Apple Watch users will get their hands on some new features with the release of watchOS 5 this spring. Most of the improvements are aimed at keeping you active and in touch with your apps and contacts.

Activities

  • Auto workout detection and end alerts – now your Apple Watch will know when you start a workout, as well as when you stop, so no more forgetting to start or stop your timer
  • Activity competitions for comparing activities and goals, and even a few smack-talk responses to send to them when you win
  • New exercise modes for tracking Yoga and Hiking. Yoga tracks your heart rate, while hiking includes elevation, distance and heart rate
  • New running mode with new features to keep you challenged such as rolling mile (km), target pace and cadence

Communication

  • Walkie talkie – this is a fun way to keep in touch. You pair up with another person by sending them a request, and then you simply push to record a quick voice grab and send it to your recipient. They can do the same on the other end
  • Apple Podcasts support has finally arrived on Apple Watch, so you can enjoy your favourites while exercising or on the go without your iPhone
  • Third-party app notifications are coming to the Siri watch face as well as the new Siri ‘shortcuts’ announced with iOS12
  • Notifications will become more ‘actionable’ so if you get a Qantas flight notification, for example, you can tap on it to get further information

Other stuff

  • You also no longer need to say ‘Hey Siri’ – just raise your wrist with the Apple Watch and Siri will consider this as a voice trigger
  • 3rd party apps can now play audio in the background and will be great for guided meditations, audiobook apps and more
  • A new Pride day rainbow wristband and matching iOS watch face are available today
  • Webkit comes to watchOS meaning you can open links sent in messages and view a special version of web pages

For more on the WWDC announcements, check out our summary here.

GadgetGuy was Apple Australia’s guest at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose.