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watchOS 9: When roaming and walk detection are coming

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Apple has not yet implemented a whole range of announced features for the Apple Watch. An overview and outlook.

 

This year, Apple is taking longer than usual to announce a number of features. For example, iPadOS 16 is not yet available and will only be available in October – although the iPad operating system has always been released in parallel with the major iOS updates. But even with the Apple Watch, users still have to wait a while for useful functions that Apple announced when Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra were presented in early September. An overview of what is (hopefully) coming this year.

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There has been a very annoying problem with the Apple Watch since the introduction of the first LTE model (Series 3) in 2017: Roaming has never been possible with the computer watch before. That means: If you use the watch outside of your home region, the radio connection simply fails. Apple has not been able to remedy this so far. “Later this year” is set to change: According to Apple, it has up to 30 mobile phone partners worldwide who will support roaming. These include Telekom, O2, Softbank, AT&T and many others. Luckily, you don’t need a brand new watch either: roaming is supported on the Series 5 and later.

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It remains to be seen whether more carrier partners will be supported with the roaming function. In Germany, various cheaper providers simply cannot be used with the Apple Watch, including the Telekom subsidiary Congstar. In principle, only Telekom, Vodafone and O2 are permitted, with some discounters it sometimes works, but much more often not at all. The family configuration introduced in 2021 is not helpful here either.

With a watchOS update expected later this year, Apple plans to continue delivering new sports features as well. In the future, the watch should automatically recognize running laps that the user uses regularly. You can then compete against yourself to improve your times. Furthermore, in the future, the watch will be able to automatically recognize when you run on a sports field and thereby improve the accuracy of the distance measurement. However, the sports field recognition is initially limited to the USA.

It is also planned to be able to use the watch’s family configuration for the home app as well. For example, you can give a child access to a HomePod speaker and their own playlist. In addition, it should be possible to pass on digital keys for the house and hotel. The much-announced one is still not available Dive App Oceanic+ for the Apple Watch Ultra. This should turn the extreme sports watch into a diving computer. Last but not least, the Ultra is also missing a new power-saving mode that promises up to 60 hours of operation – this too is to be added to the watch via an update.

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