Three years ago this autumn Apple unveiled the Apple Watch. At the time the Apple Watch was the wearable that was destined to end all other wearables and take smart watches into the mainstream.
Of course, that hasn’t happened. It’s possible that wearables may never take off the way smartphones did, or maybe Apple just really messed up the launch of the Apple Watch so it’s gonna take a little longer.
Since its launch, each new watchOS has been slowly moving in the direction of health and fitness features as opposed to productivity features.
So it’s safe to say Apple’s original take on what the Apple Watch was for was a bit off. Yet now that they continue to position the Apple Watch as a fitness accessory, more and more people are strapping one on their wrist.
That’s why it's little surprise watchOS 4, previewed at WWDC in June, heavily focuses on fitness. Here are some of the new features the new watchOS include.
watchOS 4 features a ton of new activity features starting with the ability to receive personalized progress updates the second you put on the Apple Watch.
These updates will encourage you when you are close to a goal or alert you when you have achieved one. watchOS 4 will also give you gentle nudges to keep going when you are close to approaching a goal as well as deliver personal challenges based on the challenges you completed the month before.
Finally, watchOS 4 features new full-screen celebration effects when you reach a goal.
watchOS 4 also features several workout-related enhancements. It now allows you to quickly begin any workout tracking with just a tap, so you can jump right into your workouts without navigating the OS.
There’s also new custom motion and heart rate monitoring so watchOS 4 can better track your calorie burn. If you’re a swimmer you’ll love the new Pool Swim tracking features that keep tabs on your sets, rests, pace, and distance for each type of stroke.
watchOS 4 is now also compatible and pairs automatically with numerous types of gym equipment from companies like LifeFitness, Matrix, StairMaster, and more. Finally, watchOS 4 automatically turns on Do Not Disturb when a workout begins so you aren’t interrupted.
Music also gets some big improvements in watchOS 4 because it's such an integral part to most of our workouts. Now the Apple Watch will locally store more of the music you like so it's automatically available even when your phone isn’t. Also, playlists that Apple Music automatically curates, including Heavy Rotation, My Favorites Mix, My Chill Mix, and more, sync automatically to Apple Watch.
A cool new feature of watchOS 4 is the new Siri complication (or watch face). This watch face automatically displays the information you need at the time you need it (using Proactive technology) that helps you compliment your workouts. For example, if you’re running in the evening the Siri watch face might show you how long it is until the sun sets.
Another cool watch face is the new kaleidoscope watch face. It takes your static images and turns them into intertwining patterns than change automatically or when you rotate the Digital Crown. Another great improvement is a new News app that displays the latest news headlines right on your wrist.
Tap a headline to see a quick summary or read the full article on your iPhone. Oh, and there’s also a new Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and Jessie from Toy Story watch face if you care.
Interested in picking up an Apple Watch? John Lewis has excellent prices for all models, great delivery options, and a suitably robust returns policy – just in case things don’t work out.
Alternatively, you can pick up second-hand and/reconditioned Apple Watches via eBay for A LOT less than new. This one is retailing for £170, which is WELL BELOW retail RRP.
Personally, if I were buying one I would almost certainly shop around on eBay first, as there’s always plenty of bargains to be had.