With the release of the Apple Watch OS9 and the announcement from Apple at AWWDC 2022, we can see the company pushing toward more of a health and fitness focus. This makes sense for many reasons. First, Apple has a loyal customer base and an extensive line of products that are exclusive to one another. So, for those customers, the OS9 advancements are improvements upon something they were likely to purchase. Second, Apple will need these features to keep up with brands like Fitbit, Samsung, or Garmin or to have customers switch to Apple, as some new features on OS9 are standard on other fitness trackers and watches.
But beyond the new Health and Fitness features from OS9, there are a couple of stylistic updates that help Apple remain a more fashionable smartwatch option. Apple also introduced updated design features and existing health or workout features.
So when we look at OS9 as a whole, rather than comparing its single features to other brands, it is an incredibly comprehensive operating system to have on your wrist. But when can you get OS9 on your Apple Watch 3 or newer?
You can join the Beta Testing Program with Apple ID for now until the public version of Apple OS9 is rumored to release in July 2022.
New Apple OS9 Features
Apple released its Watch Series 7 with numerous useful faces. These watch faces can help you track a variety of metrics, can make your watch look classic with analog options, or you can even make a round clock face contour to your rectangular screen. And now, with OS9, there are, of course, more Apple Watch Faces to get excited about, and as with other Apple faces, these can be customized to a certain degree.
Astronomy: this is an update or a “refresh” of a face that can now utilize the Watch 7’s larger screen area. The image of the world also now displays real-time cloud cover.
Lunar: a rich calendar face that can also display Chinese, Hebrew, and Islamic Calendars
Playtime: created by artist Joi Fulton, especially for watchOS9, it is simply a fun and dynamic watch face
Metropolitan: used to reflect classic watch face fonts with dynamic numbers; as you move the digital crown, the numbers can stretch. Available in a variety of background colors.
Updates to existing Apple watch faces: Apple didn’t just spend time creating new faces but also revamping some existing ones. You can now edit colors on some of the classic faces, add new complications, or turn on the Focus. The Focus mode allows your watch to switch between different faces depending on your activities. You can create a personal focus or health focus, for example.
See some of our other favorite Apple watch faces of 2022 here.
Apple Fitness on OS9
There are also a few new workout features we can expect from OS9. All aimed to help better your performance. These new features can be especially attractive to serious runners but can also help the average jogger make the most of their time on the paths.
A large piece of this is the Apple Watch 7, and eventually, the Series 8 will be able to gauge your running power. Not many other smartwatches can do this, and Apple may be the only watch that doesn’t require an extra sensor to monitor running power.
New OS9 Running Features
We get three new metrics from Apple to help with running performance:
Vertical oscillation (VO): This major feature can’t be found on other smartwatches and usually requires other monitoring equipment. With the vertical oscillation tracking, Apple uses your wrist and arm movement to measure how much your body moves vertically while running. Why track this? VO stats can tell you if you’re using energy to move yourself up where you could be using it to move yourself forward.
Stride length & Ground contact time: these sound self-explanatory. However, what is cool is how Apple adjusted their Workout Views to make room for stride length and ground contact time.
Heart rate zones
By having heart rate zones on your smartwatch, you’ll easily be able to see your workouts according to your heart; this heart rate data is an excellent reflection of your workout’s intensity as they show you what parts of your workout routine raise your heart rate the most. This, in turn, can tell you more about how efficiently you’re burning fat or calories. You can develop your own heart rate zones or have OS9 calculate the zones for you. You can further use these zones as a training aid by setting up alerts. These alerts don’t only apply to Heart Rate Zones but also pace or cadence, for example.
New Multisport Workout
It essentially means triathlon automation. With OS9’s Multisport workout option, your watch will automatically switch between the three exercises (running, swimming, and cycling) according to the changes in your movement. The transition time will appear on your screen as a large T and a countdown clock from 15 seconds.
IOS16 Fitness App
Maybe you still need to save up money for an Apple Watch 7, or perhaps you are waiting until the Watch 8 is released, likely next Fall. If this is the case, you can now get the Apple Fitness App with IOS16 and several of the helpful statistics you would from your wrist. IOS16 will enable all iPhone users to access health tracking like steps, distance, flights, and 3rd part app workouts.
Apple will now offer the same level of sleep tracking you can expect from most other smartwatch brands like Fitbit and Garmin. This means your sleep tracking will be more in-depth on OS9 with Sleep Stages. You can now see your sleep cycles between REM, Deep, or Core sleep.
See our review here of Apple’s latest release, the Watch 7.
Bernadette has a bachelor’s degree in Communications from MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (where she lives). She has a passion for writing and we like her contribution and style to our blog. Bernadette loves the outdoors and things like hiking, camping, and biking. Wishing she could travel more.
Bernadette is an editor, writer and proofreader for Superwatches. Currently lives in Alberta Canada.