The WWDC 2018 Keynote started off with a bang, and we are still picking through the pieces. While major updates were announced for both iOS and macOS, watchOS 5 was also announced.
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We are going to take a deeper dive into what’s coming with watchOS 5. This will give you an idea of what to expect when it comes to an Apple Watch near you, this Fall.
When the original Apple Watch was introduced, so was an app that made you feel like Dick Tracy. A few years later and Walkie-Talkie will finally be coming to watchOS 5 later this year.
Walkie-Talkie will let you press the side button, record a voice message, and send it to your friends. From there, the recipient will be able to perform the same tasks and keep the conversation going.
Those who have been clamoring for a dedicated podcast app on your Watch can now rejoice. Apple has announced that the Podcasts app will be coming to the Apple Watch with watchOS 5.
The app will sync your progress, subscriptions, and more, making it easy to listen to podcasts on your Watch. The app will also stream content over Wi-Fi or LTE with your paired Bluetooth headphones.
Editable Control Center
A pain point for new Apple Watch owners has been the inability to customize toggles in Control Center. This is changing this Fall, as you can now edit and rearrange the Control Center toggles on your wrist.
The process is pretty straightforward, as you will simply need to swipe up to bring up Control Center, scroll all the way down, and tap “Edit”. From there, your icons will begin wiggling and you can hold and move the icons around to your liking.
Siri Watch Face
Siri was at the forefront of just about everything in iOS 12 and watchOS 5. There will be a new Siri watch face which will work in conjunction with the new Siri Shortcuts in iOS 12.
There will be a myriad of suggestions, including the ability to start your “Drive Home Playlist” from your wrist. Additionally, there will be integrations from third-party apps so that you can get started on the workout that you have been putting off.
Raise to activate Siri
In addition to bringing a new watch face to the mix, Apple has some extra fun in store for Siri. In watchOS 5, you will no longer need to say “Hey Siri” to activate the voice assistant on your wrist.
Instead, you will simply be able to raise your wrist, ask your question, and Siri will get to work. This feature is not yet available in the first developer beta, but is coming soon.
Switch Wi-Fi Networks
This is not one of the “big” announcements that were made during the Keynote, but a rather exciting one. watchOS 5 will allow you to choose which Wi-Fi network your Apple Watch is paired too.
Notifications received a much-overdue rehaul with iOS 12. Apple decided to bring these new grouped notifications to the Apple Watch with watchOS 5, as well.
Instead of scrolling for days and going through all of your notifications, these are now grouped together. This means that any Twitter, Messages, Instagram, Email, or other apps notifications will be sitting together.
This will make it easier to handle and triage notifications from your wrist, as you can swipe the whole group away. If you want to expand the group and see everything, just tap on it and then scroll through the notifications.
Health & Fitness Features
You didn’t think Apple wouldn’t have some new health & fitness features, right? Have no fear as a few new tracking features have been added to watchOS 5.
Automatic Workout Detection
For some reason, this was not available on the Apple Watch previously. However, with the next watchOS release, Automatica Workout Detection will be onboard.
Your watch will automatically recognize when you begin working out, and an alert will appear. This will allow you to start the Workout app on your wrist and continue moving.
Plus, if you started working out before opening the Workout app, your Watch will credit you for anything you did. Once the workout has been completed and you forgot to stop it within the Workout app, the Watch will help with that as well.
Fitbit users have been accustomed to seeing these competitions for years. And now, you can too with the Apple Watch and watchOS 5.
Activity Competitions allow you to challenge your friends to a 7-day competition. You will earn points based on the percentage of Activity Rings you complete.
Your Watch will notify you of progress updates throughout the week, encouraging you to get up and moving. When the competition is over, you can even earn a few rewards that are accessible via the Activity app on your iPhone.
New Workout Modes
Apple announced that there will be two new workout modes coming to watchOS 5. Yoga and Hiking will be coming and can be accessed via the Workout app on your Watch.
The Yoga workout will keep track of your heart rate, providing a calorie burn breakdown. The Hiking Workout keeps track of elevation to help increase calorie credits on steeper climbs.
For those runners out there, watchOS 5 aims to bring some new features as well. While you are out for a run, you will be able to choose a target pace.
Your Apple Watch will then provide updates as to whether you are ahead or behind the pace selected. Additionally, there is new cadence data which shows how many steps per minute you are taking.
These are just some of the biggest new features coming to Apple Watch and watchOS 5 when it launches later this year. Sound off in the comments and let us know what your favorite features are!
Andrew is a freelance writer based on the East Coast of the US.
He has written for a variety of sites over the years, including iMore, Android Central, Phandroid, and a few others. Now, he spends his days working for an HVAC company, while moonlighting as a freelance writer at night.