This story is part ofCNET’s collection of news, tips and advice on Apple’s most popular product.
The Apple Watch is an excellent smartwatch and fitness tracker, but I’d like to see more wellness tools, longer battery life, and more use of their U1 chip.
Why it matters
Apple is the leader in the wearables market, but competitors Fitbit and Oura are ahead in certain areas.
What will be next
Apple is expected to announce new Apple Watch models in the fall.
Thehas evolved into a comprehensive fitness tracker and communication device in the seven years since the launch of the first model. That said, there are plenty of improvements I’d like to see.
Whilethe wide selection of exercises, the intuitive software and the addictive Activity Rings have made it my favorite fitness tracker, I often find myself wanting more. Other gadget manufacturers such as and Fitbit are ahead of Apple in certain areas, especially when it comes to recovery from workouts. It’s time for Apple to catch up, and I hope so helping the company get there.
Apple usually releases new onesin the fall, and we expect to see the Series 8, the new Apple Watch SE, and more at your next . Apple is also likely to announce a release date , the new software is coming to Apple Watch Series 4 and later, during the same event. Here is what I would like to see.
Longer battery life
Battery life has long been the Achilles heel of the Apple Watch. While the Apple Watch usually lasts me about a day and a half,lasts several days on a single charge. The for example, it can typically operate for two to four days before requiring a charge, while it lasted up to six days, according to CNET reviews. (But remember that battery life will always vary depending on usage.)
I’d love to see multi-day Apple Watch battery life, even if it’s only three days. That would be enough for me to take my Apple Watch on a weekend trip without having to worry about plugging it in or packing a charger. This would make the Apple Watch a more viable sleep tracker. I don’t use my Apple Watch very often to track my sleep because I find exercise and activity tracking to be a more valuable use of their battery. But increasing the time between charges could change that.
To be fair, Apple got around this by improving the charging speed of the Apple Watch on the Series 6 and 7. And that’s helpful to an extent. If you wear your Apple Watch overnight, you can top it up during your morning routine and still have enough juice to get you through the day.
For most people, this is an adequate solution. But since I’m so obsessed with closing activity circles,it stays strapped to my wrist as long as I’m awake. I also rely on it to keep me on schedule when I’m getting ready to leave the house in the morning, so I’d rather have it perched on my wrist than its charger.
Apple may have another battery solution that could appear in the Apple Watch Series 8. The new watch could include a new low-power mode that would allow the Apple Watch to run some apps and features while saving battery, according to Bloomberg. The new feature appears to enable more functionality than the watch’s current power reserve mode, which only shows the time. The publication previously reported that this feature would arrive in WatchOS 9, but there was no mention of it at WWDC. According to Bloomberg, the Apple Watch Pro is said to have a longer battery life than the regular Series 8.
Training recovery function
My Apple Watch can tell me a lot of things, like how many active calories I’ve burned and long-term progress toward my fitness goals. But one thing can’t tell me if I need a rest day.
Since I’m usually very fixated on closing the Activity Rings, I sometimes squeeze in a workout when I probably need to take a break. There are also times when I know I can push myself harder, but I still opt for an easier workout. It would be great if the Apple Watch could help guide me in these decisions based on body signals, my recent activity and sleep.
already offer such metrics: . As the name suggests, the readiness score shows whether your body is rested enough to handle a tough workout or whether you should skip the gym and rest. Both Oura and Fitbit also offer advice and can adjust your fitness goals based on your score. For example, these apps can tell you to pay attention to how you feel and to rest if you get a low score. And if you get a good or average score, they can suggest a moderate exercise.
Apple Watch can nudge you to move if you haven’t progressed too far in closing your rings. It can also congratulate you when you’ve had a particularly active day. But it doesn’t have a specific metric that prioritizes recovery like Oura and Fitbit’s Readiness Score. Application of Mindfulness andreferral programs certainly help, but it would be nice to see recovery integrated into Apple Watch goals and metrics in a meaningful way.
It sounds trivial, but tips like this go a long way. On days when I feel tired, the low readiness score, along with the reminder to take it easy, provides further confirmation that I don’t have to commit to a full workout if I don’t feel up to it. Apple Watchdon’t go far enough because they are easy to ignore. The readiness score usually correlates more with how I feel based on my sleep and activity, so I find it more meaningful than a reminder to take a deep breath.
The Exercise app on Apple Watch is getting new metrics in WatchOS 9, such as heart rate zones and the ability to customize recovery intervals during exercise, which could make it easier to manage intensity during exercise. But the Apple Watch still won’t have an alternative to the fitness scores found in apps from other fitness device manufacturers.
Apple Watch already does a good job of motivating me to move. Now he just has to remind me to relax.
Apple Watch is getting a big upgrade to its sleep tracking capabilitiesthis fall. Apple is finally bringing the ability to track different stages of sleep to the Apple Watch, a long-requested feature that other fitness devices from Oura and Fitbit have offered for years. While this is a major improvement, it looks like the Apple Watch still won’t provide the level of sleep coaching found on other devices.
, , , and all offer a sleep score that rates the quality of your sleep to help you better understand all the metrics these devices collect overnight. Similar to the recovery feature mentioned earlier, these scores help me put my sleep into context and help motivate me to get more rest when I need it. Samsung and Fitbit also offer sleep coaching programs that track your sleep patterns over a period of time and provide more targeted advice.
Apple Watch can already record data on sleep duration, time spent in bed, sleep pattern trends and breathing rate. Adding sleep stages is a big step towards making the Apple Watch feel like an even more well-rounded wellness device, but I’d still like to see more.
Different activity goals for specific days of the week
Rarely is any given day exactly the same. Factors like how much I slept the night before, social plans, what I ate that day, and whether I commute to the office all affect how active I am. That’s why I wish I could adjust my Apple Watch goals for each day of the week.
You can change your movement, standing and exercise goalsby opening the Activity app and clicking the Change Goals button. But there are no options to tailor these goals to specific days of the week. I’d like to increase my exercise goal on days I know I’ll be going to the office because my commute involves a lot of walking.
Read more: Why Apple Should Launch a Subscription Plan for the iPhone
More uses for the U1 chip
Apple Watch Series 6 and 7 and also, 12 and 13 have the Apple U1 ultra-wideband chip. UWB is a short-range wireless protocol that enables precise location tracking. But don’t take it as an alternative to GPS. Rather, UWB is often used to help devices communicate with nearby gadgets in the same room. This makes Apple’s AirDrop sharing feature work faster because it can locate other nearby iPhones with greater accuracy.
UWB also improves the way iPhone and Apple Watch models work as digital car keys. Compatible cars can recognize your device when it’s nearby, meaning the car will unlock when you approach it instead of holding your phone or Apple Watch up to the key reader.
That’s a promising start, but I’d like to see even smarter use cases for the U1 chip. In theory, UWB could give our devices another layer of intelligence, essentially allowing nearby gadgets to respond to your presence. My colleague Stephen Shankland came up with some ideaswhen he wrote about technology last year.
Imagine if your TV could automatically switch to the correct Netflix profile when it detects your phone or watch is nearby. Or what if your smart speaker only provided calendar notifications relevant to the people in the room? Apple seems to be moving in that direction, which proves it, which can provide certain haptic effects when transmitting audio to a UWB-equipped iPhone. I hope to see even more features like this in the Apple Watch.
We’ll probably have to wait until the fall to find out what’s in store for the next Apple Watch. Based on Apple’s history, it seems likely that routine upgrades such as a new processor can be expected. But becauseSeries 6 rather than a generational upgrade, I hope to see more updates in the near future.