‘Hey Siri’ is purely optional in watchOS 5

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The new version of the operating system, which introduces features like Walkie Talkie and Competitions within the Activity app, will only be available on Apple Watch Series 1 (the revamped version of the original) and up.

The Siri watch face got some new improvements too with sports scores, maps and heart rate data.

Walkie-Talkie mode on the Apple Watch, coming later this year, will let you send short voice messages directly from your Watch to another Watch user.

I'm still using a first gen. Watch myself, but am excited to upgrade to a new model this fall and take advantage of the brand new features like Activity Competitions and Walkie-Talkie in watchOS 5.

watchOS 5 makes fitness more competitive by allowing you to challenge friends who share their fitness with other Apple Watch wearers.

Instead of saying "Hey, Siri" every time you want to ask the virtual assistant a question, you'll soon be able to merely raise your watch to your face and speak your request. It will start logging workouts automatically in the event that the user forgets to start it, and can also intelligently recognise when workouts end.

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Another exciting addition in watchOS 5 is automatic workout detection, so you don't have to tell the Apple Watch what you're about to do. watchOS 5 can also figure out what workout you're doing after you've started, and retroactively credit you for any running, swimming, or hiking you've done in the minutes or hours prior.

Apple stopped selling the gold Apple Watch Edition a year after its 2015 debut. But experts these days generally say the overall outlook for smart watches has shrunk somewhat from the original promise: that smart watches were going to become ubiquitous. Now you can listen to an episode in the background right from where you left off on your iPhone. Speaking of apps, third-party apps are now coming to Siri watch faces as well. Walkie-Talkie watchOS 5 introduces Walkie-Talkie, an entirely new way to communicate with voice and just a tap of the wrist.

Back to messaging apps, and web content is now available in your messages on your wrist.

The example Apple showed on stage was a Yelp reservation that allowed you to change the date and time of the booking without having to open up the dedicated app.

WatchOS 5 doesn't include any groundbreaking features but there are lots of useful updates for Apple's wearable devices.

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