Apple shows off watchOS 5 with Walkie-Talkie, better workouts, and deep notifications

Gerardo Harmon
June 5, 2018

Apple is set to release a new version of WatchOS with, unsurprisingly, new fitness features. The new watchOS also includes an upgraded Activity Sharing functionality that lets users invite their friends to compete in a seven-day Activity competition and earn points for closing Activity Rings. Watch will also detect when you've ended your workout and suggest you stop it if you've forgotten.

Adding contacts to Walkie-Talkie requires users to send a one-time request to another Watch owner, after which they can trade short voice recordings instantly over either Wi-Fi or cellular connections.

The Siri watchface will now incorporate additional types of information, including sports scores, Siri Shortcuts, and third-party apps - including relevant content and shortcuts. With a raise of the wrist, students can now gain access to places including the library, dorms and events, and pay for food and more around campus by adding simply their ID cards to Wallet on Apple Watch.

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Unlike the original iPhone, the first Apple Watch came with third-party apps from the start.

So Apple is also adding bells and whistles that have nothing to do with working out, an effort to prove to the skeptics that the Apple Watch isn't just a fitness tracker.

New features for the Siri watch face. If you have a Series 1, Series 2 or Series 3 Watch then you will receive the update later this year in the fall.

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Podcasts are coming to WatchOS as well.

Another new feature for watchOS 5 is the addition of Podcasts to the Apple Watch.

Unlike a real walkie-talkie, however, the app will work no matter where in the world your conversation partner is located. Still, it is worth noting that Apple is not offering a full-featured browser experience. A number of prominent iOS app makers abruptly discontinued their earlier Apple Watch apps earlier this year without explanation, including Twitter, Lyft, Instagram, Google, Amazon, eBay, and Target, potentially in preparation for major updates. WatchOS 5 can handle many of those natively, thanks to Web Kit integration.

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watchOS 5 packs in a new way to chat with friends.

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