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WWDC 2019: Apple Watch Gets Female Menstrual-Cycle Tracking and These Other Health Features

Apple is enhancing the health and fitness features of its Apple Watch, including adding a new app for women to track their menstrual cycles.

The new app will give users “a simple, discrete way to visualize your cycle right on your wrist,” Dr. Sumbul Desai, Apple’s vice president of health, said during the keynote address on Monday at the company’s annual World Wide Developers Conference, known as WWDC. The app is similar to third-party menstrual tracking apps, like Clue and Maya, but Apple’s will be pre-installed on all watches and will also be available as part of the Health app on iPhones.

The sixth version of the software running on the Apple Watch will also include a decibel meter to measure loud sounds and warn users about potential hearing damage. The software will be available starting in the fall.

“Protecting your hearing is critical to living your everyday life and maintaining your independence as you age,” Desai said. In a nod to a recent controversy over Amazon saving some customer audio recordings through its Alexa devices, Desai said Apple “does not record or save any audio.”

Apple has taken a commanding lead in the market for smart, wearable devices thanks in part to its focus on health and fitness features. Apple (AAPL) can’t stand still, however, because rivals like Garmin (GRMN) and Fitbit (FIT) are also adding more features.

In a nod to some of the more analytical features of its rivals, Apple said it was improving the trend reporting section of the watch software. The watch will now track trends in a user’s fitness and exercise over the prior 90 days and one year. The device will then prompt users to exercise more if their trends turn down.

Apple Watch is also getting some other new features, like an app store of its own. Watch users will be able to search for new apps and install them directly instead of having to use their iPhones as well.

Apple also showed off several new watch faces, including one that will track the path of the sun and one with a large, digital numerical display.

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