Apple introduced the Apple Watch Ultra last year to compete with Garmin’s premium outdoor watches. Even though the watch had the potential to become the perfect outdoor watch, there were many shortcomings. For starters, it did not quite have a great battery life. However, with Apple WatchOS 10, things are about to change.
With WatchOS 10, Apple has introduced many new features to make its watches, especially the Ultra, better compete with Garmin watches. Among the various additions, the most notable is the new and improved software, easier navigation, new watch faces, and newly redesigned apps.
But if you were to rank the top new features of Apple WatchOS 10, there are only a few that are worth mentioning. Let’s explore each of them in detail.
1. Biking Updates on WatchOS 10
Apple’s emphasis on outdoor activities began with the release of the Watch Series 7. The watch, launched two years ago, boasted enhanced dustproof capabilities. And it came with fall detection and better capability to differentiate between regular biking and e-biking. But the watch really shined with the WatchOS 9 Apple introduced last year.
That version of WatchOS brought out some specific features. For example, it allowed the Apple Watch to measure stride length and vertical oscillation. But with WatchOS 10, Apple is making the Apple Watch models function like dedicated bike computers.
Live Activity on iPhone
When you start a cycling workout on the watch, WatchOS 10 will immediately bring out a Live Activity on your iPhone. Tapping on it will make the Live Activity switch to a full-screen Workout view. From there, you can view all the critical measurements, such as heart rate zone and your route.
This feature offers essential insights for your cycling sessions. It will make sure that your heart rate zone is correct and you are not getting lost.
Ability to Connect to Bluetooth-enabled Sensors
With WatchOS 10, Apple watches can automatically connect to Bluetooth-enabled sensors. That means you can easily hook your smartwatch to cadence sensors and power meters. And after making the connection, you will have easy access to some crucial metrics, such as RPM (rotations per minute).
Moreover, the WatchOS 10 makes Apple Watch models capable of calculating your Functional Threshold Power (FTP). With it, you can measure the highest cycling output over a one-hour period. The watches can also utilize the data to determine your personalized Power Zones.
2. Hiking Updates on Apple WatchOS 10
With the Apple Watch Ultra, Apple introduced many navigational features last year. These are there to assist you with outdoor adventures. However, the features had one big flaw. There were no offline maps, and you did not have access to topographic maps either.
But in Apple WatchOS 10, you will find new topographic maps. It’s worth noting that the topographic maps are only available in the US. And with iOS 17 on your iPhone, you can get offline maps on your phone.
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Brand New Compass App Functions
Apple WatchOS 10 adds new functions in the compass app. It now offers a new Elevation view, which is offered in 3D. This 3D view will let you quickly see the saved viewpoints, which also include two automatically generated waypoints.
The first is the Last Cellular Connection waypoint, which is for checking messages or making a call. And the second is the Last Emergency Cell waypoint, which you can use to call for emergency assistance.
3. Mental and Visual Health Updates on WatchOS 10
For both adults and children, spending lots of time outside has been linked to a number of positive physical and mental health outcomes. Apple has considered this in the WatchOS 10. The new watch operating system utilizes an ambient light sensor to determine how much time you have spent outside.
And the great part is that you can view the collected data on your iPad or iPhone. In addition, you can track how much time your children spend outside. Also, you can keep the Health Sharing in Family Setup to ensure that all your family members have enough outside time as well.
Furthermore, WatchOS 10 introduces new functions to the Mindfulness app. You will find different shapes that let you record how you feel in the moment. There’s also an option to let you identify the factors contributing to your current mental health.
According to Apple, the OS offers access to clinical-grade anxiety and depression assessments. It will help determine your risk level and whether you should visit a healthcare professional or not.
4. Software and Design Updates on WatchOS 10
Despite Apple’s advancements in the software and design of Apple watches, there’s still room for improvement. It’s still hard to go through all the data on such a small screen. That’s where WatchOS 10’s design updates come into play.
You flip through widgets on the Smart Stack on WatchOS 10. And to scroll, all you need to do is use the digital crown. And if you still can not find what you are looking for, Apple’s machine learning will help you identify which widget is more relevant. For example, when you are traveling, the boarding passes will be on the top.
Apple has also redesigned the apps on WatchOS 10. You can scroll through the World Clock app to find the best time to call an overseas friend, for example. Also, it is possible to activate the Control Center just by pushing the watch’s side button.
When Will WatchOS 10 Arrive, and Is Your Apple Watch Compatible?
The Apple WatchOS 10 is currently in developer beta. However, Apple says that the public beta will land pretty soon. You can test out all the features by yourself when that arrives.
And if you are wondering, the WatchOS 10 update will be available to all the watch modes that are from Watch Series 4 and later. But you will need to have an iPhone or iPad running on iOS 17 or iPadOS 17.