While iOS 11 may have gotten all of the attention with its release on September 19, watchOS 4 started on the exact day and it’s just as significant for people who have an Apple Watch. WatchOS 4 is not a minor update that fixes some of those things Apple might have gotten wrong with previous iterations of this Apple Watch. In actuality, this update shows that Apple now knows what people want from the watch and it is focusing all of its energies on that.
The Apple Watch is a good smartwatch, but it is one of the very best fitness watches – if not the best fitness watch – in the market. The Series 2 (Review) in particular, with inbuilt GPS and swim-proof hardware, aims fitness enthusiasts. Nearly all of watchOS 4 big improvements are for people who work with their Apple Watch and that is great news.
The company highlighted a brand new Apple Watch feature that allows people know if they suffer from Arrhythmia during its September 12 occasion (available to customers in the usa at a later date to start with) and the watch asks you to opt in if you attempt to look at your pulse.
On the other hand, the very best thing in all this is that the Activity program on the iPhone now shows a heart rate graph for all of workouts you’ve logged with all the Apple Watch. This includes workouts logged before watchOS 4 came along, which is very nice to have. We could easily have a look at the toughest parts of our long term and see the specific points at which we stopped for a rest, which confirmed to us that the graphs were accurate.
The Apple Watch’s built-in heart rate program has also become much more useful. It currently monitors your resting heart rate during the day, along with your heart rate when you are walking, apart from measuring your current heart rate. These are nice features to have as a high resting heart rate could indicate that you have any health issues, which your doctor might help diagnose.
The Workout app on the Apple Watch currently has new workout modes like High Intensity Interval Training and it has been redesigned to reveal an icon of each workout it monitors. This is a fantastic move because lots of people use machines in the fitness center without knowing what the machine is called. For instance, we have heard plenty of folks refer to the Elliptical machine as a “cross trainer”, so having that icon helps individuals track their workouts better.
In general, we’re very delighted with the changes to the workout app and fitness related attributes but there is one thing that Apple could do well to fix. When we monitored outside runs, we noticed that the current pace metric was fluctuating too much for us to hold a continuous speed during one of our hard runs. When we were running under some trees in particular, our pace would fall from 5’45” to 6’50” or thereabouts.
However, that hasn’t affected the overall accuracy of its tracking. Even with watchOS 3, realtime current pace measurements weren’t the most accurate on the same route but we feel these fluctuations have increased since watchOS 4 was launched. That is something Apple should notice and fix.
On to other attributes, our favourite watchOS 4 feature is your ability to get rid of this “honeycomb” app design and switch to a list view instead. It takes a while to scroll to and also find the program you want but the list view ensures that we don’t need to play hide and seek when trying to fire up the alarm or the stopwatch. You will need to push the screen hard to show the list view option and we’re surprised that it’s not enabled by default.
When you play music or any other audio on your own iPhone, the Apple Watch now automatically launches the Currently Playing widget so you don’t need to fiddle with it just to skip forward or back 30 seconds. Similarly, the side button now opens recent programs by default instead of the dock. This means that you could use the digital crown to scroll through the list of current programs instead of scrolling sideways using the touchscreen. These tiny changes create a world of a difference to a Apple Watch experience and we are pleased to see the firm working on these tweaks.
Our first impressions of watchOS 4 on our Apple Watch Series 2 were quite positive since there’s been no noticeable drop in performance and also the new attributes improve its utility.