Apple today formally introduced the next generation of Apple Watch devices, the Series 4. Alongside the new devices, the company announced the updated watchOS 5 mobile operating system will ship on September 17.
The new version of watchOS was first shown off at this year’s Worldwide Developer Conference keynote, where flagship features like the Walkie-Talkie mode, smart Siri watch face, updated Podcast app, support for Siri shortcuts, and a “Raise to Speak to Siri” feature were highlighted.
The company didn’t really spend time reviewing these features today, as the new devices themselves were the focus.
Series 4 Apple Watch devices will offer 30% more screen space thanks to an edge-to-edge display, as was previously leaked and today confirmed. To take better advantage of that extra room, watchOS 5 will debut a new watch face that lets you pack in a lot more complications.
Now, you can add all kinds of extra complications to your Series 4 watch face – up to 8 on the new device. Among these, you can add photos of loved ones to the screen which you can tap to connect with, or if you’re traveling, you can customize a watch face that tracks different time zones. You could also use the extra space to create the ultimate health and fitness watch face, Apple says.
The modular face will get an update, too, with more graphical information from apps like stocks, heart rate and activity, and even those from third party developers. Debut developers include MLB At Bat, Qantas, and Life Zone nutrition app.
Other new watch faces designed to take advantage of the Series 4 display include a Breathe face, where the animation is timed around a deep breath, as well as a suite of motion faces (similar to live wallpapers), including Vapor, Liquid Metal, Fire and Water. These react uniquely with the curved edges of the case, Apple says.
WatchOS 5 also becomes a better workout companion with features like automatic workout detection which provides an alert to start a workout while giving retroactive credit, plus new dedicated workout types Yoga and Hiking. Runners will get extended battery life — which is increased to six hours — plus cadence for indoor and outdoor runs, pace alerts for outdoor runs, and rolling mile pace, which shows pace for the immediately preceding mile.
WatchOS 5 offers a ton of features, many of which Apple didn’t highlight today due to time constraints. But lists of new features found in beta builds are readily available, as are videos. They’re also available on Apple’s official watchOS 5 website here.