CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Wearable Tech

WWDC 2019: Apple updates WatchOS 6, adds voice memo, hearing health and the App Store

Apple refreshes its wearable OS and adds a new feature that measures decibel levels.

watchos6

Apple CEO Tim Cook at WWDC 2019.

Screenshot by Lynn La/CNET

At Apple's annual WWDC conference, which kicked off Monday in San Jose, California, the tech giant announced several updates to its wearable operating system, WatchOS 6, which will be available in the fall. These updates, alongside the company's signature Apple Watch smartwatch, continue Apple's ambitions of seamlessly integrating software with its popular hardware devices. Apple's ability to control every aspect of its products -- something that began when Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded the company in 1976 -- has been key in making it the most powerful company in tech.

One of the new features include App Store, which enables you to directly download apps from the Apple Watch (instead of using your iPhone). Apple also expanded the capabilities of its digital search assistant Siri. It can now identify songs and bring up web results for your search queries.

Now playing: Watch this: Apple introduces cycle and noise tracking for Apple Watch
2:44

Apple also redesigned the Reminders app and added Voice Memo for recording voices and reminders. WatchOS 6 also includes Calculator, so you peck out calculations on the Apple Watch's tiny screen. 

Because the Apple Watch is a fitness tracker, the company added a handful of health-minded apps. The Noise app notifies users when they are in a loud environment that could harm their hearing. Apple says the app only periodically samples noise levels and does not record or save audio. WatchOS 6 tracks menstrual cycles too, where users can log key aspects of their period and be notified of an upcoming "fertility window." 

Lastly, no WatchOS update is complete without a number of new watch faces. There's a two-toned interface called "gradient," and "infograph modular," which displays several watch complications on one screen that can be swapped around. A few new complications include player controls for your audiobooks, and another that works in conjunction with the Noise app to show your environment's decibel levels.

watchos6-complication

The Noise app on WatchOS 6.

Apple

Other features include:

  • Accessibility settings on watch
  • "Chance of rain" and "Wind" complications
  • Smart guidance in Maps
  • Shuffle workout playlist
  • Current elevation metric in workouts
  • Usage of Stopwatch app during workouts
  • Apple Podcasts stations
  • Spoken navigation in Maps
  • Shared list in Reminders
  • Dynamic smart replies
  • Shazam with Siri
  • Account login on watch
  • Cellular connectivity complication
  • Workout summary on watch
  • Tap to speak time
  • For You in Apple Music
  • Mute Mail threads
  • Siri web search results

The update requires iOS 13, which will only run on iPhone 6S phones and later. It will be available for all Apple Watches (from the first Apple Watch to Apple Watch Series 4), however not all WatchOS 6 features will be accessible on all watches.

Originally published June 3. 
Update, June 4: Adds more information about watchOS 6 and device compatibility.