The Apple Watch is probably the only smartwatch that matters today and with watchOS 7, Apple is making it even more useful (than it already is). watchOS 7, which will follow the equally feature-rich watchOS 6, brings new watch face customization options (and the ability to also share these watch faces easily with others), new workout modes including dancing (yes, you heard it right), Siri translations and dictations, and a lot more. But two features are instant headline grabbers. Sleep tracking and handwashing.
Sleep tracking has been a long time coming to the Apple Watch. Apple has been rumoured to be working on it for years now though its use of words to describe the feature sort of highlights why it probably took so long. “Sleep is one of the most important aspects of your health, but also one of the least understood,” Apple says on its watchOS 7 preview page. Clearly, Apple took its time to understand how best it could offer sleep tracking on the Apple Watch and finally it’s ready to roll it out for end-users. Some sections of the media believed sleep tracking would be part of new hardware, but watchOS 7 will bring sleep tracking to Series 3, 4 and 5 meaning you won’t need to buy the next Apple Watch to use it.
Coming to the feature, Apple is launching a new Sleep app (in watchOS 7), that will help keep tabs on your sleeping habits, right from the moment you go to bed to the time you wake up. It will help you create routines and achieve sleep goals (that will also be accessible via the Health app) and show them by way of sleep analysis charts for instance. The feature, when enabled, will automatically turn on Do Not Disturb (and also keep your screen from waking). It will also help you wind down by opening a meditation app or dimming your lights — and in the morning it will wake you up with the weather report.
Apple says the Apple Watch is smart enough to identify subtle movements associated with breathing so it can differentiate between sleeping and waking states for seemingly more accurate tracking.
There’s another feature in watchOS 6 that makes a lot of sense in the ongoing pandemic situation. Handwashing. Using its motion sensors and microphone, an Apple Watch with watchOS 7 will be able to detect handwashing and automatically start a 20-second timer. Should you stop washing your hands early, the Apple Watch will also encourage you to keep washing for the full 20 seconds. The Apple Watch will also remind you to wash your hands once you get home.