Hands-On With watchOS 4: Siri Watch Face, Apple Pay, Activity Improvements, New Workouts and More
This fall Apple plans to introduce an all new version of watchOS, the operating system that runs on the Apple Watch. watchOS 4 is faster, more efficient, includes new tools for developers, and offers up some thoughtful interface refinements.
To get a glimpse of the new features you can expect to see on your Apple Watch when watchOS 4 launches this fall, check out our hands-on video.
watchOS 4 brings a new Siri watch face that offers up dynamic, personalized information that changes based on the time of day. Siri can display weather info, calendar appointments, reminders, HomeKit controls, news alerts, and tons more, right on the watch face.
There’s also a new Kaleidoscope watch face that turns any photo into a colorful animation, and Apple’s adding a Toy Story face starring animated versions of Woody, Jessie, or Buzz Lightyear.
Apple’s redesigned the Dock (accessed by pressing the side button) to be vertical instead of horizontal, and there’s a new option to view all your apps in a list. There are also new complications and a new flashlight option in Control Center, which lights up the Apple Watch’s display.
Apple wants to do more to motivate you to exercise in watchOS 4, so the Activity app will send alerts to let you know how close you are to completing a goal and what you need to do to reach it. There are also new animations to offer visual rewards and personalized monthly challenges based on your workout history.
The Workout app has a revamped interface that makes it easier to start a workout, and there’s a new High Intensity Interval Training option, along with new options for the swim workout. Starting in the fall, watchOS 4 will let the Apple Watch interface with gym equipment for two-way real-time data exchange, and with a new Core Bluetooth API, the Apple Watch can connect directly to Bluetooth devices like glucose monitors.
Other features include a redesigned Music app, peer-to-peer Apple Pay payments in Messages, an option for composing emails right on your watch, and a new Apple News app.
Best of all, watchOS 4 apps load faster, are more responsive, and can do more because Apple is opening up more APIs to developers.
watchOS 4 will run on all Apple Watch models, including first-generation, Series 1, and Series 2. For a more detailed look at what to expect in the update, check out our watchOS 4 roundup.