Apple introduced HealthKit during its WWDC 2014 keynote and since then the company has continued to add more health-focused tools to its devices. The release of iOS 11.3, for example, brought along the capability to view official medical records on your iPhone while the Apple Watch can monitor your heart rate. Today, Apple announced more features for the Apple Watch including automatic workout detection and more measures for runners.
First, Apple announced that Watch users will be able to challenge friends to seven-day competitions. You’ll be able to invite friends to join you and your Apple Watch will keep track of both your and your friends’ progress, sending notifications along the way to keep you engaged. You’ll be able to see where you stand amongst the other competitors and as you close your activity rings, you’ll earn points. At the end of the competition, you’ll receive an award if you win.
Also new to Watch with watchOS 5 are two new workout modes — yoga and hiking. And runners will have a couple of new measures to track their progress. The Apple Watch will keep track of your rolling mile pace — or how fast you ran the immediately preceding mile — as well as your steps per minute, or cadence. Additionally, users will be able to set a custom pace alert and the Watch will notify you when you’re running above or below that pace.
Lastly, watchOS 5 will introduce automatic workout detection. When the Watch notices activity that signals the start of a workout, it will ask if you want to start tracking it, and it will give you retroactive credit when you start logging the activity. When it notices that activity has decreased, it will also ask if you’re done.