Apple teases features 'coming soon' to Apple Watch Ultra and Series 8

Track detection, race routes and more should land before the end of the year
Apple apple watch watchos 9 2
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Apple appears to have teased some upcoming features of the Apple Watch Ultra and Apple Watch Series 8 on each device's product page.

First spotted by 9to5Mac, the features include the likes of track support, full dive computer functionality and HomeKit integration from the wrist. 

Some of these were announced by Apple during the official reveal of the latest generation back in September, but, previously, there were no hints at when they would actually arrive.

It does appear that a change to the page overviews on Apple's site shows that they could be landing on wrists sooner rather than later, though.

Instead of no reference to the features, there's now a 'Coming Soon' banner next to certain sections, with some bits of description hinting at release before the end of 2022.

Let's run through what we know so far.

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Race route

As seen on the Series 8's product page (but not on the SE 2), a feature that appears to be called 'Race route' is coming to a future version of watchOS 9

Apple describes this as "coming later this year", saying that those whose workout routine includes outdoor running or cycling on the same route will better be able to compete with their best performance. 

“If it’s an Outdoor Run or Cycle workout you do often, you can choose to race against your last or best result and receive in-the-moment updates to help you get there," the page reads.

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Track detection

This one just appears on the Apple Watch Ultra page at present, and gives us a glimpse at how the Workout app will handle track workouts. It appears to automatically detect the user's presence at a running track and then asks for details regarding which lane, presumably for more precise tracking. 

"Workout detects when you arrive at a track, and uses both Apple Maps data and GPS to provide the most accurate pace, distance, and route map," Apple says.

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Oceanic+ support

We got plenty of details regarding the Ultra's ability to act as a dive computer during the initial presentation a couple of months ago, but, aside from using the Depth app to record water temperature and, well, depth, a full-fledged app has been absent. 

That full support is coming, though, with Oceanic's app also teased on the product page. 

"The Oceanic+ app on iPhone goes beyond calculating just depth and time by integrating local conditions like tides, water temperatures, and even community‑fed info like visibility and currents,” Apple says.

Users will also be able to use the smartwatch to plan dives, with safety warnings included. Depth tracking, GPS tracking, a logbook of up to 12 dives, snorkeling and more will be available in the free version of the app, too, though a subscription will be required for advanced features.

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HomeKit integration

A relatively small one, but it's also suggested in 9to5Mac's report - though we can't find mention of this on any Apple Watch product page ourselves - that a future update to Family Setup will bring HomeKit capabilities to Apple Watch devices set up for kids.

“Your children can be invited to the Home app as members and can control your HomePod speakers and smart home accessories like thermostats and lights,” says Apple.

The ability to let parents "add home keys, hotel keys, and more to Wallet" for kids through Family Setup will also arrive in a future update.

How we test

Conor Allison


Conor moved to Wareable Media Group in 2017, initially covering all the latest developments in smartwatches, fitness trackers, and VR. He made a name for himself writing about trying out translation earbuds on a first date and cycling with a wearable airbag, as well as covering the industry’s latest releases.

Following a stint as Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint, Conor returned to Wareable Media Group in 2022 as Editor-at-Large. Conor has become a wearables expert, and helps people get more from their wearable tech, via Wareable's considerable how-to-based guides. 

He has also contributed to British GQ, Wired, Metro, The Independent, and The Mirror. 

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