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Apple WatchOS 5 adds new activity, communication features

The new communication features come in the form of a new Walkie-Talkie mode that works over cellular and WiFi, along with more interactive notifications.
Written by Natalie Gagliordi, Contributor on
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Apple announced a refresh to watchOS that brings new health and activity modes along with features designed to boost the watch's communication functionality.

On the health and activity front, watchOS 5 will give Apple Watch users enhanced workouts, including modes for hiking and yoga, as well as a running feature that gives runners cadence to show them current steps per minute.

The latest OS also comes with automatic workout detection and lets users initiate 7-day fitness challenges with friends.

Apple's healthcare overview comes as Fitbit said that it sold more than 1 million Versa devices. In addition 2.4 million users have used its female health tracking feature.

Nevertheless, Apple CEO Tim Cook said at the start of the watchOS presentation that Apple Watch is No. 1 in customer satisfaction, though it's unclear what devices it's using for comparison.

"Growth has been off the charts," Cook said. "Apple Watch grew 60 percent last year."

The new communication features come in the form of a new Walkie-Talkie mode that works over cellular and WiFi, along with more interactive notifications. Apple has also improved message notifications and integrated the OS with WebKit, which will let users see websites and look at links in messages.

On the Siri watch face, introduced last year, watchOS 5 is adding Siri Shortcuts and the ability to use third party apps on the Siri watch face.

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