During Apple’s keynote last week at WWDC 2020, lots of new features were revealed. Among all of the operating systems, Apple has new upgrades for its smartwatches. WatchOS 7 introduces sleep tracking and hand washing features, and we now have more details about them thanks to Apple’s VP of Technology, Kevin Lynch.
Sleep tracking feature
The first thing that we notice about Apple’s Watch sleep tracking feature is the basic system. On the other hand, few third-party apps provide a very comprehensive sleep analysis. Apple’s sleep tracking feature is mainly monitoring your duration of sleep, movement disturbances, and heart rate. Simplicity is not always bad. Apple decided to keep things simple based on research. It looks like all that extra data is not entirely useful.
“Movement of your arm is an input, but it’s not a complete picture of what’s going on inside your brain,” said Lynch, as an example.
“You can’t really coach yourself to have more or less REM stages,” he added. “We felt like that wasn’t the best way Apple could add value here on sleep. We focused on the transition to the bed, which we think is way more actionable, and will result in people getting a better night’s sleep, which then has secondary effects of perhaps your REM stages sorting themselves.”
Based on the research, Apple concluded that the duration of sleep is the most critical metric.
“In any of these adventures we go on when building things here we ask, what will make the most difference for people that, from a mainstream perspective, will be easy, helpful and empowering,” said Lynch.
The Sleep app offers positive feedback only. This is the way Apple developed almost all of the health features on the Apple Watch. Therefore, if you meet your sleep goal, you will get positive feedback. However, if you don’t, you won’t receive any notification.
According to Lynch, “there could be anxiety that people have about going to sleep, and that anxiety itself can actually cause more problems in terms of going to sleep. Many people are already well aware that they haven’t been getting enough sleep, and so we’re not adding to that, but we are positively acknowledging when you have achieved your goals.”
Hand washing feature
This feature took Apple developers “years of work,” according to Lynch. Ensuring the functionality of this app was a hard-working process. The way the hand washing feature works is by providing a countdown with haptic feedback. It encourages users to wash their hands for a CDC-recommended 20 seconds. If you enable this feature, your Apple Watch will detect the sound of hand washing by default.
This article is inspired by publications like The Independent, CNET, and TechCrunch.