Six New Apple Watch Features Coming Later This Year

With new Apple Watch Ultra and Series 8 models now in the hands of customers, Apple has brought a host of nifty new features to many people’s wrists. But there is more to come.

Apple Watch 6 New Features Feature 2
Apple has a handful of additional features in store for Apple Watch Series 8 and ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ owners before the end of the year, and some of them are watchOS 9 features, meaning they’ll even work on older Apple Watch models. Here’s what we can expect.

1. Track registration

trace detection

Apple will soon introduce a new running experience that automatically detects when you arrive at a running course and combines Apple Maps data with GPS to provide a more accurate route map – including the ability to choose your course – and more accurate pace and distance measurements . Apple says Track Detection is coming to the US later this year via a software update for Apple Watch Series 4 and newer models.

2. Race Route

Apple watchOS 9 Race Route 220912 inline

A new training feature especially for runners, Race Route allows you to race against your best or last result on all frequently completed routes. The feature will also offer in-session pacing guidance to keep your progress competitive. Apple says Race Route is coming later this year to Apple Watch Series 4 and later.

3. International roaming

international roaming companies

For cellular Apple Watch models, Apple will soon introduce support for international roaming. Apple says it has deals with 30 carrier partners to support the feature, including Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile in the US, Three and O2 in the UK, and international carriers including China Mobile, Movistar and Softbank. Apple says international roaming will be available by the end of this year for Apple Watch Series 5 and later cellular models.

4. Family Setup – Home App Support

Apple watch watch 2 family setup

Coming to Family Setup is support for the Home app, which allows a child to be invited as a member to control HomePod speakers and smart home accessories. As a result of the added support, children will also be able to use home keys and hotel keys in Apple Wallet.

The feature depends on Apple’s new Home architecture, a separate update in the Home app, and will be available in a software update later this year. Note that sharing control of your home and receiving home notifications requires a home hub, and only Apple TV and HomePod are supported as home hubs in iOS 16.

5. Oceanic+ App (Apple Watch Ultra)

oceanic plus app

Developed by Apple in conjunction with third-party outfit Hush Outdoors, the Oceanic+ is a built-in dive computer specifically designed for ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ models. As a free app in the App Store, Oceanic+ will include depth tracking (including depth alarms), GPS tracking, logbook (up to 12 dives), snorkeling and more.

For more advanced diving options such as No Decompression Limit, users will be required to purchase an Oceanic+ subscription plan ($4.99/day, $9.99/month or $79/year). Oceanic+ will be available in the ‌App Store‌ later this fall.

6. Low Power Mode (Apple Watch Ultra)

ultra battery life

‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ has the best battery life of any Apple Watch, reaching up to 36 hours under normal use. However, Apple has a new low-power setting on the way that can extend battery life to reach up to 60 hours on a single charge.

Apple says this expected battery life is based on the following use in low power mode and with exercise settings enabled for fewer heart rate and GPS readings: 15 hours of exercise, over 600 time checks, 35 minutes of app use, 3 minutes of talk time, and 15 hours of sleep tracking during 60 hours. Apple says the low-power setting with reduced frequency of GPS and heart rate readings will be available later this fall.


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