watchOS 6 here

Apple watch series 5 on display in keynote

Sure it is the biggest selling smart watch in the world (actually it is the biggest selling watch of any kind in the world) but it doesn’t have the following the iPhone has. (had)

That is why there is every possibility that the release of watchOS 6 might have passed you by… or you don’t care because you have a Rolex.

Even so, those of us that own and love our watches were delighted this finally dropped and, I am happy to say, we were not disappointed.

So, what is new and why were we Watch nerds all a flutter today?

The watch now has an Appstore, right there on the watch. In the past you needed to do all your browsing for, and buying of, apps for the watch on your iPhone. Now, as you’ll see this trend repeated in many other features, the watch is independent of the iPhone.

One of the best things about the Apple Watch has always been the collection of watch faces you can have.

It would be nice if 3rd party developers could release some but I understand why Apple is resisting this trend.

Anyway, this release comes with new faces such as Gradient, Numbers Duo, and the California to name but three. In fact the California is so good it made me move away from the Simple watch face I have known and loved since my first Apple Watch in 2014.

Apple watch  with various face options

Siri is smarter as well. Not only has she picked up her game in general commands, she also can show you full web pages. If you, for example, ask her to find an article on racoons in shades, she will take you directly to the website in question rather than tell you to pick up your phone. More independence.

It might seem like a small thing, but the watch can now chime every hour with either bells or bird song. This is very handy for those of us (blush) that often get caught up in tasks and all of a sudden it is 2 am or you’ve missed your plane or the birth of your first born.

You can now record voice memos directly on your watch. This is very handy for those of us (blush) that have sudden thoughts that drift away like smoke if not committed to something more permanent than… sorry… what was I saying?

voice memo app on Apple watch

A calculator app is now on the watch. Awesome I know and super handy but still nothing for the iPad? Weird!

calculator app on Apple watch

It is no secret that the Apple Watch does a great job of tracking your health but now these figures are now grouped so (on the iPhone) you can see your health trends for a given period. So you can, at a glance, see that you have not been walking as much as you did last week.

Continuing the trend of health monitoring, there is now a period tracker. Sorry, that’s all I have on that. I hear it is good and can be useful for tracking fertility etc…but other than that…I am in the dark!

period tracking app on Apple watch

Exclusive to those with Series 4 and 5 watches, decibel levels are now recorded, letting you know that you are in a noisy environment that can lead to hearing loss if it goes on for too long.

noise monitor on Apple watch

And finally the interface, just like iOS13 has had an overhaul. Mere lists have been made easier to read with accompanying icons, buttons larger and text bolder. It is just a nicer, more considered, place to be.

new reminders app on Apple watch
Apple watch menu buttons

So this is about 1% of what the Apple Watch can do now. And the best thing, is it does it with confidence and reliability. In some ways it is more useful (if you have the cellular version) than a mobile phone for casual use. If you have an Apple Watch I highly recommend the upgrade. If you have been thinking about a watch this is a great time to take the plunge. The series 5 has some great features but you can still get a Series 4 from Amazon at a good price and this has all the essential goodies and capabilities.

Happy shopping.

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