New Fitness features in WatchOS 5 coming to the Apple Watch
Apple released the raft of new features coming to WatchOS last week at WWDC 18 and various sites have reported on the full feature set. But in this, article I wanted to focus on the Apple Watch fitness features that will be coming to WatchOS 5 later this year.
New Workout Types
Apple has been steadily updating the Apple Watch with new workout types and in WatchOS 5, you will get Yoga, hiking.
Each activity now has its own individual algorithm that looks into a series of biometric data during each session to better calculate calories burned and the impact the activity will have on the rest of your day. This is important because until users of the Apple Watch have been using “other” to track activities like Yoga and it may not be a true representation of the calorie burn.
For hiking, the Watch will now take into account elevation, heart rate, GPS and distance to give you better insight into how the hike impacted you overall.
Apple Watch Series 3 will use the built-in altimeters to calculate elevation, while the Series 2 and below will rely on the altimeter on the phone, so you will still need to take your phone with you with the earlier devices.
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Apple Watch Challenges
Challenges and the whole community thing on the Apple Watch have been lacking, but now Apple plan to change all that with the WatchOS 5 update later this year.
So like Fitbit and others, you will be able to challenge your friend to close your activity rings for seven days straight and win a prize at the end. You get one point for every percent of the ring you complete. The winner gets an award that’s unique to your competition, however, it is not clear if you will be able to include multiple friends in the competition.
Automatic Workout tracking
Another feature that is coming to the Apple Watch is auto tracking of activity and again this has been present on wearables like Garmin and Fitbit for some time now.
So if you forget to start a workout on Apple Watch, the watch will within three minutes of you starting, will be able to figure out which of these activities you were doing: running, walking (indoor or outdoor), swimming (open or pool) and then start recorded and give you the credit for this workout as if you had started the workout manually.
The automatic tracking also works at the end of a workout as the Watch will use your heart rate to figure out when you’re winding down and remind you to end the workout so you’re not getting extra credits.
Improved running data
The Apple Watch is also going to get the ability to track cadence, moving average pace and these will be options you can also add as data screens on the Apple Watch.
Watch OS 5 will also allow you to add custom pace alerts for runs with haptic feedback so that you can keep your eyes on the finish line instead of your wrist. Set up your target pace before your run and then you’ll feel a vibration when you’re going off track. You’ll get a different type of vibration depending on whether you’re going too fast or too slow.