The 7 biggest Apple Watch features coming in watchOS 5

Apple WWDC 2018

Automatic Siri detection is another feature new to watchOS 5.0, and means you no longer to bark "Hey, Siri" at your wrist, and can just raise your arm to activate the virtual helper instead.

For Activity Sharing competitions, users will be able to invite another Apple Watch wearer to compete in a seven-day activity competition with watchOS 5. There's a yoga tool that uses your heart rate, while the hiking activity will track your pace, heart rate and elevation gain. Apple isn't the first smartwatch or workout app maker to introduce social features like this, but they're a nice addition nonetheless. You'll get a rolling mile pace, custom pace alerts and cadence data in the form of steps taken per minute.

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I'm talking, of course, about the new "Walkie-Talkie" feature for the Apple Watch, which Apple showed off Monday at its World Wide Developer Conference. Walkie Talkie works over cellular and Wi-Fi.

watchOS 5 will be available as a free update this fall for Apple Watch Series 1 and later, and requires an iPhone 5s or later on iOS 12.

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Potential issues and comparisons to flip phones aside, what I like most about the feature is that it actually kind of makes sense for the Apple Watch.

Apple Watch first launched with the ability to sync music so that you can play it offline, but here we are years later, and the company is finally launching a Podcasts app. It's about time, Apple. That's a hurdle that kept the watch from being useful for listening to audio, and Apple just made it possible.

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Since launching in 2015, watchOS hasn't caught on as a major platform for developers, with big names like Instagram, Google Maps, Twitter, Amazon and eBay discontinuing their watch apps. Additionally, Student ID cards can be synchronized to the Apple Watch, starting in the fall at a handful of universities. All other Apple Watch variants and series including Series 1, 2, and 3 continue to be supported by the latest release of the OS. And, even if you forget, you can quickly cover your watch face when you hear the beep and the message will be muted.

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