Apple says it is brining even more "impactful" features to help Apple Watch users stay healthy, active, and connected.
Apple announced watchOS 8, the next major software update for Apple Watch during its virtual Worldwide Developer Conference or WWDC 2021 opening keynote event on Monday. With the new update, Apple says it is brining even more “impactful” features to help Apple Watch users stay healthy, active, and connected. Some of these features include a “reimagined” Breathe app, new workout types including Tai Chi and Pilates, sleeping respiratory rate tracking and Messages and Photos app enhancements.
The developer preview of watchOS 8 is now available to Apple Developer Program members, and a public beta will be available in July. The final version will be rolled out for all Apple Watch models, Series 3 and later paired with iPhone 6S and above, sometime in September.
Apple is turning the Breathe app into a “Mindfulness” app with an immersive new animation and session type called “Reflect” that will help you focus and just be in the moment through “thoughtful” ideas like say, “Recall a time recently when you felt a sense of calm. Bring that feeling into this moment,” or “Reflect on one thing you’re grateful for and think about why you appreciate it so much.”
Building on existing sleep tracking, Apple is adding sleeping respiratory rate to Apple Watch with watchOS 8. This means, it will be able to detect the number of breaths per minute while sleeping and then collate this data in the Health app on your iPhone. Apple says this feature will be available for developers with “permission” through HealthKit so they can incorporate it in their apps.
The watchOS 8 update will also bring “Focused” notifications, that Apple is simultaneously also launching on iPhone, iPad and Mac through iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and macOS Monterey. This will filter notifications from contacts and apps based on the profile you set (work/sleep/do not disturb) and reduce distractions.
Apple is also adding a new Portraits watch face in addition to updating the built-in Photos app to bring Memories and Featured Photos to Apple Watch.
Elsewhere, updates are also coming for Apple Pay and Wallet users (where these services are available), Home app, and in a first for Siri, Apple’s voice assistant will finally be able to set multiple timers – but only on Apple Watch.