Apple announced watchOS 4 for all Apple Watch models at WWDC 2017. The new update for the world’s most popular smartwatch has a few new watch faces, intelligence features, fitness updates, person to person Apple Pay payments, and much more.
New Watch Faces in watchOS 4
With every major watchOS release, Apple has added new watch faces, instead of providing developers functionality to create their own. This time has not been any different as Apple has added a number of new watch faces.
The first three of the new watch faces are beloved Pixar characters from Toy Story. These new Toy Story Watch faces include animated versions of Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear.
Kaleidoscope is another new watch face which lets you turn static images into different patterns. I personally don’t think I would be using this much but it does let you create unlimited combinations of unique patterns using photos. There even is a new share option in iOS 11 Photos app which lets you create a Kaleidoscope from the selected image.
Siri watch face is perhaps the best new feature of watchOS 4. It brings intelligence to Apple Watch which was severely missing before. Before the Siri watch face, you had to tap and navigate to get to different information. With Siri watch face, it is available in a timeline view that dynamically updates based on data from our Calendar, Maps, Reminders, Wallet, News, Activity and other apps on your Apple Watch.
If you have used Android Wear smartwatches or Pebble, this might seem similar to the timeline views in them. I believe this is a good thing. A smartwatch should be a proactive assistant that shows the right content at each glance, instead of something that requires you to spend time to find the right information.
The Activity app has also become smarter in watchOS 4 and provides coaching and personalized encouragement to help you close your Activity Rings. It now recognizes how close you are to your goals or where you rank compared to your previous achievements and guides your accordingly.
The Workout app has gained support for High Intensity Interval Workouts. It also smartly measures your laps while swimming in a pool. Apple also announced GymKit, which would let Apple Watch sync data with supported gym equipment like treadmills.
Just like iOS 11, Apple Pay on Apple Watch supports person to person payments to help you quickly share cash with family or friends. This money is transferred to the person’s Apple Pay Cash account from where it can be further shared or withdrawn to their bank account.
Apart from this, watchOS 4 also a News app which shows byte sized updates from different sources. You can read the news snippets on your Apple Watch or save them for later. watchOS 4 also has a list view for installed apps, along with the existing grid view, giving users the option to user either one.
The great thing about watchOS 4 is that all its new features (except pool swimming support) will work on all Apple Watches, including the first model. Compared to Android Wear 2.0, which does not support many first-generation smartwatches, Apple Watch will be providing way more value for money.
watchOS 4 will be available to all users this fall, while a developer preview is already available for registered Apple developers. Learn how to download and install it on your Apple Watch.