A report from Mark Gurman outlines his expectations for the next Apple Watch. And Apple has released the major upgrade to iMovie that they promised at their Spring event.

watchOS 9

watchOS 8 was something of an underwhelming upgrade. But watchOS 9 is shaping up to be much more promising. The upgrade is said to focus on significant improvements to core functionality including battery life and health tracking. In a report from Mark Gurman, the update is said to include more granular sleep tracking, new workout options, medication management (ties in with the health app on iPhone) and an expanded low power mode.

Image – Qi Li, Unsplash

While sleep tracking was welcomed when it was introduced in watchOS 7, a common complaint has been that the data set is quite limited. It offers only basic insights such as ‘time in bed’. But watchOS 9 will expand on this though specifics are not available at present. And better battery life is an area that has long been a priority. As it currently stands, Apple offers a power reserve mode. This disables all functionality save for displaying the time. But the new lower mode will allow access to some (but not all) key apps. This would enable battery life to be extended out in a meaningful way while preserving access to core features.

Apple Watch Series 8

For series 8, Apple is planning to expand the array of sensors built into the Apple Watch. This will include a new skin temperature sensor. One proposed use of this sensor is to support women’s health and fertility planning. And it isn’t hard to imagine numerous other use cases such as stress management and perhaps even as an aid in seeking urgent care. It isn’t clear if the sensor will provide a precise reading or more of general reading such as ‘normal, high or low’.

Apple continues its work on a blood pressure monitoring sensor and non-invasive blood glucose tracking. Though these sensors are not expected to make an appearance in this year’s Apple Watch. What seems more likely is a 2024 debut according to Gurman. The new features of the Apple Watch Series 8 will likely be referenced in watchOS 9. That should give us more clues and hints as to what Apple is planning for September.

iMovie 3 for iOS and iPadOS

Apple has announced the release of iMovie 3.0 for iOS and iPadOS which brings major new features and upgrades. The two most notables features include Storyboards and Magic Movie.

Storyboards allows users to pick from a wide range of pre-made templates based on popular cinematography styles. For example cooking tutorials, gaming, vlogging, makeovers and many more. Apple states “Each storyboard has a shot list that organizes clips to tell a specific narrative. Each placeholder also includes an illustrative thumbnail, along with a tip that asks a question or makes a suggestion for how to shoot that clip to make it more interesting.”

The new storyboard picker in iMovie 3.0.

The second major new feature, Magic Movie, makes it easy to do something with all those photos and albums in your camera roll. You simply select a group of photos and videos or an album and let iMovie do the rest. It analyses the media on-device and picks out the best moments, framing and shots and creates custom videos. These are ideal for sharing with family and you can add effects, and music and choose to edit the length of the video. You can also add or remove clips/shots manually.

“iMovie has empowered millions of people around the world to create and share their stories through video,” said Bob Borchers, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “This latest version of iMovie, featuring Storyboards and Magic Movie, simplifies video creation even further, and we think it will continue to inspire the next wave of video creators to dive in and get started.”

Bob Borchers, Apple

The full list of new features can be found in Apple’s release notes below:

• Get started, learn, and be inspired by two brand-new types of video projects: Magic Movie and Storyboards
• Create a Magic Movie to instantly make and share custom videos with titles, transitions, and music in just a few taps
• Select an album of photos and videos, and Magic Movie will create a polished video using your media
• Start with a Storyboard project to improve your storytelling skills using a template that guides you through the video-making process
• Choose from 20 Storyboards for common video projects like Cooking, DIY, Q&A, Product Review, and Book Report
• Customize and organize your storyboard video by adding, reordering, and grouping shots within the flexible shot list
• Learn different types of video framing and storytelling techniques with the shot tips provided in each type of storyboard
• Record video or take photos right into each Storyboard placeholder clip, or add media from your Photos library
• Enhance your Magic Movie or Storyboard video with 20 dynamic styles that include title layouts, fonts, filters, color palettes, and music
• Go further by editing clips with tools like trim, split, and clip speed
• Apply title treatments, record voiceover narration, or adjust the depth-of-field effect in Cinematic mode video clips* to further customize your videos
• Import Magic Movie and Storyboard projects into a timeline in iMovie for Mac or Final Cut Pro** to take your project further
• Save Magic Movie and Storyboard videos to your Photos library, send to friends and family via Messages or Mail, or share with your followers on social media
* Requires iPhone 13, iPad mini (6th generation), iPad Pro 11-inch or iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation or later)
** Requires iMovie for Mac version 10.3.2 or Final Cut Pro version 10.6.2


Featured Image – Mukul Joshi via Unsplash

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