watchOS 10 – a surprisingly good mixture with new PRO features

watchOS 10: A surprisingly sporty update for Apple Watch

More: Apple Watch Ultra 2 Review

As of NOW, watchOS 10 is available to update for free on your Watch 4 (with iPhone XS/XR) or later. It’s a fairly significant software update and adds several nice, new features plus also some decent sporty features. Contrast that with the new Watch 9 which offers virtually nothing of note over and above last year’s model.

Buy: Apple Watch Ultra 2 from $799, Eu899, GBP799

Buy: Apple Watch Series 9 from $499, Eu449, GBP399

The headline sporty news for more committed athletes with watchOS 10 is that the Apple Watch now natively connects to cycling power meters and also allows developers to use the Workout app to pull workouts directly from Training Peaks. If you add to that some clever new hiking features then there is a reasonable amount to be excited about here for sports fans over and above the more techy improvements to how the Watch now works. Let’s dive in

All Features Summary

Almost every onboard Apple app is updated, redesigned or simply freshened up for 2023. There are many updates in each of these key areas, scroll further down for some more detailed insights into the sporty updates

  • Experience – the buttons work subtly differently and some screen areas can adapt contextually to your location and time of day
  • Watch Faces – If you love Snoopy you’ll be happy with a dynamic Snoopy Face and there are a couple of other new Faces too. For Watch Ultra owners a special new Modular face adds some data around the entire outside edge of the display
  • Messages – minor improvements
    Weather – hourly and daily views of a plethora of weather information presented with new interactions and visual effects
    Mindfulness reminders to log new contributing factors to various ‘states’
  • Medications tweaked to improve the performance of reminders and alerts
  • Compass includes more advanced automatic waypoints including for example last emergency location and the last cellular-connected location. Personal POI and waypoint elevation support. Elevation threshold alerts
    Maps – include information-rich Topo maps with trails, contour lines, elevation and POIs. Walking radius, offline maps and hiking trail info for recognised trails
  • Activity features have been expanded in several areas including sharing, weekly summaries, easier access and more detail on commonly viewed activity metrics
  • Fitness+ allows more flexible scheduling within custom plans both between days of the week and sequentiually on the same day
  • Workout – Bluetooth power meter support, cycling power display, FTP and personalised power zones, cycling activities can now be mirrored on your handlebars to an iPhone.


Cycling and Hiking Features

Apple Watch has always been a useful workout logger for cyclists, and watchOS 10 takes this experience to the next level. The update introduces advanced cycling features that provide cyclists with detailed metrics and insights. Users can track their cycling workouts, including distance, pace, cadence, power, and heart rate. The Apple Watch can also detect when the user starts or finishes a ride, ensuring accurate tracking of their cycling activities from the true start to the true end.

watchOS 10 – how to pair bike sensors – cadence, speed, power

Cleverly, Apple adds this enhanced feature to the iPhone and once the workout starts on the Watch, it simultaneously starts on the iPhone too – handy, as many people prefer to use larger screens when cycling.

The more serious cyclists amongst you will be excited by the ability of the Watch to natively pair Bluetooth-enabled cycling accessories – power meters, speed sensors, and cadence/RPM sensors. The additional charts and screens we now see from Apple have very much the same look and feel as those released in 2022 for running. This time around, cyclists can get cadence charts for the ride or instant feedback on power zones. Naturally, you’ll need to buy an external sensor for all this to work and Apple has invested in resources to improve the power meter calibration, seemingly also to connect to all the bike power meters that exist

Highlight: Apple will automatically calculate and update your cycling FTP

For hiking and adventure enthusiasts, watchOS 10 offers new features to enhance their outdoor adventures. The updated hiking app provides real-time updates for elevation, gain, and descent, some of which were already available. The app also shows a visual representation of the user’s elevation changes over time, giving them a comprehensive overview of their hike.

The Compass in watchOS 10 automatically generates two new waypoints: A Last Cellular Connection Waypoint and a Last Emergency Call Waypoint. These will help you find your way back into the connected world should you need help or just want to check your emails. That’s a pretty neat feature IMO.

Highlight: (US Only) Maps have contour lines, elevation shading and inbuilt points of interest such as nearby trails/trailheads and places to stay.

Training Peaks (Pull) Integration via API

Workouts can now be pulled from Training Peaks, FinalSurge or other workout providers and then those workouts can guide you through your exercise in the Apple Workout app.

Popular coaching platforms such as TrainingPeaks can use a new API to create a Custom Workout that can be imported directly into the Workout app. App developers using HealthKit for workouts will be able to provide validated calories for golf workouts, as the variation between using a golf cart or walking on the green is now identified. Developers can also access speed, cadence, and power metrics for cycling, plus mirror workouts from Apple Watch to iPhone.

Redesigned Apps

One of the standout features is the introduction of the Smart Stack widget. I already use these on my iPhone and they are great space savers as well as great ways to quickly view relevant snippets of info on widgets based on your context, simply by turning the Digital Crown. For instance, the Smart Stack might display the weather forecast in the morning or your boarding passes when you’re travelling.

Another feature is an extension to the existing Find My feature. Here you can automatically share your location with your family/friends when you get home. This feature is called Check In and I thought it was already possible albeit in a convoluted way (Find My).

via ANI

Take Out

watchOS 10 is a significant update that shows continued progress with the overall Apple Watch experience. With what seems to be a decent emphasis on sports features and redesigned features we should soon enjoy using them on a very slightly faster new Series of Watches including Watch 9 and Watch ULTRA 2.

Buy: Apple Watch Ultra 2 from $799, Eu899, GBP799

Buy: Apple Watch Series 9 from $499, Eu449, GBP399


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7 thoughts on “watchOS 10 – a surprisingly good mixture with new PRO features

  1. A few days ago I paired both Garmin sensors v2 (cadence and speed) with my AWU via bluetooth without any problems. However, there is still a bug with the cadence reading because at the end of a ride the final value is counted together with zero values. Yesterday I rode my bike with 7X and AWU on both wrists and the 7X showed 74 rpm – what is correct, but the AWU showed 35 rpm 🙂

    For the speed sensor there is no information in Apple Health after the ride at all.

    1. i’m not sure the zero cadence is a bug…user feature perhaps? couting zeros in averages is differently important to different people for speed, power and cadence. personally i agree with you for cadence and speed but would want zero power including (from memory wahoo allow all that)

    1. no sorry. it CAN be done tho I was on the beta but didn’t get the chance to delve deeper.

      i think it’s mostly though the FS app rather than any kind of native apple functionality in the workout app

  2. EXCEPT TrainingPeaks Integration is not enabled until “later this fall” and topo maps are only available in California until “later this year.” So features useful for running, trail running and hiking that were supposed to accompany Watch OS 10 did not. Rather disappointing.

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