As well as rolling out some enormous upgrades for cyclists, the WatchOS 10 update will also turn the Apple Watch Ultra into a capable Garmin watch alternative. Well, thanks to the new updates, the Ultra will most likely be able to rival the Garmin Fenix 7 Pro (apart from the battery life, of course). And not just the Ultra; any Apple Watch receiving the latest update later this year will benefit from the enhanced Hiking app and new mapping features.
These include a redesigned compass feature that automatically tracks two types of waypoints. The Ultra's Adventure Mode was already capable of dropping waypoints as you went along, but the new compass feature, from what we can tell, will support even the Apple Watch Series 8, based on the presentation we saw at WWDC 2023.
The first of the two new automatically-detected waypoints will remember the last point during your track where you had cellular signal/mobile data, allowing you to retrace your steps to safety, so to speak, so that you can make a call. The other type of waypoint the WatchOS 10's compass will track is what Apple call Dynamic 3D Elevation Dial, helping you visualise the ascents and descents on your route.
Apple Watch Maps are also getting a massive upgrade. Finally, Apple will roll out topographic maps onto all compatible Apple Watches. This will be a gradual rollout, with the first Apple Watch users expected to receive topographic maps being those lovely folks in the USA, followed by the rest of the world (TBC). As well as topo maps, your Apple Watch will also be able to display information about routes and trails, including the trail's name, difficulty level, gain and more.
The Cupertino-based company is pulling out all the stops this year, as evident from our WWDC 2023 live blog. From the new 15-inch Macbook Air to the poorly-named Apple Vision Pro VR headset, 2023 is shaping up to be the most exciting year for Apple fans. Better still, Apple Watch users will see tons of free updates rolled out on their wearables – now is the time to buy one of the best Apple Watches!
The developer beta of watchOS 10 is available to Apple Developer Program members starting today. A public beta will be available to watchOS users next month. WatchOS 10 will be available this fall as a free software update for Apple Watch Series 4 or later paired with iPhone Xs or later, running iOS 17.