Apple just revealed its new watchOS 7 software, available this fall. The press is focusing on the onboard app that detects handwashing, but that’s just one of the new bells and whistles. But first COVID-19 . . .
You start washing your hands. The app automatically kicks in, plays a catchy little tune, counts you down for 20 seconds and then gives you an attaboy. It’s weird to think that something so simple could save your life. But it could.
Despite dubious medical utility, the market’s been calling for an Apple Watch sleep app for a long time. The Apple Watch’s rivals – including all those awkward Swiss hybrid smartwatches – already have it.
To track your sleep, you have to wear your watch while you sleep (obvs.). Apple’s official “goal” for battery life: 18 hours. If you’ve worn your watch all day, app-ing up a storm., by the time you turn in you’re sucking on efumes. What then?
Apple’s workaround: your watch reminds you to charge it before you go to sleep and when you wake up. It’s hard to imagine Apple Watch users embracing constant charge-up reminders, or being able to implement them during waking hours But there’s no way ’round it.
As you’d expect, the Sleep App comes with Apple Nanny Knows Best reminders and messages – telling you to drain that whiskey and get ready for bed, waking you up with bird song (or whatever) and congratulating you for not watching Apple TV all night.
The Apple Watch is all about the internet connected wrist-borne computer’s ability to nearasdammit instantly respond to spoken commands. watchOS 7 cranks it up to 11 with a lightning fast translator for 10 languages (and more effective dictation).
“Hey Siri, how do I say ‘how much for an ounce’ in Spanish?” When the text appears, press play for your new friend. Done deal.
To have an actual conversation with someone who doesn’t speak your language, the Apple Watch somehow needs to translate without the whole ‘Siri how do you say?” routine. Nope. Not yet.
New Watch Faces
Three years after Apple launched their first watch, the Dixie Chicks expressed their desire for new faces. watchOS 7 delivers with watch faces that are “more customizable, powerful, and discoverable than ever.”
The big news: you can add customized complications to a single face and then share your creation with someone.
The share option pretty much kills the traditional watch wearer’s dream of using simulated Rolex, Patek, TAG Heuer, etc. watch faces. Copyright issues X infinity. Meanwhile, look at that new “colored” watch face willya? Blech.
watchOS 7 unleashes a few other new native apps: a cutesy tootsy animated workout app, enhanced hearing protection monitor, bicycling guidance and a custom shortcuts watch face.
Fans of rival smart watches may not be impressed – especially with the Apple Watch’s ongoing battery life issues. But Apple’s is providing all these new/enhanced apps for nada and they’re designed for dummies.
This combination of utility, value and user-friendliness made the Apple Watch the dominant player in the smartwatch genre. watchOS 7 helps it maintain its success – until the next time Apple has to up their game. As always, watch this space.