WWDC21: watchOS 8 comes with new health features

During WWDC21, its annual developer conference, Apple announced the new operating system to be used in its smartwatch, the watchOS 8. The main updates in the software are aimed at health, focusing on “mindfulness”.

The “Breath” app, has changed its name and is now called ‘Mindfulness’. A new animation aims to help the user stay focused and calm down, and it also now has a “Reflect” function, so that users can think about positive things in order to reduce their stress. In addition, watchOS also has some improvements on how they measure breathing. If something out of the ordinary happens while the user sleeps, for example, he will receive an alert in the iPhone health app. The watch uses an integrated accelerometer to measure the respiratory frequency during sleep.

When it comes to fitness, two new modalities were also added: Pilates and T’ai chi. The two physical activities have custom heart rate and motion algorithms to provide more specific metrics.

When it comes to visual changes, users can now add photos of their loved ones as a smartwatch face. They can be customized to stand in front or behind the clock, for example.

It is now also easier to share images by the gadget, by messages or email, with a search and quick access function to manage the photos. In the messages, you can add emojis using the ‘Scribble’ function, when the user manually writes the text. It is also still possible to share music via messages.

The search for Apple devices feature has also been upgraded to include the smart watch operating system by ‘Find My’. Smartwatch will also show the possibility of rain in the next hour and will now be able to put multiple timers.

The Home app was redesigned in watchOS 8. For those who have HomeKit with their camera enabled, you can see who is at the door of your home using the watch. You may also send messages to the entire house via HomePod, HomePod mini and personal devices.

The new features will be available to developers first. The general public will be able to upgrade to the new watchOS 8 in the fall in the Northern Hemisphere and spring in the Southern Hemisphere, but a beta version is already accessible in July.

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