Sleep tracking, hand-washing capabilities coming to Apple Watch

Apple Inc. introduced a new set of features for its smartwatch on Monday, adding sleep tracking, an updated Fitness app and the ability to track a hand-washing session.

The main new function will let the Apple Watch monitor a wearer’s sleep patterns and quality of sleep, Apple said Monday at a virtual conference for software developers. The tool will include a “wind down” feature a user will access while preparing for bed. It will integrate with a new sleep section in the Health app on the iPhone.

The new hand-washing monitor tells users how long they should wash their hands. A redesigned Fitness app in the new software, called watchOS 7, can track dancing and core training workouts. The new software will come with some visual enhancements, too. The company will add new faces including one with a larger clock and a big complication, as well as the ability to share watch face designs with others. Apple didn’t say when the new software would be made available.

The Apple Watch is part of Apple’s accessories segment, which generated nearly US$25 billion for Apple last fiscal year, or about 10% of sales. Last quarter, the segment was Apple’s second-largest after the iPhone.