Apple Enhances Biometric Fitness Tracking with watchOS 7 Update

Apple Enhances Biometric Fitness Tracking with watchOS 7 Update

Apple has further refined the fitness tracking capabilities of its Apple Watch devices, announcing upgrades at this week’s Worldwide Developers Conference for 2020.

Apple’s latest smartwatches already support relatively advanced biometric capabilities, thanks in large part to the ECG monitor first implemented with the Apple Watch Series 4. Some of the new capabilities arriving through a software update combine that technology with advanced motion tracking: Apple’s Workout app, for example, can now use heart rate data together with information from the Apple Watch’s accelerometer and gyroscope to track different types of workouts including Core Training and Functional Strength Training, among others. The technologies can also be used to assess body motions in dance-based workouts.

Fittingly, the Activity app has now been rebranded as the Fitness app. Meanwhile, the Health app now has a Mobility Metrics feature that tracks things like walking speed, how fast the user walks up or down stairs, and asymmetry in the user’s steps, among other metrics.

Apple is even delving into what has been called “sleep fitness”, with the Apple Watch now capable of monitoring micro-movements that can signal respiratory patterns during sleep. The Sleep app can thus give the user a picture of how much sleep they’re getting each night, with a graphic illustrating periods of wakefulness through a given night.

Other new features arriving through watchOS 7 including new watch face options, an enhanced Noise app, and a handwashing detection system that Apple touted as “a first-of-its-kind innovation” in a press release, though Samsung announced a handwashing app for its own smartwatch devices earlier this month.