Fitness and Health

Apple announces new WatchOS update for better sleep, fitness and health tracking

Apple (AAPL) on Monday announced a series of updates to WatchOS, which powers millions of Apple Watches, including new sleep and medication tracking features. These updates, which also include new watch faces, were unveiled at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference 2022 (WWDC).

The Apple Medications app helps users track which medications to take when, and alerts them if the medications they’re taking interfere with each other. In announcing the new feature, Apple noted that about 50% of people in the US take prescription drugs regularly.

Apple has introduced Sleep Stages to the Apple Watch.

Apple has introduced Sleep Stages to the Apple Watch.

Apple also introduced Sleep Stages, which track how much time users spend in specific sleep stages. This includes time spent by the user in REM, core, and deep sleep. This enhances the Apple Watch’s existing sleep tracking and hygiene features, including the ability to set a sleep schedule now.

There were also a number of noteworthy fitness-related updates. For example, the Fitness app will be available to all iPhone users, even if they don’t have an Apple Watch. Additionally, Apple is pushing hard to run on the Apple Watch. New running metrics are available to assess your form, stride length, ground contact time, heart rate zones and new run-specific workouts.

New heart rate zones and new workouts are available on Apple Watch.

New heart rate zones and new workouts are available on Apple Watch.

Finally, Apple announced that it is seeking FDA clearance for what it calls a “first-of-its-kind” atrial fibrillation (AFib) tracking technology. AFib is a heart condition that can lead to stroke if left untreated.

Apple’s long-term commitment to the Apple Watch

These announcements build on the company’s commitment to its best-selling wearables. Last year, Apple also announced new health-monitoring features for the watch, including new workouts, the ability to track your breathing rate, and new watch faces.

Some new Apple Watch faces from WWDC 2022.

Some new Apple Watch faces from WWDC 2022.

The wearable market has expanded rapidly in recent years, establishing itself in popular culture and becoming more and more widely used. According to consumer research firm IDC, shipments in the wearable market will reach 533.6 million units in 2021, up 20% from the previous year. The Apple Watch currently dominates the market, but competition in this area is fierce. Just this month, Alphabet-owned Google (GOOG, GOOGL) announced the Pixel Watch.

Allie Garfinkle is a Senior Tech Reporter at Yahoo Finance.find her on her twitter @agarfinks.

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