The next-generation of watchOS is here. Apple officially unveiled watchOS 4 during yesterday’s WWDC keynote. While not as big a leap forward as last year’s upgrade to watchOS 3, the new software does continue to refine and improve the Apple Watch experience. Here’s an overview of what to expect.
Siri watch face and more
Buzz Lightyear and friends from the "Toy Story" franchise will be available as watch faces in the new software.
While we didn’t get a watch face store, Apple did add even more faces to the mix. Easily the biggest is the Siri option.
Throughout the day, the face will change dynamically depending on what’s happening. It will take information from Activity, Alarms, Breathe, Calendar, Maps, Reminders and Wallet. A complication on the face gives quick and easy access to Siri as well.
I’ve been using the face since downloading the first beta version last yesterday and have been impressed.
Another new face is the fun Kaleidoscope that turns images into different patterns just like the toy. It’s not exactly my favorite but might come in handy when using macOS High Sierra.
Apple also promises new Toy Story faces with Buzz Lightyear, Jessie, and Woody. Those aren’t included in the first beta version, though. Hurry up, Apple.
A new look for the Dock
All apps in the Dock are now presented in a vertical configuration that can be scrolled through with the Digital Crown.
The marquee improvement in watchOS 3, the Dock, is also taking on a new look. Instead of the horizontal alignment, all of your selected apps are now presented in a vertical fashion.
Using the Digital Crown makes it easy to scroll between each one even though you can still simply use your finger on the screen. The new design reminds me much more of the app switcher in iOS, and that’s definitely a good thing.
Unfortunately, the dreaded and useless app honeycomb is still present and the default app view. But surprisingly, Apple has quietly added another way to view your watch apps. Just Force Press on the honeycomb and select list view. Your apps will then be presented with a much more traditional list. It’s not exactly perfect, but at least Apple is listening.
Redesigned Music and Workout apps
Both the Music and Workout apps are sporting nice makeovers.
Music lovers should definitely be happy to use the redesigned app on the watch. It will now automatically sync your New Music Mix, Favorites Mix and most listened to music from the service.
Along with a new look, the stock Workout app can now be used for the popular high-intensity interval training workout.
It will also automatically count sets for pool wins as well.
For fitness fans who like to combine their workouts, it now easy to measure overall calories burned and time measurements. When done with one workout type, just swipe right to and select “New.”
During a workout, the Apple Watch will now automatically turn on the Do Not Disturb feature so you can focus on fitness.
Personalized notification should help make your fitness routine even better.
Along with the new look to the stock Workout app, the Activity app will better help users meet their fitness goals, close their Activity Rings, and create longer success streaks.
Each morning, you’ll see a personalized notification to suggest what can be done to match the previous day’s activity levels and more. Near the end of the day, you’ll see exactly how much more work is needed to close the Activity Rings. There will also be unique and personalized monthly challenges.
Speaking of fitness, GymKit will soon allow gym rats to pair their Apple Watch with gym equipment like treadmills, ellipticals, indoor bikes, and stair steppers from major manufacturers like Life Fitness and Technogym.
Data like calories burned, distance, speed, and more will sync between the watch and gym equipment for the most accurate results.
Arriving this fall
The software will officially arrive sometime this fall.
The first developer beta of watchOS 4 was released yesterday after the WWDC keynote. The software will go through a number of beta versions before officially being released to the public sometime this fall.
Do you have any questions about watchOS 4? Let us know and we’ll do our best to answer them.