Back in June, Apple announced its new watchOS 8 software would be available in spring (autumn in the US) of this year. And with past Apple Watch software updates launching during the month of September, alongside new hardware, many speculate that’ll be the case again — that Apple will soon be releasing both its new watch software (watchOS 8) and hardware.
So, What Do We Know About the New Hardware So Far?
Officially, nothing. Though, again, in past years, the software launch has coincided with the launch of the new hardware. This week, Apple announced a virtual event, which will take place on September 14, so it’s expected the new hardware will be revealed then.
Currently, there are three models on the market: Apple Watch Series 3, Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE. Given the history, it’s expected the new watch will be called Apple Watch Series 7.
CNET reports: “The new smartwatch is rumoured to come with a refreshed design and faster performance compared to the Apple Watch Series 6.”
What Are Some of the New Features on watchOS 8?
So, again, while we don’t know much about the hardware — everything is still rumoured, at this stage — we do know a lot about watchOS 8. “With watchOS 8, we’re bringing more convenient access to places users live, work and visit with significant updates to Home and Wallet; expanding support for both physical and mental wellbeing; and enabling richer personal connections with the new Portraits face and updates to Messages,” said Kevin Lynch, Apple’s vice president of technology.
Some new feature highlights — though hardly extensive! — include:
More Access With Wallet
Though Apple Watch Series 6 allowed you to use digital car keys, the new software will let you add keys to your home, office and hotel to your Wallet, too. Later this year, starting with participating states in the US, users will be able to also add their driver license or state ID to their Wallet. No word yet on when this feature will be available in Australia.
A Re-branded Mindfulness App
If you have an Apple Watch already, you’re probably familiar with the app Breath. Well, in the new software, it’ll now be branded as the Mindfulness app and along with beautiful new animations, will also now include a new session type called Reflect. Each Reflect session will offer you a thoughtful notion to consider that’ll help you bring about a positive frame of mind. The notion might be: “Recall a time recently when you felt a sense of calm. Bring that feeling into this moment” or “Reflect on one thing you’re grateful for and think about why you appreciate it so much.”
On the mindfulness front, watchOS 8 will also include a set of tools called Focus, which are designed to help you reduce distraction and be in the moment. Your Apple Watch will automatically set your Focus so your notifications will be filtered based on what you’re doing. Focus uses on-device intelligence to make suggestions based on how you’re using your watch — for example, when starting a workout, the Focus for fitness will be suggested.
Redesigned Home App
The redesigned Home app will give you more convenient access to all your accessories and scenes, as well as the ability to control accessories by room. If you have the HomeKit-enabled camera, you’ll be able to see who’s at your front door directly from your watch. You’ll also be able to tap Intercom to broadcast a message throughout your home or to individual homes, using a HomePod, HomePod mini or other personal devices.