On Monday, Apple detailed its plans for watchOS 8, the next major software update for the Apple Watch. The operating system will introduce improved texting and photo sharing, new HomeKit integrations, and some smaller updates to health and fitness features.
The Apple Watch’s Breathe app gets new animations and adds “Reflect,” which pushes mindfulness prompts that accompany a calming animation you can focus on as you reflect. These features are housed in the new Mindfulness app.
In Fitness, Apple is adding two new workouts: Tai Chi and Pilates. Apple Fitness+ gets another set of workouts focused on HIIT (high-intensity interval training); the service will also include Artist Spotlights, which suggests music to play during your workouts. watchOS8 will also provide respiratory-rate tracking for sleep, but not for workouts.
A new watch face option for portrait pictures lets you zoom in on the subject in a sort of parallax effect. A mosaic layout in the Apple Watch’s Photos app allows you to more easily browse photos on your wrist. From there, you can tap to send photos in a text or email. Text selection and a cursor have also been added; you can replace or edit text, using the crown to move the cursor and your finger to tap and select. Emojis are also now more easily accessible.
New HomeKit integrations can send a notification when a package arrives or let you see who’s at your door when the doorbell rings.
watchOS 8 beta will be available starting in July and will come to supported Apple Watch devices this fall.