought night­stand mode and third-party com­pli­ca­tions, and ver­sion 3 in­tro­duced the dock, a new Breathe app, and bet­ter over­all nav­i­ga­tion.

How­ever, watchOS 4, un­veiled at the World­wide De­vel­op­ers Con­fer­ence key­note in San Jose, is more of a main­te­nance re­lease than a full new ver­sion.

Still, it brings some cool new ways to in­ter­act with our favourite apps and add a lit­tle fun to the screen we see the most. Here’s ev­ery­thing we know so far about watchOS 4, in­clud­ing a few new fea­tures that we can’t wait to try.

Com­pat­i­ble de­vices

Ap­ple Watch is a new enough prod­uct so no mod­els are ex­cluded from the new ver­sion. Whether you own one of the orig­i­nals, or a Se­ries 1 or a Se­ries 2 watch, you’ll be able to in­stall watchOS 4 when it ar­rives.

Re­lease date

Ap­ple will re­lease watchOS in the au­tumn, most likely on the same day as it re­leases iOS 11 for down­load.

Public beta

Un­like iOS and OS X, Ap­ple hasn’t pre­vi­ously of­fered a public beta pro­gram for watchOS. It’s pos­si­ble that changes this year, but we have no rea­son to think it will. So to try it out be­fore the masses you’ll need to sign up for a de­vel­oper pro­gram mem­ber­ship for £99 per year. How­ever, if you do de­cide to go that route, keep in mind that Ap­ple doesn’t al­low you to down­grade to an ear­lier watchOS ver­sion with­out tak­ing it into an Ap­ple Store for re­pair.

watchOS 4 FAQ Has the nav­i­ga­tion changed?

A lit­tle. The Dock that holds your apps your apps now scrolls ver­ti­cally rather than hor­i­zon­tally, mak­ing bet­ter use of the Dig­i­tal Crown. You can also choose to ditch

the hon­ey­comb home screen with a new list view that will sim­ply dis­play a ver­ti­cal list of your in­stalled apps.

What’s the Siri face?

The big­gest change to watchOS 4 is the ad­di­tion of a few new faces, most no­tably a Siri face. Built for peo­ple who crave a steady stream of in­for­ma­tion on their wrists, the Siri face will au­to­mat­i­cally dis­play the most rel­e­vant info based on the time, your lo­ca­tion, and your rou­tine. For ex­am­ple, if you usu­ally drive to work at 8am, it will dis­play the traf­fic, or if you use HomeKit to shut your lights at night, that but­ton will ap­pear at bed­time. Ad­di­tion­ally, you can ro­tate the crown to cy­cle through the var­i­ous cards. When­ever you raise your wrist, the face will dy­nam­i­cally up­date with the lat­est bit of rel­e­vant info, and if you need to know some­thing that isn’t dis­played, you can also tap the new Siri com­pli­ca­tion to ask a ques­tion.

What’s the Kalei­do­scope face?

Where the Siri face of­fers al­ways-chang­ing in­for­ma­tion de­signed to keep you or­ga­nized and mo­ti­vated, the kalei­do­scope face of­fers al­ways-chang­ing pat­tern de­signed to keep you happy. Just like those long tubes that you held up to the light and ro­tated to change shape, the new kalei­do­scope face uses your pho­tos to cre­ate a cir­cu­lar pat­tern that con­stantly moves and changes through­out the day.

Are there re­ally Toy Story faces?

Yup. Woody, Jesse, and Buzz join Mickey and Min­nie as Ap­ple Watch faces, but there’s a twist. In­stead of

us­ing their hands to show the hour and minute, the faces fea­ture a sim­ple dig­i­tal clock and date and let the char­ac­ters frolic around it. And each time you raise your wrist to check the time, you’ll get a ran­dom lit­tle an­i­mated vi­gnette.

Enough about faces. Tell me about fit­ness.

Ap­ple has tweaked the Ac­tiv­ity app to make us a lit­tle more likely to use it. Achieve­ment progress alerts will let you know if you’re close to ac­com­plish­ing a goal or tell you what you can do to match yes­ter­day’s num­bers. And there will also be per­son­al­ized monthly chal­lenges that in­spire you to push a lit­tle harder. And in case you need a lit­tle more mo­ti­va­tion, there’s also a cooler an­i­ma­tion when you close all three rings and even big­ger cel­e­bra­tions for hit­ting monthly mile­stones.

Has the Work­out app changed too?

Ap­ple has made the Work­out app eas­ier to use with a new in­ter­face that puts a quick start but­ton front and cen­tre. Also up­graded is the app’s swim­ming ca­pa­bil­i­ties, adding dis­tance and pace track­ers as well as auto sets, so if you’re swim­ming laps it will rec­og­nize when you rest at the edge of the pool. There’s also a new op­tion for High In­ten­sity In­ter­val Train­ing and the abil­ity to swipe to add a new work­out to the same ses­sion. And you’ll also be able to set a playlist to start au­to­mat­i­cally when your work­out be­gins.

What if I work out at a gym?

If you use gym equip­ment such as a StairMaster or tread­mill to burn your calo­ries, you can now tap into all of data in­side it us­ing a new two-way data ex­change fea­ture will keep your met­rics in sync. Ap­ple has

part­nered with top brands, in­clud­ing LifeFit­ness, Cy­bex and Ma­trix, to equip their ma­chines with NFC read­ers that will seam­lessly sync to your watch.

Any changes to mu­sic?

The Mu­sic app now au­to­mat­i­cally syncs mu­sic based on your tastes, and nav­i­ga­tion is now al­bum-art based, let­ting you use the crown to scroll through your songs like on a tiny dig­i­tal juke­box. And if you’re a playlist junkie, you can now send more than one to your watch.

Any new apps?

For now, all we know is that there will be a new Ap­ple News app for the watch, which will dis­play head­lines on the Siri face and let you save ar­ti­cles for later read­ing on your phone.

What’s this about a flash­light?

Ap­ple is adding a new flash­light icon to the Con­trol Cen­ter that will let you see in the dark or use it as a blink­ing safety light when cy­cling. Ap­ple hasn’t shown us ex­actly how it will work, but pre­sum­ably it will put a bright white screen on the watch for il­lu­mi­na­tion.

Any im­prove­ments to Ap­ple Pay?

With watchOS 4, you can send pay­ments to your friends right on your watch. You’ll be able to send money to any­one in your con­tacts us­ing Ap­ple Pay, and they’ll re­ceive the money in their new Ap­ple Pay Cash ac­count. Then, they’ll be able to trans­fer it to their bank ac­count or keep the funds around for fu­ture Ap­ple Pay pur­chases.

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