Apple retail employees invited to evaluate watchOS 3 wheelchair activity tracking

in Apple Watch
In efforts to improve watchOS 3 prior to release this fall, Apple has invited retail store employees to test a new activity tracking feature specifically designed to improve the Apple Watch experience for users in wheelchairs.

At Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this month, director of Fitness and Health Technologies Jay Blahnik said the company went to great lengths to integrate new wheelchair activity settings into watchOS 3. Specifically, the forthcoming OS includes two wheelchair workout apps, a setting to switch "Time to Stand" notifications to "Time to Roll," and Activity ring optimization.

Built on data gathered through studies and testing conducted in partnership with the Challenge Athletes Foundation and the Lakeshore Foundation, the new features are included in a beta that went out to developers this month. According to a memo sent out to Apple Store employees last week, Apple is interested in augmenting its dataset ahead of wide release, reports MacRumors.

Apple has in the past opened select beta programs to its retail workers, in particular early versions of iOS and OS X, though watchOS is normally reserved for developers due to downgrade restrictions.

Wheelchair support will debut this fall alongside a bevy of new watchOS features that will fundamentally change the way users interact with Apple Watch hardware. For example, Apple remapped the dedicated side button to invoke an app dock instead of Digital Touch contacts, while new features like Breathe and various workout enhancements promise a more complete health tracking experience.

Apple's watchOS 3 is expected to see release this fall alongside iOS 10 and macOS Sierra. For more on Apple's upcoming Apple Watch software update, follow AppleInsider's "Inside watchOS 3" series.


  • Reply 1 of 5
    why-why- Posts: 305member
    a setting to switch "Time to Stand" notifications to "Time to Roll,"
    lmao good thing they caught that
  • Reply 2 of 5
    kevin keekevin kee Posts: 1,291member
    Love it when Apple think of the minorities. Small detail like this make Apple products far apart from competitors.
  • Reply 3 of 5
    Once again Tim Cook is putting whiny lazy minorities before maximizing ROI.

    Steve would never let this happen.

    Ayn Rand Akbar!

    Just kidding.  

    The idea of making technology accessible to everyone gets lost when people worry about spec sheets and what bloggers say we need.

    kevin keelolliverlatifbp
  • Reply 4 of 5
    lowededwookielowededwookie Posts: 1,061member
    When I saw this I almost cried. Why other company would have even bothered to go to this effort? Anyone who even attempts to say Apple doesn't care about people (I'm talking about you Mike Daisey you pillock) can be shown this to prove them wrong. This isn't about the fact that Apple made these changes, it's about the fact that Apple is training their staff to show empathy towards disabled people. Helping them to help disabled ones. THIS is why I CHOOSE Apple products.
    latifbpkevin keebestkeptsecret
  • Reply 5 of 5
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,362member
    Apple consistency leads the way when it comes to accessibility, and frankly embarrasses very other tech company who couldn't give 2 ducks behind doing the bate minimum. 
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