Apple's WWDC developer event began today, and during the keynote, the company announced the latest version of watchOS, the operating system that powers the Apple Watch. With watchOS 6, the company is bringing some major improvements to the experience.
For starters, the Apple Watch is becoming more independent from the iPhone, and developers can now develop standalone apps for the Watch, without the need for a companion app on the iPhone. To go along with that, the company is bringing the App Store directly to the Apple Watch, so you no longer need to use an iPhone to install apps on your Watch.
Apps are also more capable on the Apple Watch now, as Apple is enabling new APIs for developers. These include the Extended Runtime API and the Streaming Audio API, the latter of which means you can now use the Watch to stream music from your favorite service without having to bring your phone with you.
Apple is bringing some of its own apps to watchOS with this new version, too. Audiobooks, Voice Memos, and the Calculator are all coming with this release, and the Calculator app also includes the tip calculator and the ability to split the bill with others.
The new version of watchOS also includes a bunch of new health features, starting with Trends. This feature will let you look back on your health stats over the past 90 days to analyze how your numbers have changed, such as how much time you spend running per day, and so on.
There's also hearing protection, meaning that the Watch will now listen to how loud the environment around you is and let you know if it can cause any damage to your hearing, including how long it may be safe to stay in that environment before potential damage occurs. There's a new Noise app to go along with the new feature.
For women, Apple is bringing the ability to track your menstrual cycle using the Apple Watch, as well as through the Health app on your iPhone.
Lastly, Apple is also bringing some new watch faces to Apple Watch, including a new color gradient that moves with the clock hands, and one that tracks the sun's movement on your screen. There's also a pride-themed watch face, and along with it comes a pride watch band just in time for Pride Month.