Apple iPhone 12 Pro with Health app. Is it about to get an upgrade for mental health considerations?
June 9 update below: This post was first published on June 6, 2021 when WWDC was just hours away.
The big announcements were scheduled to land at 10AM Pacific on Monday. But it looks like Apple had been a little too keen and revealed some things already.
June 9 update. More features are being revealed all the time, but here’s a cool one dealing with what we’re discussing here, iOS 15 and watchOS 8.
Apple introduced a super-cool feature to unlock your iPhone with Apple Watch back in iOS 14.5. Well, in the software to be released this Fall, as spotted by 9to5Mac, this is being expanded to enable personal requests to Siri, so long as the option is turned on.
It means that if you’re using an iPhone with Face ID and you’re wearing a mask, you can ask Siri to read your messages, for instance, which just wasn’t possible before. The purpose of unlocking with Apple Watch was just for unlocking the screen.
This is a significantly more convenient option, meaning that you can ask Siri to do more stuff, such as changing an iPhone setting, for instance, without having to unmask or enter your password.
Apple describes it like this: “Use the secure connection to your Apple Watch for Siri requests or to unlock your iPhone when an obstruction, like a mask, prevents Face ID from recognizing your Face. Your watch must be passcode protected, unlocked, and on your wrist close by.”
This is typical Apple: to introduce a feature for a very particular reason—in this case to make mask-wearing that little bit less inconvenient in a pandemic—and then expand the purpose and capabilities to add extra value.
June 8 update. Well, the dust has settled and much more is known about the mystery leaked app and Apple’s plans for the iPhone and Apple Watch in general.
Breathe, redesigned for watchOS 8
First of all, Gurman was not completely right (see below), though, as while he predicted the Breathe app has been updated, complete with a fetching new animation on the Watch, there was another element and an all-new app. The new feature is called Reflect which Apple describes as, “a new way for you to be more mindful. For example, a reflection could be ‘Think about something you love to do and why it brings you joy.’ ” This new feature, along with Breathe, sits in the new app called Mindfulness. Breathe is a real hidden treasure on Apple Watch, so I hope it’ll get a lot more exposure in its upgraded app.
As for Contacts on Apple Watch, that was duly announced, too. As Apple said: “watchOS 8 also brings the Contacts app to Apple Watch, providing a simple way for users to browse, add, and edit contacts, and share contacts directly from the app.”
There doesn’t yet seem to be evidence of a standalone Tips app, though Mindfulness promises to have tips on …….