The Apple Watch is the world’s most popular wearable. watchOS 6 adds useful features to monitor health and boost productivity.
Apple was late to the smartwatch game, however, they arrived with a product that most consumers prefer. Their closest competitors, Samsung and Fitbit, ship about one-quarter as many smartwatches as Apple. Unlike smartphones, Apple has completely dominated the wearable industry.
watchOS is now a mature operating system and will soon be on its sixth revision. The newest version, watchOS 6, offers significant improvements.
Tracking health and vitality has always been a key feature of most wearables. Embedded sensors on the Apple Watch facilitate tracking vital statistics. watchOS 6 now lets users monitor background noise exposure, issuing warnings when loud sounds can potentially damage hearing. The Noise app is built in to watchOS 6.
The new Cycle Tracking app allows women to track their menstrual cycle. Users input information about their period, such as date and flow level, and Siri eventually learns their cycle and issues relevant Notifications.
Voice Memos, a fixture on iOS, has finally arrived on watchOS. The feature makes it easy to quickly record audio directly on the Apple Watch. Audio recordings can be synced with iCloud.
One of the most important developments is that watchOS 6 brings independent apps to the Apple Watch. A watchOS app no longer needs an iPhone counterpart. This gives the Apple Watch more independence, while clearing iPhone Home screens. Users were becoming weary of so many unused apps cluttering their Home screen. This feature could be the start of the Apple Watch becoming more autonomous. It’s possible that future versions of watchOS could enable cellular models to operate independently of the iPhone.
watchOS 6 brings many other new features. It introduces the new California watch face, as well as offering a built-in calculator. The latter seems like an obvious app, however, UI design proved challenging.
As with all new operating systems, major versions can introduce new defects. If your Apple Watch is a mission critical device, it may be best to postpone the software update until you know its safe and reliable.