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June 7, 2017

Apple loads watchOS 4 with health-oriented features

Apple launched a series of new products on June 5, including a new version of the Apple Watch operating system. With watchOS 4, Apple – again – puts more emphasis on health and fitness. Only recently the company showed its own glucose meter, while the Apple Watch Series 2 launched September last year has way more health functions than its predecessor.

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Apple previewed watchOS 4 during the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), featuring a proactive Siri watch face that displays the information users need most throughout the day, personalized Activity coaching and an new music experience. The update also features an enhanced Workout app and introduces GymKit, a groundbreaking technology platform that will offer customers connected workouts with cardio equipment.

Earlier this week  market research agency IDC stated that Apple has benefited greatly from its health and fitness-oriented Apple Series 2 launched in September 2016. In the first quarter of 2017, Apple and Chinese based Xiaomi, overtook FitBit and became market leaders in wearables. Fitbit has problems trying to switch from fitness bands to smartwatches.

Device for a healthy life

Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer, claimed during his presentation that Apple Watch is the ultimate device for a healthy life and is now more intelligent than ever with watchOS 4,.  “We’ve created a truly individualized experience with the smartest Activity and Workout apps, the Siri watch face that shows you the information you need when you need it and we’re seamlessly bringing users their favorite music right on the wrist.”

Digital assistant Siri’s intelligence extends further into Apple Watch with the new Siri watch face. With a raise of the wrist, the information on the display dynamically updates based on the time of day, daily routines and pertinent data from apps such as Activity, Alarms, Breathe, Calendar, Maps, Reminders and Wallet, as well as headlines from the new Apple News app for Apple Watch.

Intelligent coaching

With watchOS 4, the Activity app also delivers intelligent coaching and tailored encouragement to help close Activity Rings more often and achieve longer success streaks. Every morning, users will receive a personalized notification if they’re close to earning an Achievement, or suggest what they can do to match yesterday’s activity levels. If needed, toward the end of the day, they’ll be told exactly how long they should walk to close their Activity Rings before the day is over. Users will also receive unique Monthly Challenges designed just for them.

Another health oriented feature is the updated Workout app. It now includes auto-sets for pool swim workouts and new motion and heart rate algorithms for High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts. With watchOS 4, customers doing back-to-back workouts or training for a triathlon can combine multiple workouts to capture overall calorie and time measurements.

New Gymkit

With the new GymKit, customers using their favorite cardio equipment will be able to pair their Apple Watch directly to treadmills, ellipticals, indoor bikes or stair steppers from global manufacturers such as Life Fitness and Technogym with a simple tap. In an industry first, data not previously communicated between smartwatch and fitness machine will sync seamlessly — including calories, distance, speed, floors climbed, incline and pace — resulting in the most accurate measurements possible with less device management.

WatchOS 4 will be available this fall as a free update to Apple Watch paired with iPhone 5s and later on iOS 11. WatchKit for watchOS 4 is available immediately for iOS Developer Program members at developer.apple.com. Some features may not be available in all regions.

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