(Pocket-lint) – Apple has announced a trio of new Watch models, including a refreshed Watch SE, Watch Series 8, and an all-new Apple Watch Ultra. It has also released watchOS 9 for existing models.
Here’s everything you need to know about it, including its features and a list of compatible models.
WatchOS 9 release date
- Available: 12 September 2022
Apple announced the next major software update for its Watch – watchOS 9 – during its annual developer conference, WWDC, in June. A subsequent beta for developers was made available immediately after, followed by a public beta in July that anyone could test.
It has now released the full release version on 12 September 2022.
WatchOS 9: Which Apple Watches are compatible?
- watchOS 9 compatibility: Apple Watch Series 4 and newer (including the SE)
The Apple Watch Series 3 – a four-year-old smartwatch – is on the chopping block and won’t be compatible with watchOS 9. The Apple Watch Series 4, Apple Watch Series 5, and Apple Watch Series 6 are eligible for watchOS 9, however.
WatchOS 9 features
Here are some of the highlights of watchOS 9.
A number of updates come to the Workout app with watchOS 9, including the ability to see more when you’re working out by turning the Digital Crown.
You’ll can also customise your workouts by tailoring work and recovery intervals, and Heart Rate Zones are automatically calculated and personalised using your health data.
Other Workout updates include Multisport that transitions between swimming, running and cycling, the addition of Kickboard (swimming with a float) being automatically recognised and there are multiple running updates too.
The watchOS 9 software update gives you instant feedback on your pace with dynamic pacing to help you reach goals, and you can race your route too, as well as add Stride Length, Ground Contact Time and Vertical Oscillation to your Workout Views.
Other changes to the Workout app include an enhanced workout summary and the introduction of a metric called Running Power.
Some changes are coming to the Health app in iOS 16 and watchOS 9, including a Medications section that help you keep track and monitor your medications. You’ll be able to log them directly from Reminders, and from your wrist.
Finally, there are some decent updates coming to sleep tracking on the Apple Watch with watchOS 9. The software brings REM, Core and Deep sleep details to the Apple Watch, as well as when you were awake, offering a graph like Fitbit devices offer.
You’ll also be able to track your sleep over time with comparison charts in the Health app on your iPhone, allowing you to see metrics like heart rate and respiratory rate.
As with all major software updates, there are some new Watch Faces with watchOS 9. There are multiple faces including Metropolitan, Playtime and Astronomy. There’s also a Lunar face that celebrates calendar timekeeping using phases of the moon with three different calendars: Chinese, Hebrew and Islamic.
More Watch faces also support rich complications with watchOS 9 and the Portraits face is getting enhancements too, allowing you to put your dog or cat on it and use the editing mode to add a tint to the background layers of a photo.
On the Modular Compact, Modular and X‑Large faces, you’ll also be able to customise your watch face with a range of colours and gradients.
Some changes are coming with watchOS 9 that offer new fetaures for kids with Apple Watches that don’t have an iPhone.
For example, they will have access to the Podcasts app, the Home app for controlling HomePod speakers and smart home accessories and they can also access home keys and hotel keys in Wallet.
Apple Watch already offers some great accessibiity features but watchOS 9 brings the option to double pinch to start a workout or take a photo.
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There’s also a feature called Apple Watch Mirroring that streams your Apple Watch to your iPhone and allows you to fully control it using assistive features on iPhone like Switch Control and Voice Control.
Notifications on the Apple Watch are changing slightly with watchOS 9. When you’re using your Watch, notifications come through as banners. When your wrist is down, notifications come through as full-screen.
The Calendar app on Apple Watch is also getting some new features with watchOS 9. You can finally create new events directly from your Watch and you can navigate to specific days and weeks more easily through the View Options menu.
New trainer call-outs are being added to Fitness+, so you’ll see Intensity Metrics that are called out on screen, whether that’s iPhone or a compatible TV that you’ve AirPlayed your workout to.
Trainers also provide rowing, cycling and treadmill guidance with watchOS 9, such as strokes per minute for rowing and cadence for cycling.
Body temperature readings
Although this won’t be available on former Apple Watch models (or the new SE), the Apple Watch Series 8 comes with a temperature sensor that can detect changes in body temperature.
Car crash detection
The new Series 8, Watch SE and Watch Ultra also feature car crash detection, which will alert emergency services automatically if you find yourself in a serious car accident.
Writing by Britta O’Boyle.