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watchOS 6 adds the App Store and several new health and fitness apps

By Ng Chong Seng - on 4 Jun 2019, 3:30am

watchOS 6 adds the App Store and several new health and fitness apps

At its annual developer conference today, Apple has announced the next major version of its smartwatch OS, watchOS 6. Building on the last major release that is watchOS 5, watchOS 6 has several additions that should delight existing Apple Watch users.

First up: new dynamic watch faces, namely Modular Compact, Solar Dial, California, Gradient, and Numerals. Like the current suite of faces, some of these new faces focus more on design (gradients, bold colors, large fonts, etc.), while some work alongside with complications and are more practical.

watchOS 6 includes a few new watch faces.

Apps are the other big story for watchOS 6. For a start, the App Store is coming to the Apple Watch. This means you can discover, search, and purchase apps right on your wrist. Apple is allowing standalone watch apps, too, which means a companion iPhone app is no longer a must.

For developers, Apple has announced a new extended runtime API for session-based tasks, a new streaming audio API for music, radio, and podcast-type apps, and a new native UI framework.

The new watchOS 6 also includes several new built-in apps, such as Audiobooks, Voice Memos, and Calculator. The Calculator app allows you to easily calculate tips and split group bills.

watchOS is finally getting its own App Store.

New built-in apps include Voice Memos, Audiobooks, and Calculator.

Many people buy the Apple Watch as a health and fitness tool, and in this department, watchOS 6 has brought several new improvements, including a redesigned Health app with an easy-to-understand summary view. Machine learning is applied for the app to show you highlights that are interesting to you (e.g., heart rate trends).

The Activity app is also getting activity trends. In a nut, the new Trends tab will show you if the trends are up or down for key metrics (e.g., active calories, exercise minutes, walking pace) to help you better visualize their progress. The app will even offer tips to get you back on track if the last 90 days of activity shows a downward trend relative to the last 365 days.

Staying with health, watchOS 6 will come with a brand-new Noise app that can monitor surrounding noise levels. And the watch can send a notification if the decibel level reaches 90 decibels. There’s also a Cycle Tracking app for women to track their menstrual cycles. Users can also use this app to see predicted timing for their next period and fertile window. To make this feature available to as many users as possible, Cycle Tracking will also be available in the Health app on the iPhone with iOS 13.

The new Noise app will help users understand the sound levels in environments (e.g., concerts) that could negatively impact hearing.

If you don't have an Apple Watch, know that the Cycle Tracking feature is also coming to the iPhone via the Health app in iOS 13.

New watch bands, too!

Last but certainly not the least, Apple has introduced new summer watch bands. The Sport Band and Sport Loop is now available in Canary Yellow, Dragon Fruit, and Cornflower; and there’s a new Pride Edition Sport Loop.

The developer preview of watchOS 6 is available to Apple Developer Program members starting today. The public release is expected to arrive in fall as a free software update for Apple Watch Series 1 or later.

Source: Apple.