New Apple Watch features expected to arrive later this year include refreshed watch faces, additional workout types, expanded sleep-tracking tools and a low-power mode, according to a new report.
Bloomberg's Mark Gurman (opens in new tab) tipped several watchOS 9 upgrades rumored to launch alongside the Apple Watch 8 in the fall. The most interesting rumor suggests the Apple Watch will get a new low power mode that lets the smartwatch "run some apps and features without using as much battery life."
The Apple Watch currently offers a Power Reserve function that lets you still check the time even when your smartwatch's battery is running on fumes. You're alerted when your battery level is at 10% and offered the option to enable Power Reserve. Power Reserve can also be turned on manually in the Apple Watch control center.
The new low power mode is believed to display more than just the time. It's unclear whether this would replace Power Reserve or act a separate battery mode.
Compared to some of the best smartwatches, the Apple Watch has limited battery options for extending the smartwatch's estimated 18-hour or "all day" stamina. You can turn off the Always On Display, disable Bluetooth temporarily, change haptic settings and pause push notifications if you're trying to make your Apple Watch last as long as possible.
While there's no reports about the Apple Watch 8 featuring improved battery life, a new low power mode would certainly be welcome. Especially if it works with all the best Apple Watch models, including the Apple Watch 7 and Apple Watch SE.
Since the Apple Watch 3 remains for sale, we'd expect its eligible for watchOS 9 features, though there are rumors Apple will finally stop sales of the 2017 smartwatch this year.
In addition to the new lower power mode Gurman said Apple might "refresh many of its built-in watch faces currently shipping with the device." Though its common new Apple Watch faces to arrive each year we haven't seen changes to familiar favorites.
More workout types could also come in watchOS 9, adding to the Tai Chi and Pilates workout types from watchOS 8. We're expecting to see 1-2 new types as part of the annual software update.
Finally, expanded sleep-tracking tools may be supported in watchOS 9 as part of Apple Health app upgrades. The Apple Watch sleep tracking system is still fairly basic, even if it added respiratory rate readings this year. It would be encouraging to see a breakdown of sleep cycles or have sleep data suggest recovery levels, but that's just our speculation.
Along with this slew of watchOS 9 rumors, Gurman's report included an update on Apple Watch blood glucose monitoring. Instead the Apple Watch 8 could get a skin-temperature reader used for tracking fertility.
We'll know more about watchOS 9 before the Apple Watch 8, if Apple sticks to routine. During WWDC 2022 on June 6 Apple will unveil watchOS 9 with iOS 16 and other product softwares.