Since Apple Watch first hit the stores in 2015, Apple has updated its watchOS operating system every year with a handful of nicer, but not breakthrough features – enough to make its wristables more attractive and useful without some of their most noticeable issues to rethink fundamentally. Today Apple is official to announce watchOS 7, which partially meets some of the platform's longest-running user needs, including more customizable watch faces, sleep tracking, and more.
Apple adds several complications, so a watch face can offer multiple data streams and quick print features from a single app. Several new watch faces are introduced, including Chronograph Pro with tachymeter – an analog watch face to measure the speed and distance of a user to a destination for a given travel time. Users can also use simple links to create custom watch face configurations with others and then share them on social media.
The bike instructions introduced in iOS 14 are displayed on the Apple Watch with detailed information on disassembly, height, bike repair shops and much more. The previous Workouts app has been renamed Fitness and now supports dance tracking, which enables the watch to recognize data about arms, heart rate activities, and gyroscope movements, as well as additional types of workouts.
As expected for a long time, Apple watchOS is adding a sleep tracking mode that will be integrated into the iPhone's Health app. This includes trends over time and highlights, as well as watch functions that help you get out of bed in the morning. You can have the watch automatically deactivate your previously set morning alarm if it detects normal movement before the alarm is triggered.
However, it is unclear how well the Apple Watch is actually suitable for sleep tracking given its battery life, which is officially only 18 hours between charges. When you wake up, the watch shows the current battery level as a passive (though impractical) reminder of charging the wearable before you go out for the day.
In addition, a new ML-powered hand wash feature assists users in 20-second hand wash sessions with a new bubble surface that indicates whether hands have been washed long enough. If you stop too soon – something that the watch will automatically recognize – you will be reminded to continue washing.
watchOS 7 is now available for registered developersand will be available in public beta for regular users for the first time in July. It will support Apple Watch Series 3 and newer devices, with support for Series 1 and 2 discontinued.