Apple has unveiled watchOS 10, a significant update for Apple Watch users that brings a fresh look to the device with redesigned apps, a new Smart Stack for relevant widgets, and delightful watch faces.
The update also introduces new features for cycling and hiking enthusiasts, as well as tools to support mental health. The developer beta of watchOS 10 is available now, with a free software update set to release in the fall.
“watchOS is the world’s most advanced wearable operating system, and it has revolutionized people’s perception of what a watch can do,” said Kevin Lynch, Apple’s vice president of Technology. “watchOS 10 marks a major milestone and an exciting new approach for Apple Watch, introducing a redesigned interface, stunning watch faces, enhanced features for cyclists and hikers, and important tools for health.”
The update focuses on a new design language and navigation, providing users with more information at a glance and easier access to content. Apps like Weather, Stocks, Home, Maps, and Messages have been redesigned to display more glanceable information. The Activity app on Apple Watch and the Fitness app on iPhone have also been improved, offering better tracking, sharing capabilities, and Apple Fitness+ trainer tips.
The Smart Stack is a new feature that displays widgets with timely information based on the user’s context. For example, Weather will show the forecast at the beginning of the day, while Calendar and Reminders will prioritize upcoming meetings or tasks. Apps that are currently in use, such as Podcasts, will also be readily accessible. Additionally, developers can update their apps to utilize the new design language, enhancing user experiences.
Two new watch faces have been introduced in watchOS 10: Palette and Snoopy. The Palette face showcases time using overlapping layers of vibrant colors that shift as time passes. The Snoopy face brings the beloved Peanuts characters to life on Apple Watch, with interactive elements that respond to weather conditions and user activity.
Cycling enthusiasts will benefit from advanced metrics, views, and experiences in watchOS 10. The update enables Apple Watch to connect to Bluetooth-enabled cycling accessories like power meters, speed sensors, and cadence sensors, providing new metrics such as cycling power and cadence. Users can track their performance with personalized Power Zones based on Functional Threshold Power (FTP) calculations.
For hikers, watchOS 10 includes enhanced Compass capabilities, generating waypoints for cellular connection and emergency calls. The Elevation view offers a 3D perspective of saved waypoints, while the updated Apple Maps displays topographic maps with contour lines, hill shading, and points of interest. Users can search for nearby trails and trailheads, accessing detailed information like length, difficulty, and type.
The Mindfulness app in watchOS 10 supports mental health by allowing users to log their emotions and moods discreetly. The Health app in iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 provides insights into the factors influencing emotional well-being, while offering depression and anxiety assessments. Apple Watch also introduces features related to vision health, such as measuring time spent in daylight and encouraging users to maintain a healthy screen distance.
Other notable updates in watchOS 10 include NameDrop for easy contact sharing, offline maps for navigation without Wi-Fi or cellular services, FaceTime video message playback on Apple Watch, and new features in Apple Fitness+ like Custom Plans and Audio Focus. The update also introduces Mobile Device Management (MDM) support for enterprise customers, improving productivity and safety in work environments.
WatchOS 10 brings exciting opportunities for workout app developers with new APIs. These APIs leverage the advanced motion sensors in Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra to analyze specific movements in sports like golf and tennis. Developers can also create custom workouts, import them into the Workout app, and access additional metrics for cycling workouts.
The developer beta of watchOS 10 is now available, and a public beta will be released next month. The update will be free for Apple Watch Series 4 or later paired with iPhone Xs or later, running iOS 17. Some features may vary depending on region, language, or device. For more information, visit apple.com/watchos/watchos-preview.