New features are always coming to watchOS 9 and Apple Watch Series 8, Ultra, and more

New features are always coming to watchOS 9 and Apple Watch Series 8, Ultra, and more

From the Apple Watch Ultra to watchOS 9, this fall has been full of smartwatch innovation. However, Apple is not quite done, as there is still a lot to do when it comes to new Apple Watch features.

Track detection

Listed as “coming soon” on the Apple Watch Ultra product page, trail detection is an upcoming feature that runners will appreciate.

Apple is including a preview of track detection and how it works with the Workout app in a future update. The feature automatically detects when you arrive at a race track and asks which lane you are using for the most accurate metrics.

“The workout detects when you arrive at a track and uses both Apple Maps data and GPS to provide the most accurate pace, distance, and route map,” Apple explains.

Race course

If your training routine includes running or cycling outdoors on the same route, an update “coming later this year” will help you compete with your best performance. Running Route is a new feature in the Workout app in an update to watchOS 9.

“If you often do outdoor running or cycling training, you can choose to run against your last or best result and receive instant updates to help you get there,” Apple explains.

International roaming

Labeled “coming soon” on the Apple Watch Series 8 product page, international roaming is a new cellular feature for the Series 8 and Ultra.

“With international roaming, make calls, send texts, stream music, and get emergency help in many places your travels take you,” says Apple.


An update to watchOS 9 and Family Setup will bring more HomeKit functionality to Apple Watches set up for kids.

“Your kids can be invited to the Home app as members and can control your HomePod speakers and smart home accessories like thermostats and lights,” Apple explains. A future update will also let parents “add house keys, hotel keys, and more to Wallet” for kids through Family Setup.


Apple Watch Ultra customers can already use Apple’s Depth app to log depth and measure water temperature, and a third-party dive app called Oceanic+ is yet to come. Rather than create its own dive app, Apple is relying on the experts at Oceanic to turn the Ultra into a dive computer. Apple Watch Ultra is designed for recreational diving up to 40 meters.

“The Oceanic+ iPhone app goes beyond simple depth and time calculations by integrating local conditions like tides, water temperatures and even community-provided information like visibility and currents”, promises Apple.

“Or just use your watch to quickly and easily plan your dive. All the safety warnings you’d expect from a dive computer are built into Oceanic+, from decompression limits to excessive ascent rates and safety stops.

Oceanic says “depth tracking (including depth alarms), GPS tracking, logbook (up to 12 dives), snorkeling and more” will be available for free.

A membership is required for “more advanced diving options such as no-decompression limit,” according to Oceanic. Prices range from $5/day to $130/year. Oceanic+ won’t launch with freediving support, but the company says it will arrive in a future update.

Featured Image: Apple Watch Ultra with Trail Loop using Siri Watch Face on Belkin BoostCharge Pro

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