The App Store will come to the Apple Watch with WatchOS 6

While iOS 13 may have stolen the show at Apple’s 2019 Worldwide Developer Conference, the company still had a few interesting things to say about WatchOS 6. The latest and greatest operating system for the Apple Watch is only getting smarter, and Apple Watch users will soon be treated to a host of new features on their device.

The developer beta of WatchOS 6 is available now, with a public beta coming in July, and a full version of the software set to launch in the fall, likely alongside the Apple Watch Series 5.

Here’s everything you need to know about the new WatchOS 6.

A new Apple Watch App Store

watchos 6 news app store
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Perhaps the biggest changes to the Apple Watch are that developers will now be able to create apps specifically for the Apple Watch, and users will be able to browse apps for the Apple Watch through a dedicated Apple Watch App Store. In other words, developers will no longer need to create iPhone apps for Apple Watch apps to pair with — which could help make the Apple Watch a whole lot more functional.

The App Store itself is aimed at being easy to scroll through popular apps, see screenshots, and more — all straight from the Apple Watch itself.

New apps

Apple is also launching a few new apps to the Apple Watch, many of which have long been requested. For starters, there’s a new Audiobooks app for the Apple Watch, meaning that you can continue to listen to your audiobooks without the need for an iPhone or Mac.

There are also new Voice Memos and Calculator apps, the latter of which will give users the ability to calculate tips and even split a bill with friends. It’s a handy feature, and an example of something that users might take advantage of while on the go.

Activity and health

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Some major changes are coming to the Apple Watch’s fitness- and health-tracking features. One of the coolest is the Apple Watch’s new ability to track and display “Activity Trends.” These trends essentially compare your activity over the past 90 days to the past 365 days, allowing you to see whether or not you’re becoming more or less active. Trends compared include basic metrics, like your Stand, Exercise, and Move rings, as well as things like workout, walking pace, and so on.

There’s also a new Noise app for the Apple Watch, which is aimed at helping users preserve their hearing. The app uses the microphone to detect ambient noise levels, and can warn users if the noise level is at a point where it could damage hearing. As Apple was quick to point out, the app doesn’t record or save any audio — ensuring that privacy as maintained.

Another long-requested feature is the new Cycle Tracking ability, which allows women to track their monthly cycle and even alert users when their period is likely to begin soon. Cycle Tracking allows women to log activity, like the beginning of their period, and how heavy their flow is. The data is also viewable in the Apple Health app.

New watch faces

watchos 6 news faces
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Apple is also bringing a few new watch faces to the Apple Watch, including some that are more basic and beautiful, and others that are more functional and packed with features.

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