The newest version of the operating system for Apple Watch has been unveiled, and, as is par for the course, the first developer beta has also been released.
Apple today officially seeded the eighth developer beta of watchOS 5. The new software is available as a standard update through the Watch app on connected iPhones for registered developers. To update, the Apple Watch must be connected to the iPhone, must have at least 50 percent battery life, and also be connected to the charger through the update process.
watchOS 5 adds new features with a focus on fitness and connectivity. Here they are:
- Competitions: The Apple Watch running watchOS 5 can host 7-day competitions between friends and family members. One point for each percentage of a ring you close. Progress is updated on a regular basis, with yourself and with your friends who are part of the competition. If you win you will get a specialized reward for doing so.
- Running and Yoga Workouts: There is a new workout type for yoga, which focuses on heart rate. That calibrates with your fitness level with the rest of your day as well. There is the addition of hiking, too, with elevation gain and length of the trek. With running, watchOS 5 will also keep track of rolling mile pace, which is how fast you ran the previous mile. There is a custom pace alert, so the watch will alert you if you’re above or below. And current steps-per-minute will also be tracked, thanks to a new cadence feature.
- Walkie Talkie: The Walkie-Talkie feature will let you talk in short bursts with a friend or family members. First, choose who you want to talk with. The Watch will offer suggestions, too. There is a one-time request for a walkie-talkie request, and, if they accept, you can initiate a conversation at any time. There is a beep-beep sound that notifies of an incoming conversation. It works over both Wi-Fi and a cellular connection.
- Siri: The Siri watch face is getting new complications, including a resting heart rate, sports scores, and more. There are new Siri Shortcuts, as related to iOS 12, which will let you start a series of events based on your location, the time, and if you request Siri directly. Third-party apps are being used on the Siri watch face, too. So information from apps like City Mapper, Nike+ Run, and more will be supported right on the watch face. Apple Watch owners using watchOS 5 will also be able to simply lift the Apple Watch up and start talking to Siri without using “Hey, Siri” to invoke the feature.
watchOS 5, like the other major platform updates, will arrive later this year.