watchOS 7: 7 things you need to know about the Apple Watch’s new update

Apart from iOS 14, iPadOS 14 and MacOS Big Sur, Apple has also announced its latest watchOS 7 that will be released later this year. The new update brings a host of new features which will motivate you to sleep better and to ensure that you wash your hands properly, which is quite vital in the current pandemic situation.

More customisation with rich complication

You can now customise your Apple Watch face further with more personalisation options. There are new watch faces including a new tachymeter that can calculate your speed based on time travelled over a fixed distance. Developers can also offer more than one complication per app on a single watch face, and this allows you to display more information than ever.

Sharing Watch Faces made easy

Apple Watch users will now be able share their personalised watch faces easily with others through Messages and Mail. In addition, users can also download specially configured watch faces directly from the App Store or through links via websites and social media channels.

New workouts including dance

To cover more fitness activities, watchOS 7 will offer more workout types that use both heart-rate and custom-built motion algorithms. You can now use the Apple Watch to track core training, dance, functional strength training and cool down workouts.

In order to measure your dance workout, the Apple Watch combines data from the heart rate sensor along with inputs from the accelerometer and gyroscope. This would allow it to measure the different body-to-arm motions associated with dance. According to Apple, the dance workout has been tested with various dance exercise including Bollywood, cardio dance, hip-hop and Latin.

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The Activity app on the iPhone has also been renamed to Fitness. And it features a new redesign that provides a clearer overview of your activities.

Siri Translation from your Wrist

If you need help with translating, you can get help from Siri without taking your iPhone out from your pocket. It can support 10 languages including Mandarin, French, German, Spain, Italian, Japanese and Korean.

Sleep Tracking

For the first time, Apple now supports Sleep Tracking for the watch. To help you get better sleep at night, you can set sleep goals and your devices will gradually wind down and reduce distractions just before your bedtime. The Sleep Tracking app uses the accelerometer to detect subtle movements associated with sleeping and to differentiate between sleeping and waking states.

When you wake up, you can view your sleep report from your wrist. You can also view your sleeping trend for the past week or so from your iPhone. It will even remind you to charge your Watch and you’ll get a notification on your iPhone once it is fully charged.

Hand Washing Detection

Apple says their Watch is the first to offer automatic detection of hand washing. It uses machine learning to detect the motion of a hand wash and it uses audio to confirm that you’re washing your hands. Once confirmed, it will automatically start a countdown for 20 seconds guided by audio and haptic feedback.

If you stop halfway, it will remind you to continue washing. Once you’ve washed your hands for 20 seconds, you’ll be alerted that your time is up.

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Only for Apple Watch Series 3 and above

Unlike iOS 14 which supports older devices like the iPhone 6s from 5 years ago, the new watchOS 7 is only compatible for the Apple Watch Series 3 and above. This means you won’t get to enjoy the new features on the original Apple Watch from 2015, as well as Apple Series 1 and Series 2.

At the moment, the Apple Watch Series 3 is priced from RM849 for the 38mm version and RM999 for the larger 40mm variant. They have recently released the LTE variant that costs RM450 extra.

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Alexander Wong