Apple Watch Update Gets Snow Season Update

Image: Apple

If you're an Apple Watch owner and like to hit the ski slopes in the winter, then you'll like watchOS 4.2. The upcoming update delivers support for snowsport workouts and makes the new features available to developers.

When watchOS 4.2 was released last December, Apple quietly added support for skiing and snowboarding workouts. But there was a lag in the release of APIs that allow third-party developers to create their own apps. Now that devs can access the new features, fitness apps are getting updates with snowsport apps.

Apps can now track

  • Total vertical descent and horizontal distance
  • Number of runs
  • Average and maximum speeds
  • Total time spent
  • Calories burned

Data from snow sport workouts is added to the Activity Rings and details are also added to the Health app that calculates things like VO2 Max (a measure of how efficiently your body can harness oxygen).

Amongst the recently updated apps that can take advantage of these newly available features are App updates for snoww, Slopes, Squaw Alpine, Snocru and Ski Tracks.

Although Apple talks up the success of the Apple Watch, and some analysis suggests the Apple Watch already outsells the entire Swiss watch industry, it's been a slow burn - something Apple is unaccustomed to following the early successes of the iPhone and iPad. Even some of their "failures" like the last iteration of the Mac Pro had more positive buzz early on than the Apple Watch.

But the evolution of the software and refinement of the hardware has resulted in a very solid smartwatch - if you really feel like you need one.

I've been using an Apple Watch since the initial release (initially through review units provided by Apple before buying one) and it has improved significantly. The interface is nowhere near as frustrating and challenges like battery life have improved - I can now get through two full days including a longish run that uses the GPS heavily. With the waterproofing that was added in the Series 2 version, this makes me think the Apple Watch is a viable option for those out on the slopes.

And, assuming there's some cell coverage, the cellular version of the Apple Watch Series 3 will allow people to track your location in case you're late making it back to the chalet for a beverage when the day's skiing and snowboarding is done.

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