Features and functions still coming to watchOS 9 and Apple Watch

From Apple Watch Ultra to watchOS 9, this case has been full of smart watch innovation. Apple isn’t quite finished, however, as there’s still more to come when it comes to new Apple Watch features.

Track detection

Listed as “coming soon” on the Apple Watch Ultra product page, track detection is an upcoming feature that runners will appreciate.

Apple includes a preview of track detection and how it will work with the Workout app in a future update. The feature automatically detects when you arrive at a running track and asks you which lane you’re using for the most precise metrics.

“Workout detects when you arrive at a track, and uses both Apple Maps data and GPS to provide the most accurate pace, distance, and route map,” Apple says.

race route

If your workout routine includes outdoor running or cycling on the same route, an update “coming later this year” will help you compete with your best performance. Race route is a new feature coming to the Workout app in an update to watchOS 9.

“If it’s an Outdoor Run or Cycle workout you do often, you can choose to race against your last or best result and receive in-the-moment updates to help you get there,” says Apple.

International roaming

Labeled “coming soon” on the Apple Watch Series 8 product page, international roaming is a new cellular feature for both the Series 8 and Ultra.

“With International roaming, make calls, send texts, stream music, and get help in an emergency in many of the places your travels take you,” says Apple.

HomeKit

An update to watchOS 9 and Family Setup will bring more HomeKit capabilities to Apple Watches set up for kids.

“Your children can be invited to the Home app as members and can control your HomePod speakers and smart home accessories like thermostats and lights,” says Apple. A future update will also let parents “add home keys, hotel keys, and more to Wallet” for kids through Family Setup.

Oceanic+

Apple Watch Ultra customers can already use Apple’s Depth app to record depth and measure water temperature, and a third-party dive app called Oceanic+ is still to come. Rather than creating its own diving app, Apple is relying on the experts at Oceanic to turn the Ultra into a diving computer. Apple Watch Ultra is rated for recreational scuba diving down to 40 meters.

“The Oceanic+ app on iPhone goes beyond calculating just depth and time by integrating local conditions like tides, water temperatures, and even community‑fed info like visibility and currents,” Apple promises.

“Or simply use your watch to quickly and easily plan your dive. All the safety warnings you expect from a dive computer are incorporated into Oceanic+, from decompression limits to excessive ascend rates and safety stops.”

Oceanic says “depth tracking (including depth alarms), GPS tracking, logbook (up to 12 dives), snorkeling and more” will be available for free.

A subscription is required for “more advanced diving options such as No Decompression Limit,” according to Oceanic. Pricing ranges from $5/day to $130/year. Oceanic+ won’t launch with freediving support, but the company says it will arrive in a future update.

Featured image: Apple Watch Ultra with Trail Loop using Siri watch face on Belkin BoostCharge Pro

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