- The annual WWDC event was also host to the company’s first AR/VR headset
- A wide array of health features are coming to Apple’s software later this year
- Mental health is also a key focus among the company’s new software additions
It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that this year’s WWDC keynote was the most anticipated ever, with the launch of the Apple Vision Pro headset being on top of the agenda. However, the company also unveiled a slew of new software features coming to operating systems like iOS 17, iPadOS 17, and watchOS 10 later this year.
A key focus for Apple during the weeklong event’s keynote address was the addition of new health-related functionality for the aforementioned operating systems. Mental health, in particular, is finally getting attention from Apple, with users being able to input their daily moods on a dedicated app. Here’s a rundown of all the health features announced by Apple at WWDC 2023:
Table of Contents
Health app coming to the iPad
While the Apple Health application has been around for a while on the iPhones, it’s finally coming to the iPads with iPadOS 17. Apple will also open up HealthKit to developers, enabling them to build new experiences tailored for the larger screens.
Mental health features for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch
Starting with iOS 17, iPadOS 17, and watchOS 10, users will be able to log their moods or emotions on a regular basis to get an idea if they’re vulnerable to depression or anxiety. This can be likened to the fitness and health trends that Apple already provides with the Health app, but specifically offering insights on your mental health.
Metrics like the amount of exercise you’re getting or hours you sleep will be factored in before offering insights to the user. One can even create a PDF of their mental health assessment to be shared with their doctor. Apple Watch users would be able to access these features from the Mindfulness app, whereas it will be available via the Health app on iPhones and iPads, Apple said.
Better eye health
This is meant to mitigate the risk of visual impairment among children. Apple Watch will automatically measure the time a child has spent in daylight by leveraging the ambient light sensor on board. Insights are then offered based on the data gathered, letting parents take the necessary steps for their child’s well-being. This feature will be available with watchOS 10 in a few months from now.
Meanwhile, iPhone and iPad users will receive new warnings when their eyes are closer to the screen than they should be. Apple says this uses the “same TrueDepth camera” that powers Face ID authentication. Warnings will supposedly appear when the screen is closer than 12 inches for a prolonged period. Apple calls this feature “Screen Distance,” and says it can also be helpful in avoiding eye strain and more serious conditions like myopia or nearsightedness.
Other health-centric updates
Apple is also updating Medications to remind people when they haven’t taken their medication. Expectedly, this reminder only works if the user already has a medication schedule in place and hasn’t manually recorded taking medicine.
Starting with iOS 17, Apple will roll out a Journal app that can let you “reflect and practice gratitude through writing about and remembering life’s moments.” Users will also get suggestions, such as photos, workouts, places, etc, to add to their journal.
Apple Fitness+, the company’s paid subscription plan that gives you access to hours of workout videos, meditation sessions, etc, now has Custom Plans, defined as “a new way to receive a custom workout or meditation schedule based on day, duration, workout type, and more.” There’s also the addition of Stacks to the service, letting you pick multiple workouts to run back to back without interruptions. Lastly, Audio Focus can cleverly adjust the volume levels of the virtual trainer or the music being played, depending on the user’s needs.
A few more months to go
While all these software announcements were made this Monday, we may have to wait until September to try all of these out. Nevertheless, beta versions are likely to provide more insight into what Apple has to offer with iOS 17, iPadOS 17, and watchOS 10 ahead of their arrival. Apple will bundle iOS 17 with the upcoming iPhone 15 series and make it available to older iOS devices shortly after.