Along with improvements to watch faces, Workout app, and sleep stages, watchOS 9 will also introduce a first-of-its-kind AFib History and medication tracking.
If you’re a tech fiend, chances are you’ve been perusing the news headlines for word coming out of Apple’s annual WWDC. For those wielding an Apple device, be it the phone or watch, the event hits like Christmas: there’s the same sense of anticipation, nervous excitement and then, come the unveiling of new products, specs and software updates, an unbridled enthusiasm that takes over the body and threatens to form itself into dance moves. Once again, the WWDC 2022 didn’t disappoint as far as new developments go and if there’s one thing to takeaway from the event, it’s that new improvements to the Apple Watch series promise to help you level-up your health and fitness.
Apple announced the latest update to its upcoming watchOS 9 during the WWDC, with the new update bringing improvements to running tracking, heart-rate zone tracking, and custom workout creation. All this boils down to the fact that the Apple Watch is set to become even getter at fitness tracking, and you’re going to reap the benefits. Along with these fitness updates, there will be a number of health updates coming to the watch, including sleep tracking and AFib tracking. To keep you in the loop, here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming watchOS 9 and its most important features.
Improved running metrics
For those who enjoy logging miles, be it on the treadmill or outdoors, there’s plenty to be excited about as far as watchOS 9 goes. The Apple Watch will now be able to track running metrics like stride length and ground-contact time, while also automatically tracking your most common routes so you can race against yourself next time you lace up and get out there. For those chasing PBs or simply looking to get faster, it’s a particularly great update as the watch will alert you as to how you can beat your best time. You can also set a goal time for your run, with the watch keeping you on track with alerts and metrics as you go.
It goes without saying that fitness is a personal pursuit – we all have our own likes and dislikes when it comes to movement and those workouts that leave us feeling energised and refreshed. Thankfully, you don’t have to be a runner to get a sense of enjoyment out of the watchOS 9 updates from the WWDC 2022. Rather, a number of updates have been designed to enhance the workout experience and activity tracking for a range of pursuits. For triathletes, motion sensors will be used to automatically change tracking for each kind of activity, giving you a detailed, specific readout at the end of your workout.
For those who love swimming, Apple Watch will now be able to give you a SWOLF score, with stroke count combined with the time it takes to swim the length of the pool. Heart-rate zone tracking will also allow you to track intensity, allowing you to see just how hard you’re working and whether you might be going too hard.
Custom Workouts is also an exciting new feature being introduced to the Apple Watch, with users being able to create a structured workout that can include work and rest intervals. Alerts surrounding pace, power, heart rate, and cadence can then be used to guide users throughout the workout.
As we all know, health is holistic and encapsulates far more than just exercise and the physical. Knowing this, Apple Watch has improved health features like sleep tracking, with watch users now being able to track things like REM, core, or deep sleep int he Sleep app, as well as detailed information like time asleep, heart rate, and respiratory rate. This data can be accessed in the Sleep app so users can get a more detailed picture of their sleep.
The ECG app and irregular rhythm notification on Apple Watch is a particularly useful tool, allowing users to identify potential signs of atrial fibrillation (AFib) which is one of the leading conditions that can result in stroke, if left untreated.
According to research, the amount of time spent in AFib may impact a person’s symptoms and overall quality of life. But despite the severity of the condition, little has been done in terms of tracking the frequency of AFib over an extended period of time, or managing lifestyle factors that may influence one’s condition. Now, the watchOS 9 is seeking to change this, allowing users diagnosed with AFib to turn on the FDA-cleared AFib History feature, accessing important information and an estimation of how frequently a user’s heart rhythm shows signs of AFib.
As well as providing greater insights into the condition, this feature will also send weekly notifications to users to help them better understand frequency and also view a detailed history in the Health app. Users are able to download a PDF with a detailed history of their AFib and lifestyle factors, which can then be shared with doctors and care providers for more informed conversations.
A particularly useful tool, Apple Watch and iPhone will now help users manage and track their medications, vitamins and supplements by helping them to create a medications list, set up schedules and reminders, while also being able to view information on their medications in the Health app. It makes tracking medications easier than ever, with Apple Watch allowing for convenient and discrete tracking. Custom schedules can be created for each medication, regardless of whether it needs to be taken multiple times a day, once a week, or as needed.