Apple Watch will add some useable business features through watchOS 5, as announced today at WWDC 2018, and many are the result of Apple working directly with third-party app developers.

Third-party app developers that were finally given access to the NFC chip with iOS 11 that debuted in September 2017. Apple began testing extended uses of the chip when it began allowing data sync with gym equipment in iOS 11 and now it will come closer to fruition with some of the features added through watchOS 5.

In the new OS, which will be available later this year, when you’re wearing an Apple Watch and receive a flight notification, you’ll be able to go ahead and check flight details from the airline app.

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Other features include a Siri watch face with interactive controls that allow the wearer to scan their watch to pay for a parking meter without ever opening the third-party app. Siri shortcuts will be the same as in the upcoming iOS 12, such as using machine learning to allow shortcuts to appear if you typically do those actions at that time.

You can raise your wrist to talk to Siri, without saying, “Hey, Siri” as previously required.

Yelp check-ins will be seamless, and reservations can be changed with a tap on the watch face.

It will also offer better health and fitness tracking, for fitness challenges with friends, and automatic workout tracking. It will work retroactively if you forget to track your workout until afterward. It will also send a notification when it senses your workout is finished.

Apple GymKit will sync with gym equipment, and custom algorithms will detect laps and swim strokes while you’re in the pool. There’s a better tracker for yoga, as well as training runs and races such as a custom pace alert and current steps per minute for runners.

WatchOS 5 will include improved message notifications, and web links will be clickable with content formatted for small screens. There is also a walkie-talkie feature that works with watch-to-watch communication over cellular or Wi-Fi.

Audiobooks, guided meditations and more will be sent automatically to the Apple Watch.

SEE: 5 Apple Watch apps to simplify your workday (TechRepublic)

A new addition is Student ID cards, which gives the user the ability to add a student ID card to the wallet on an iPhone or Apple Watch.

WebKit on Watch OS 5 will allow you to listen to music as well as through a new Apple Podcast app.

In addition, a new rainbow Pride band will be available for Apple Watch beginning on June 4, 2018.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • Apple watchOS 5 includes extended use of the NFC chip for uses outside of Apple Pay.
  • There will be a new Siri watch face with interactive controls for third-party apps.
  • GymKit will feature automatic detection of workouts and will allow for retroactive tracking.

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