Apple announces watchOS 5 with new fitness features, Walkie-Talkie app, and more

Apple’s Kevin Lynch is on stage at the WWDC 2018 keynote and he’s just announced watchOS 5, the next major operating system version for Apple Watch. The update brings about a wide range of new features and improvements, including Competitions, new Workout types, and a new app called Walkie-Talkie.


In watchOS 5, you can challenge your Apple Watch friends to a 7-day competition. You get notifications on your progress throughout the week, whether you are winning or losing, and you get awards at the end of the event. If you’re the competitive-type, this will give you a new way to enjoy the activity app.


Walkie-Talkie is a new app in watchOS 5 that gives you the connectivity of voice communication, with the brevity of messaging. As the name suggests, it works like a walkie-talkie. It’s a high quality, watch-to-watch connection that works over Wi-Fi or cellular, and you activate it by opening the app and tapping the large Talk button.

Enhanced Notifications

Notifications from third-party apps can now have interactive controls and be used without needing to open the app; for example, a Yelp reservation notification will have the option to modify the time or change the number of guests right from the notification.

Student ID Cards

With watchOS 5, Apple Watch replaces Student ID cards. With a raise of the wrist, students can gain access to places including the library, dorms and events, and pay for snacks, laundry and dinners around campus simply by adding their ID cards to Wallet on Apple Watch. The program launches with Duke, the University of Alabama and the University of Oklahoma this fall. Johns Hopkins University, Santa Clara University and Temple University will bring the capability by the end of the year.

New Running Features

watchOS 5 delivers high-performance features for running enthusiasts, including a new cadence (steps per minute) metric for indoor and outdoor runs and walks, as well as a new pace alarm for outdoor runs that alerts users when they are behind or ahead of their designated target pace. A brand new metric — rolling mile pace — is introduced as an additional option for runners to see their pace for the immediately preceding mile in addition to their average pace or current pace.

Other Features

  • Apple Podcasts app
  • WebKit support for viewing web content when you click a link
  • Customizable Control Center
  • Third-party app support for Siri watchface
  • New Pride watchface
  • Yoga and other new Workout types to keep track of calories burned, etc.
  • Retroactive workout starts, in case you forget to start a workout