watchOS 9: low-power mode, refreshed watch faces & new health features

The rumor: Apple is planning a ream of new features for watchOS 9, according to Mark Gurman (86.4% accurate, via Bloomberg).

Here’s what’s coming to watchOS later this year…

  • Improved atrial fibrillation detection “to calculate what is known as ‘burden,’ or how often a person is in a state of atrial fibrillation across a certain period”
  • New low-power mode that allows you to still use parts of the watch while extending battery life…there is a power-reserve mode currently, but it only shows the time
  • “Many” existing watch faces will be updated (but no additional details are provided)
  • More pre-selectable workouts and “additional metrics” are also coming
  • Down the road, watchOS will also support satellite connectivity like on iPhone 14, but we don’t know exactly when

Sam’s take: All of this sounds incredibly useful, in contrast to the upcoming hardware health features for future Apple Watch models. Low-power mode will be an instant hit, I’d love to see some tweaked watch faces, and I look forward to seeing exactly what new workout types are supported (give me a Frisbee workout, please). While I was severely underwhelmed by watchOS 8, it sounds like watchOS 9 will be a breath of fresh air.

Apple releases public betas for iOS/iPadOS 15, macOS 12, watchOS 8 and tvOS 15

The news: Apple has just released public beta versions of all the software they announced at WWDC 2021.

  • Alongside an updated build of iOS 15 beta 2 for developers, Apple has released public beta version of iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS 12, watchOS 8 and tvOS 15
  • You can sign up for any of the public betas at beta.apple.com

Our take: If you’ve been wanting to try out some new features early, this is the best way to hop on and provide feedback before everything is solidified this Fall. From my experience, iOS 15 is absolutely stable enough to be on your daily driver, but proceed with caution as bugs will be there, some of your favorite apps may be glitchy or not work, and battery life won’t be as good as what you see now on iOS 14.

watchOS 8 leak reveals new Mind, Contacts and Tips apps coming

The leak: Apple is preparing to launch three new watch apps as a part of watchOS 8, first spotted by Khaos Tian on Twitter.

  • Mind, likely a new app for managing your mental health, Contacts and Tips will be debuting alongside watchOS 8
  • A new, official profile for the App Store revealed the existence of the new apps ahead of WWDC kicking off on June 7

Our take: While Contacts and Tips will be minor upgrades, I am fascinated to know what exactly the Mind app is. We’ve heard rumors of better mental health software coming for years now, and I can’t wait to see what Apple has been up to.

watchOS 7: Every leak and rumor

With WWDC 2020 just around the corner, here are all of the leaks and rumors about watchOS 7.

More than 80% likely

From 9to5Mac (85.8% accurate):

  • Ability to share watch faces
  • New “Infograph Pro” watch face with tachymeter
  • New “International” watch face
  • New iCloud shared album watch face
  • ‘Parent’ iPhone can pair multiple ‘child’ watches
First look at watchOS 7’s ‘International’ watch face
  • ‘Kids mode’ changes move ring calories to move time
    • Rewards for playing sports or going outside
    • ‘SchoolTime’ allows parents to manage when apps and complications can be used
  • Sleep tracking with the ability to set personal goals
  • Added sleep mode Control Center toggle
  • Added noise detection Control Center toggle
  • Apps will no longer based on extensions of iPhone apps
Apple themselves leaked the Sleep app’s development

From MacRumors (83.3% accurate):

  • Free exercise app called ‘Fit’ or ‘Fitness’

From Jon Prosser (81.3% accurate):

  • New mental health features, specifically centered around preventing panic attacks
Concept: sleep mode and noise detection CC toggles

Less than 50% likely

From The Verifier (42.5% accurate):

  • “Fresh design,” with tweaks to first party apps
  • Not coming to second generation Apple Watch (2016 model)
  • Siri upgrades

A total toss up…

  • Support for Screen Time, link
Screen Time icon hidden in an early build of iOS 14, courtesy of @blue_kanikama