In the wake of iOS 12 landing for the bigger devices, Apple is updating software for the Apple Watch to WatchOS 5. The update features walkie-talkie capabilities, the ability to listen to podcasts, and brings Siri closer to you…
WatchOS 5 will only work with Apple Watch Series 2 and later, and you’ll need to make sure the connected Apple device is updated to iOS 12 (if you still need to do the software update, check out our guide). Also make sure to have the watch charged to at least 50% before attempting the update.
With all of the practicalities out of the way, let’s take a look at the features of WatchOS 5.
Walkie-talkie like the good ol’ days
The Walkie-Talkie feature works over Wi-Fi, which is good for South African users, as we don’t have access to eSims yet, so we’re not being offered the 4G/LTE-enabled Apple Watches that make it possible to place calls, receive messages and do other network-connection-dependent things without an iPhone in Bluetooth range.
Walkie-Talkie enables real-time voice sharing with others who also have the updated Watch software. Users decide who to chat with by accepting or declining instant Walkie-Talkie requests they receive, or by sending their own.
Everyone likes a good podcast
Apple has also added the Podcasts app to the new software version, which will make your favourite Joe Rogan podcasts (and all the others out there) more accessible. Tired of your running playlist? Perhaps its time to combine workouts with self-improvement.
You can manage which podcasts are synced to your Apple Watch from the Watch app on your connected iPhone by selecting Podcasts from the list and customising it to your preferences.
Browse the tiny web?
Too lazy to pick up your iPhone when someone sends you an interesting link? You’ll now be able to view links sent to you in messages or emails directly on the watch.
So the next time someone texts you a link, or there’s another Elon Musk scandal you want to view when you’ve left your phone in the car, just read it on your tiny watch screen. Will sites now have to be Watch responsive? We hope not.
You don’t have to greet Siri anymore
Now you don’t have to say “Hey Siri” to wake up Apple’s digital assistant in WatchOS 5. There’s a new ‘raise to speak’ feature that recognises when you raise your wrist toward your mouth and begins listening for a command.
Apparently you’ll have to start talking right after you’ve raised your wrist. If you don’t start talking, the Siri interface doesn’t show up. And for the old-school readers — you can turn off ‘raise to speak’ in the Apple Watch Settings app, no probs.
Not forgetting about fitness, though
Above all, the Apple Watch is a fitness device, and Apple has added a handful of new fitness features to WatchOS 5.
Apple has added new workout types in WatchOS 5 that include ‘yoga’ and ‘hiking’. It also features new tracking abilities, like keeping track of running pace in ‘Outdoor Run’, the ‘Cadence’ feature that displays your current steps per minute, and automatic workout detection that is apparently even more accurate than before.