Apple has previewed watchOS 7, and it’s clear the company is bent on addressing some longstanding omissions. For one, it finally has sleep tracking and management — you can not only choose to wind things down on both your Apple Watch and your iPhone, but measure the quality of your sleep through traits like micro-movements. The watch dims and shuts off when you’re asleep, and you’ll get info when you wake up (including battery life, in case you need to charge). A new approach to alarms on your watch will use haptics and gentle alarms to ensure you wake up on time without annoying your partner.
To deal with the pandemic, Apple is adding automatic hand washing detection with a countdown to let you know when it’s time to stop scrubbing. This isn’t completely new to smartwatches, but it’ll definitely be helpful if you’re determined to stay virus-free.
Your health takes a more prominent role. The Activity app has been renamed Fitness, and on the iPhone has a “streamlined” redesign that provides a clearer view of your habits. The watch version includes additional workouts like dancing, core, functional strength and even your cooldowns. Noise warnings now include a warning when you reach the WHO’s recommended weekly amount of headphone listening. And just as in iOS 14, Maps on the Apple Watch now has cycling-specific directions.
You can also share watch faces, so your friends won’t have to wonder how to get the look you spent a long time creating. Third-party apps can provide different info across multiple complications. And there are new complications, including a tachymeter on a new Chronograph Pro face and a supersized complication on the X-Large face.
Siri translations are available on-device with the watch, too.
WatchOS 7 is available to developers right today, and Apple is finally making public betas available for watchOS starting in July. Get ready to replace your wristwear if you’ve been holding on to one of the older models, though. The new release will require at least an Apple Watch Series 3, so those with Series 1 or 2 are out of luck.