New watchOS Will Offer More Insight... About You

Better workout and sleep tracking, along with medication monitoring

Apple's preview of what's to come with watchOS 9 includes several new faces and features.

Starting with those faces, watchOS 9 will add four options to the currently-available list of selections. Lunar will display a lunar calendar, Playtime is a dynamic art piece designed by Joi Fulton, and Astronomy uses an updated star map and display current cloud information. Finally, there's Metropolitan, which sports a sort of art deco style with a display that can be adjusted via the Digital Crown.

Assortment of Apple Watches


The Workout app is being updated with the option to rotate between workout views using the Digital Crown and a new Heart Rate Zones monitoring feature that can track workout intensity. Custom Workouts are also being added for more personal structure, and new alerts for various metrics can be set to go off at certain points during a session. You'll also be able to track more running stats like stride length, ground contact time, and vertical oscillation to study efficiency.

Sleep tracking is also being improved with the ability to determine REM, core, or deep sleep stages, while the Apple Watch itself will be able to display more sleep metrics on-screen. And while the Apple Watch is already able to monitor a user's ECG and has helped people with atrial fibrillation (AFib), it'll now also be able to track AFib history. Once the feature is cleared by the FDA, it can keep a close eye on users' heart conditions and issue notifications and warnings. Data can also be saved as a PDF and easily shared with a doctor.

Adding prescription via bottle photo


Finally, there will be several new medication features added to the Health app, which you'll be able to use to track any medications, supplements, or vitamins you're taking. New prescriptions can be added to the list by entering them manually or by taking a photo of the prescription bottle. You'll be able to create lists, too, set up notifications and reminders, and even receive notifications when two medications may not be able to be taken together.

Users will be able to update to watchOS 9 this fall for free, though a public beta will be available starting in July. To run watchOS 9, you'll need an Apple Watch Series 4 or newer, paired with an iPhone 8/iPhone SE (second generation) or newer running iOS 16.

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