In addition to releasing iOS 13, Apple on Thursday also rolled out the watchOS 6 update to select Apple Watch models. Apart from new apps like Noise and Voice Memos as well as features such as menstrual cycle tracking and the ability to install apps directly from the watch itself, the update brings new health-focussed features to India. First is notifications for irregular heart rhythm (A-fib detection), which will be available to all Apple Watch models that receive the watch OS 6 update. Additionally, Apple Watch Series 4 users will now be able to record electrocardiograms using the built-in ECG app. The features will also be available in Apple Watch Series 5 when it goes on sale in the country next week.
Atrial fibrillation, or A-fib, is an abnormal heart rhythm, which indicates rapid and irregular beating of the heart. Sometimes, it's accompanied by other symptoms like chest pain, but quite often, there are no outwards signs. If left untreated, A-fib can result in stroke, which makes timely detection of A-fib extremely important.
The irregular rhythm notification feature can occasionally check heart rhythms in the background and send a notification if an irregular heart rhythm that appears to be atrial fibrillation (A-fib) is identified. Apple notes that the Apple Watch is not constantly looking for A-fib, so all instances of A-fib may not be detected.
However, if irregular heart rhythm such as A-fib is identified on five rhythm checks over a minimum of 65 minutes, a notification will be generated to alert the user.
Available only to Apple Watch Series 4 (and newer) users, the ECG app requires a more active approach from the users. Electrodes built into the back crystal of the watch as well as the Digital Crown work together to enable users to take an electrocardiogram from the convenience of their home or office. Just fire up the ECG app on the Apple Watch, touch the crown, and watch the app count down 30 seconds.
Each heart rhythm is then classified as A-fib, sinus rhythm, or inconclusive. Apple says that all recordings and their associated classifications as well as any noted symptoms are stored in the Health app on iPhone. If needed, users can share a PDF of the results with physicians.
watchOS 6 update
watchOS 6 update has now been rolled out to Apple Watch Series 3 and Series 4 owners. Apple Watch Series 2 and Series 1 will receive the update this Fall.
watchOS 6 update brings new features and apps like Calculator, Cycle Tracking, Voice Memos, Noise, a native App Store, and more. New watch faces include Modular Compact, Solar Dial, California, Gradient, and Numerals.
Here's the full watchOS 6 changelog:
- New Cycle Tracking app to log information about your menstrual cycle including flow level, symptoms, and spotting
- Option to log fertility metrics, including basal body temperature and ovulation test results
- Period predictions and notifications to let you know when your next period is approaching
- Fertile window predictions and notifications to let you know when your fertile window is approaching
- View the decibel levels in your environment in real time with the new Noise app
- Option to be notified if the noise in your environment rises to a level that could affect your hearing over time
- Available on Apple Watch Series 4
- Record Voice Memos using Apple Watch
- Listen to Voice Memo recordings through the built-in speaker on Apple Watch or connect a Bluetooth device
- Rename recordings with Dictation or Scribble
- New memos automatically sync across your iPhone, iPad, or Mac with iCloud
- Sync audiobooks from Apple Books on your iPhone to Apple Watch
- Sync up to five hours of the book you're currently reading
- Stream audiobooks when connected to Wi-Fi or cellular
- Discover and install apps for Apple Watch with the new App Store
- Browse curated apps and collections
- Search for apps using Siri, Dictation or Scribble
- View app descriptions, reviews, and screenshots
- Support for Sign in with Apple
- Track your Activity trends in the Activity app on iPhone
- Trends surfaces your activity metrics averaged over the last 90 days compared to your performance over the last 365 days; metrics include: move, exercise, stand, stand minutes, distance, cardio fitness (VO2 max), walking pace, and running pace
- View specific coaching tips to get back on track if trend arrows are pointing down
- New current elevation metric for Outdoor Run, Outdoor Walk, Outdoor Cycle and Hiking workouts. Available on Apple Watch Series 2 and later
- Stopwatch app can now be continuously viewed on your watch face during workouts
- Shuffle your Workout music playlist
- Adds GymKit support for True and Woodway
- Identify the song playing around you with Shazam—get song and artist information and the ability to add to your Apple Music library
- Support for Siri web search—see up to 5 results for web searches and tap to view website content optimized for Apple Watch
- Siri integration with redesigned Find People app supports location queries
- Numerals Mono and Numerals Duo—Digital faces available in Arabic, Arabic Indic, Roman numerals and Devanagari
- Meridian—A black or white dial that fills the screen and includes four subdial complications (Series 4 only)
- Gradient—Dynamically changes design as time passes. Available in full screen or circular with up to five complications (Series 4 only)
- California—Available in multiple numeral styles including Roman, Arabic and Devanagari, full screen or circular (Series 4 only)
- Solar Dial—Track the sun's path in circular form mapped across a 24-hour dial (Series 4 only)
- Modular Compact—Display enriched complications with the option to choose between Analog or Digital time (Series 4 only)
- Tap to Speak on all watch faces with support for over 30 languages
- Option to receive and customize time-keeping chimes—set to receive an alert on the hour, every half hour, or every 15 minutes either with haptics or a customizable audible chime
- Reorder watch faces directly from your Apple Watch
- New complications for Audiobooks, Calculator, Cellular Connectivity, Cycle Tracking, Noise, Wind, Rain and Voice Memos
- New monochrome complications in Infograph and Infograph Modular
Other features and improvements:
- New Calculator app with the ability to calculate tips and split the check
- Podcasts app now supports custom stations
- Maps includes Smart Guidance and spoken navigation
- Redesigned Now Playing app supports Apple TV remote controls
- Personalized music picks are now available in For You
- Automatic software updates
- Redesigned Walkie-Talkie app
- More settings directly available on Apple Watch including Accessibility, Workout and Health
- Redesigned Find People app lets you add friends, set notifications and change settings on Apple Watch
- View shared lists, subtasks and add new reminders right from within the redesigned Reminders app
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