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12 Jun 2024
Apple adds new Vitals app and training load feature to watchOS 11
By Kath Hudson
Apple adds new Vitals app and training load feature to watchOS 11
watchOS 11 will notify users about their training load
Photo: Apple
Apple has previewed the upcoming watchOS 11, which has more health and fitness insights and offers more personalisation than ever before.

David Clark, Apple’s senior director of watchOS Engineering, says: "The watchOS is the world’s most advanced wearable operating system, supporting users to stay healthy, active and connected and offering users additional actionable insights into their health and fitness, more personalisation to fit their unique needs and new ways to stay connected while on the go.”

Connected to the new Vitals app, watchOS 11, will allow people to check their health metrics – such as sleep duration, respiratory rate, heart rate and blood oxygen levels – at a glance and see if they are in their typical range. If two or more metrics are out of their typical range, they’ll receive a message detailing how this may be linked to what is going on in their life, such as increased alcohol consumption.

Training load is another new feature, measuring how the intensity and duration of workouts impacts a user’s body over time. The previous seven days are compared to the previous 28 days, allowing users to make informed decisions about their training, which is especially useful if they are preparing for an event. Additional information in the Fitness app on iPhone further details the possible impact on their fitness if they continue to train at that current level, for example potential changes in fitness, or risk of injury.

To measure intensity, a new effort rating will be available after each workout to track how difficult it was on a scale from 1 to 10. Popular cardio-based workout types will use an innovative new algorithm to make an estimate – which can be altered – and where an automatic estimate is not provided, such as strength training, users can manually enter an effort rating.

Other new features include custom workouts for swimmers; more support for pregnant women, reflecting changes in their physical and mental health and a safety check-in feature for early morning or late night workouts, so a family member or friend knows when the workout ends. Apple Cash has been updated to allow money to be sent and received by just holding a watch near another Apple Watch or iPhone. There is also a new translation feature and more workouts have been added to the Workout app, including skiing, snowboarding, golf and lacrosse.

A public beta will be available to watchOS users next month, while watchOS 11 will be available this autumn as a free software update for Apple Watch Series 6 or later paired with iPhone Xs and following that running iOS 18.

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