watchOS 6 hands-on review: Noise app, watchOS App Store, and new watch faces

Last week, Apple announced a new version of watchOS which comes with a handful of new watch faces and features. In reality, watchOS 6 focuses on health and fitness features, which has been a crucial part of Apple’s smartwatch lineup in recent years. Apple quickly seeded the first beta of watchOS 6 after its WWDC event for testing purposes, giving developers a preview of what’s coming to its wearable OS.

I now have watchOS 6 installed my watch and will share with you my thoughts on Apple’s next-generation watchOS. I also rounded up the best features coming to watchOS 6 beta 1. Keep in mind, watchOS 6 is still in the early stages, meaning that it needs some polishing ahead of its public release. The beta version may include bugs and glitches, so if you are tempted to test the software, then my advice is to wait until the public beta releases.

Noise app

One of the biggest additions to watchOS 6 is a Noise app. To be honest, this is a cool app that Apple Watch fans have been demanding for years. Basically, once you have enabled it, your watch can check the sound levels around you and notify you when certain sound might damage your hearing.

This should come in handy as you don’t need to crank up the volume to drown out ambient sound, which could end up being worse for your hearing. In reality, the Noise app takes advantage of your watch’s built-in mic to detect ambient sound in the environment.

To be honest, the app works smoothly in watchOS 6 without any lags or crashes. However, the only complaint is the speed as there are times when it takes some time to send out an alert. It seems that Apple still has a lot of work to do ahead of a public release.

Voice memos and Calculator app

Some iOS apps made their debut in watchOS this year. From now on, you can record a quick voice memo directly on your Watch without the need for an iPhone. Plus, the Calculator app has its built-in tools for calculating tips and splitting bills.

Apple’s Audiobooks app is also on the way to watchOS 6, granting you access to all the audiobooks you purchased through the Books app. This is pretty cool as you can play your favorite audiobooks directly from your wearable to Bluetooth headphones like AirPods or Beats Powerbeats Pro. That means you will be able to listen to them on the run even when you don’t have an iPhone nearby.

There is also an audio API tool that’s designed for developers to stream music and podcasts using an Apple Watch.

watchOS App Store

watchOS 6 includes a dedicated App Store for Apple Watch, which enables the ability to download, purchase, and install apps without the need to use an iPhone. The App Store will work independently and include thousands of watchOS apps. Plus, users will be able to view app pages and search for apps using Siri voice command.

The App Store includes a beautiful scrolling view and categorizes apps into specific categories, including Excercise, Weather, Running, and more. The Apple Watch App Store is a nice addition to watchOS that paves the way for future versions of watchOS where we can have a standalone OS without the need for an iPhone.

Activity Trends

In watchOS 6, Apple added a Trends tab in the Activity app, which gives you a detailed picture of your health and fitness. Indeed, you can see everything here, like the amount of distance you are traveling each day, the stairs you climb, and overall cardio fitness. The best part is that your Watch will send out an alert if one of your trends is going down and show you the tips to get back on track.

This is a welcome feature as it helps you keep track with your activity scores and progress. If you are an athlete, then this is an awesome feature.

New watch faces and Cycle Tracking

Custom watch faces are what set the Apple Watch apart from their rivals out there. With watchOS6, Apple introduced a lot of new watch faces, allowing you to spice up your watch. To be honest, my favorite watch face in watchOS 6 is Modular Compact. Indeed, I can easily switch between an analog and digital clock design.

Plus, there are three slots for complications. For instance, I can add my fitness details or weather info to my watch face and access them with a simple tap. There are also a bunch of different watch faces, including California, Solar Dial, Numerals, and Gradient.

As for Cycle Tracking, this is a new addition to watchOS 6 that helps women track their menstrual cycle. I cannot test this feature, but I think this is a nice feature as it helps someone keep track of their overall health condition.

Wrapping Up

The first beta of watchOS 6 gives us a glimpse of what’s coming to watchOS 6. Apple still has a lot of work to improve watchOS 6 ahead of its final release this fall. If you are not a developer, I recommend you stay away from this beta as it is unstable. The public beta, which is set for July release, is a wise move as it acts as a refined version of the developer beta.

What do you think of watchOS 6? Let us know in the comments below.

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