Six New Apple Watch Features Coming Later This Year

With new Apple Watch Ultra and Series 8 models now in the hands of customers, Apple has brought a host of smart new features to many people's wrists. But there's more to come.

Apple Watch 6 New Features Feature 2
Apple has a handful of additional features in store for Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra owners before the year's end, and some of them are watchOS 9 functions, which means they will even work on older Apple Watch models, too. Here's what we can expect.

1. Track Detection

track detection
Apple will soon introduce a new Track running experience that automatically detects when you arrive at a running track, and combines Apple Maps data with GPS to provide a more accurate route map – including an option to choose your lane – and more accurate pace and distance metrics. Apple says Track Detection is coming later this year to the United States via a software update for Apple Watch Series 4 and later models.

2. Race Route

Apple watchOS 9 Race Route 220912 inline
A new Workout feature especially for runners, Race Route enables you to race against your best or last result on any frequently completed routes. The feature will also offer in-session pacing guidance to keep your progress competitive. Apple says Race Route is coming later this year to Apple Watch Series 4 and later.

3. International Roaming

international roaming carriers
For cellular Apple Watch models, Apple will soon be introducing support for international roaming. Apple says it has agreements with 30 carrier partners to support the feature, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile in the U.S., Three and O2 in the U.K., and international carriers including China Mobile, Movistar, and Softbank. Apple says international roaming will be available by the end of this year for Apple Watch Series 5 and later cellular models.

4. Family Setup – Home App Support

apple watch se 2 family setup
Coming to Family Setup is support for the Home app, which will allow a child to be invited as a member to control HomePod speakers and smart home accessories. As a result of the additional support, kids will also be able to use home keys and hotel keys in Apple Wallet.

The feature depends on Apple's new Home architecture, a separate update in the Home app, and will be available in a software update later this year. Note that sharing control of your home and receiving Home notifications require a home hub, and only Apple TV and ‌HomePod‌ are supported as home hubs in iOS 16.

5. Oceanic+ App (Apple Watch Ultra)

oceanic plus app
Developed by Apple in conjunction with third-party outfit Huish Outdoors, Oceanic+ is a built-in Dive computer specifically designed for Apple Watch Ultra models. As a free app on the App Store, Oceanic+ will include depth tracking (including depth alarms), GPS tracking, logbook (up to 12 dives), snorkeling, and more.

For more advanced diving options such as No Decompression Limit, users will be required to purchase an Oceanic+ subscription plan ($4.99/day, $9.99/month, or $79/year). Oceanic+ will be available on the ‌App Store‌ later this fall.

6. Low Power Mode (Apple Watch Ultra)

ultra battery life
Apple Watch Ultra has the best battery life of any Apple Watch, capable of reaching up to 36 hours during normal use. However, Apple has a new low-power setting in the works that can extend battery life to reach up to 60 hours on a single charge.

Apple says this projected battery life is based on the following usage while in Low Power Mode and with workout settings enabled for fewer heart rate and GPS readings: 15 hours of workout, over 600 time checks, 35 minutes of app use, 3 minutes of talk, and 15 hours of sleep tracking, over the course of 60 hours. Apple says the low-power setting with reduced frequency of GPS and heart rate readings will be available later this fall.

Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

mansplains Avatar
19 months ago

Still a fugly watch. You would think Apple would of came out with a much more better looking watch. Sad.
To each his own, I'm looking forward to picking mine up in 2hrs

Edit: .....and now that I have mine, I can say I love it!
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mansplains Avatar
19 months ago

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 pro is much nicer looking. Of course most people on this site despises Samsung products.


I personally don't despise samsung's designs. I think that round watches suffer in usability when compared to square shapes. It looks sleek to some extent and mimicks a traditional watch, but I'd rather have a traditional watch at that point since the interface isn't as good for me. It's all subjective, "much nicer looking" isn't a statement of fact. I don't think any of these disagreements warrant the amount of airtime they're getting, if you don't like it don't buy it. Be happy that there are people who've found something they like.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
_Spinn_ Avatar
19 months ago
Track Detection and Race Route sound great!
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kylew1212 Avatar
19 months ago
Man.. wish they would add sensor support for cycling.. such as power meters, speed/cadence, etc.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Canyda Avatar
19 months ago
Race Route would be good for cyclists too - I don't run, but I tend to bike the same trails route in the summer. I hope Apple expands that feature to more than running.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
azhava Avatar
19 months ago

Oceanic+ having a $5/day tier is kinda nutty. I can sorta see it in the case you go diving as a one-off. But even then it's not as bad as this cancerous and predatory practice on a game targeting kids ('https://apps.apple.com/us/app/miraculous-ladybug-cat-noir/id1300500620')who don't know any better:


It makes a lot of sense to me. If somebody only dives 2 or 3 times a year, they pay $10-$15 for the 2 or 3 daily subscriptions rather than $79 for those 2 or 3 days and the other 362 days they don't use it.

I buy an unlimited boat launch pass every year. It costs me $200, but I launch my boat 20-30+ times a year. For somebody who only launches their boat 2 or 3 days a year, it would make more sense for them to pay the $15 daily launch fees and spend $30-$45 instead of $200. Options are a good thing.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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