Apple adding new features for athletes on watchOS and opening Fitness app to all iPhone users

Apple is doubling down on making the Apple Watch the best health-tracking wearable out there and expanding features for its most demanding users — as well as everyone else. The next version of its watchOS will include a number of new health-related features, including the tracking of new metrics, automatic multisport tracking, improved sleep tracking and more.

iOS 16 will also bring the Fitness app to all iPhone users, not just those with an Apple Watch, as has previously been the case. It’ll track walking info and other metrics to approximate your fitness level.

Sleep tracking now includes sleep-stage tracking, which will tell you how long you spend in each stages, including REM, core and deep sleep stages, and when you woke up. Apple is using machine learning models that take cues from heart-rate tracking, as well as blood oxygen readings and respiratory rate to determine which stage you’re in, and they say they validated the data against the “clinical gold standard of polysomnography.”

On watchOS, you’ll now be able to track three new running metrics to track efficiency, including vertical oscillation, stride length, ground contact time and heart-rate zones. These are all metrics that high-performance athletes use to really refine their performance. You can also take advantage of new views with the digital crow including a heart-rate zone view, and you can create custom workouts to track improvements in specific metrics.

There’s a new triathlete-focused ability that auto-switches between running, biking and swimming to track the course of an entire workout too.

Apple is adding medication tracking to watchOS and iOS, too, letting you search and enter common medications and get alerted when you’re supposed to take it.

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