If you thought that a smartwatch’s intelligence was limited to tracking your steps, reminding you to move, and telling the time, the new Apple Watch Series 8 is here to prove you wrong.
The watch – which first launched back in 2015 – has debuted countless innovations along the way, and its eighth iteration is no exception. This time, however, it’s also gone beyond being a mere smartwatch to also becoming your BFF when it comes to health and safety. Here’s what you can look forward to with this little tech ingenuity, and why you’ll want the latest iteration – the Apple Watch Series 8 – on your wrist now.
All the cool new features we loved on the Apple Watch Series 8
Wrist Temperature Sensing for Women’s Health
Unless you’ve been blessed with a menstrual cycle that comes and goes like clockwork, chances are you 1) have no idea how long your cycle is or 2) already have an app that you use to manually track it. The watch takes the guesswork and legwork out of this with its new temperature-sensing technology.
Here, the two-sensor design – one on the back of the watch where the skin touches, and another just under the display – works to collect data at night whilst you sleep. All the variables have been accounted for here; nighttime wrist temperature is a good indicator of overall body temperature, plus, the sensor under the display reduces bias from the outside environment, such as blankets, to give more accurate readings. The sensors collect data every five seconds here, and measures changes as little as 0.1°C.
Sync your watch to your phone, and your Health app will present to you an easy-to-read report that details your baseline temperature, which can be used to gauge ovulation periods and track cycles. If the watch senses a possible deviation – whether it’s irregular or prolonged cycle, or persistent spotting – it’ll notify you so that you’re aware and can think about seeking medical attention.
Another key upgrade in this watch is Crash Detection, a feature that could be lifesaving one day. Equipped with a gyroscope and an advanced accelerometer, the watch works with an algorithm that has been developed via motion sensors at professional crash test labs in simulated real-world accidents.
When a severe car crash is detected, the watch will check in with the user. If you’re unresponsive, it’ll dial emergency services for you, and responders on the other end will use your iPhone’s location to send help your way. As you’ve already guessed, the Apple Watch and iPhone work closely to make this happen. Crash Detection also takes into consideration the barometer, GPS, and microphone readings from the iPhone to determine if this is a severe crash, and will place the call for you through your iPhone to ensure you get the best possible connection.
Low Power Mode
Tracking menstrual cycles and sleep with the Apple Watch Series 8 means that you’re going to be wearing the watch at night, so that rules out charging the device overnight. So when’s a good time? To keep your watch going for longer, Apple has introduced a Low Power Mode that’ll stretch battery time to 36 hours (with iPhone present). This mode might disable or limit sensors and features like the Always-On Retina display or heart health notifications, but it’ll give you extra juice until you get to your next charge.
Cool WatchOS 9 updates to look out for
Yes, we know that compasses aren’t exactly a thing anymore now that we have digital maps, but it’s still extremely helpful on treks that are off the beaten track. Now in a more intuitive (read: less boring) interface, the redesigned app that you’ll get with watchOS 9 offers more information and three distinct views: an analog and digital compass view, as well one that shows latitude, longitude, elevation, and incline when you turn the Digital Crown. It’ll also reveal Compass Waypoints and Backtrack, which uses GPS data that shows you where you’re been. This is especially helpful if you get lost or disoriented when in the wild outdoors, and need a little help retracing your steps back to base. Meanwhile, the Compass Waypoint feature allows you to mark a location of interest whilst on your adventure.
If you needed more precise data from your workouts, Apple is here to help. The improved Workout app includes new in-session views like segments, splits, and elevation to give you more in-depth knowledge of your progress. If you’re a seasoned or aspiring triathlete, the new Multisport workout will auto-detect as you switch between the stages to record transition times, amongst other data. Runners can also rejoice as the new OS will give more running form metrics, including Stride Length, Ground Contact Time, and Vertical Oscillation.
Want to know why you’ve woken up grumpy? The watchOS 9 might have some insights. With the introduction of sleep stages, the Apple Watch takes feedback from the accelerometer and heart rate sensor to figure out when you’re in REM, Core, or Deep Sleep. All these, plus heart rate and respiratory rate details will give you a deeper understanding of why you’re not sleeping as well as you should be.
The Apple Watch Series 8 starts at S$599 and is available on the Apple Store online, in the Apple Store app, and in physical stores today.
This article first appeared on Prestige Online Singapore.