In an attempt to overtake Garmin in the premium outdoor watch market, last year Apple introduced the Apple Watch Ultra, its most ambitious and robust smartwatch, designed for the most extreme athletes.
At the recent WWDC, Apple announced WatchOS 10, the new version of the operating system for Apple Watch that promises to get even closer to Garmin’s territory, a leader in this type of device focused on sports.
Among the novelties of are software and design updates, navigation improvements, new functions for the cycling, hiking and mental and visual health. In addition, operating system compatibility with Apple Watch models has been expanded.
The update will be available for Apple Watch Series 4 and later models. However, an iPhone XS or iPhone XR running iOS 17 will be required to take advantage of all features. WatchOS 10 is currently in developer betabut a public beta is expected to be available in July, with the final version released in September.
One of the main improvements in WatchOS 10 is the addition of new features for cycling. Now, the Apple Watch becomes a specialized tool for cycling, displaying information such as heart rate and route on the screen. Additionally, it can connect to Bluetooth sensors, allowing for accurate and personalized metrics during workouts.
When you download WatchOS 10 and start a cycling workout on your watch, it immediately appears as a live activity on your phone. Live Activity switches to a training view showing information such as heart rate zone and route.
As for hiking, watchOS 10 has added topographic maps and a 3D elevation view of saved waypoints. The navigation function has also been improved to provide a more complete experience outdoors.
The compass app includes a new elevation view with a 3D view of saved waypoints. Those waypoints also include two automatically generated waypoints: the Last Cellular Connection waypoint for checking messages or making a call, and the Last Emergency Call waypoint from which you can call for emergency assistance.
Apple has also shown interest in mental and visual health. WatchOS 10 includes the “ambient daylight“, that uses the watch’s ambient light sensor to measure time spent outdoors. In addition, the Apple Watch Mindfulness application allows you to record your mood and assess the factors that can affect it.
In terms of software and design, WatchOS 10 has improved the user experience by allowing more fluid navigation through widgets and redesign some applications to take better advantage of the clock face.