There’s a new version of watchOS, the operating system used by the Apple Watch, out today. WatchOS 7.2 includes support for Fitness+, Apple’s new subscription-based fitness service, as well as new cardio fitness notifications.
“Including support for Fitness+” might actually be putting the cart before the horse—Apple Fitness+ requires an Apple Watch to function. The service bundles trainer-led workout videos and regimens with Apple Music, for $9.99 per month, and you can’t sign up for it without an Apple Watch. The watch syncs with whatever device you’re watching the class on, overlaying metrics and progress measured by the watch on top of the video.
Estimation of lower levels of VO2 max is new to watchOS 7.2, and it uses an optical heart sensor, GPS, and accelerometer. Although only an estimate, Apple says this feature is significant because direct measurement requires clinical testing with specialized equipment, which isn’t readily available for most people. Apple goes on to reference an American Heart Association report which states that lower cardio fitness—as the new watchOS feature estimates through multiple sensor readings—is “associated with a high risk of cardiovascular disease, all-cause mortality, and mortality rates attributable to various cancers.”