watchOS 5 to focus on fitness and connectivity; all new features in detail

twitter-logo Nidhi Singal        Last Updated: June 5, 2018  | 09:55 IST
watchOS 5 to focus on fitness and connectivity; all new features in detail

Along with the iOS 12, Apple previewed some new features of the watchOS 5. watchOS is Apple's proprietary operating system for Apple Watch. The new OS brings powerful activity and communication features to Apple Watch. It brings in quick access to information with a host of new features including Activity Sharing competitions, auto-workout detection, advanced running features, Walkie-Talkie, Apple Podcasts and third-party apps on the Siri watch face.

Activity Competitions

From motivating users to meet daily targets, this new feature allows Apple Watch owners to invite another Apple Watch user to compete in a seven-day Activity competition, earning points for closing Activity Rings, while receiving coaching notifications to help stay engaged and win the week.

Auto-Workout Detection

For the most popular workouts on Apple Watch, auto-workout detection provides an alert to start the correct workout and gives retroactive credit. This feature also offers a reminder to end workout sessions after a period of inactivity if the user forgets.

New Workouts

Apple had over 12 dedicated workout types and Apple Watch was able to track calorie burned and exercise minutes accurately. With watchOS 5, Apple has also introduced support for yoga and hiking.

New Running Features

This new update includes a new cadence (steps per minute) metric for indoor and outdoor runs and walks, as well as a new pace alarm for outdoor runs that alerts users when they are behind or ahead of their designated target pace.


After introducing electronic SIM for communicating with the Apple Watch independently, the watchOS 5 brings another new feature - Walkie-Talkie. Apple claims this to be an entirely new way to communicate with voice and just a tap of the wrist. This feature allows Apple Watch user to quickly get in touch with friends and family, using the new watch-to-watch connection, which is fast, personal and can be activated between any compatible Apple Watch users around the world over Wi-Fi or cellular. There isn't any update on whether this feature will be available in India or not.

Apple Podcasts

watchOS 5 brings the ability to listen to their favourite podcasts on the go with Apple Podcasts on Apple Watch and stream any podcast in the catalog by using Siri. A new feature for developers allows music, audiobooks and meditation sessions from apps such as Pandora, Audible and 10% Happier to be synced to Apple Watch for playback offline without the user's iPhone nearby.

Siri Updates

The updated Siri watch face for Apple Watch is said to be a better personal assistant. It will offer more predictive and proactive shortcuts throughout the day based on routines, locations and information such as heart rate after a workout, commute time with Maps at the appropriate time of day or sports scores for a favourite team.

Enhanced Notifications

Notifications from third-party apps can now have interactive controls and be used without needing to open the app.

Just like the iOS 12, the watchOS will be available for a free update for Apple Watch Series 1 and later versions and requires iPhone 5s or later on iOS 12.

Jeff Williams, Apple's chief operating officer, says, "Apple Watch is helping our customers stay connected, enhance their fitness and, in many cases, detect life-threatening conditions. With the launch of watchOS 5, we're excited to introduce new activity and communications features that will take the Watch to a whole new level."

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