Apple released the watchOS 10.2 update yesterday, adding a new feature that could make it way easier for people to access their health data. With watchOS 10.2 installed, Apple Watch owners can ask for information from within the Health app or, in some cases, write to that information as well. But only if they have an Apple Watch Series 9 or an Apple Watch Ultra 2.
The feature allows people to do things like ask their Apple Watch how many steps they have taken or provide information instead. That could include telling the Apple Watch that they have already taken their medication, but this all requires a new Apple Watch to work. Now, Apple has explained why that is, and it turns out that it’s all in the name of data privacy.
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Speaking with CNET, Deidre Caldbeck, Apple’s senior director of product marketing for Apple Watch and Health, explained that the new Apple Watches are the only ones capable of handling this kind of Siri request on-device, meaning that there is no cloud component. That in turn means that none of this private health information requires Siri to compute its response online, making the feature more private as a result.
That all makes sense, although it isn’t likely to appease those who wanted to be able to use the feature but now find themselves unable to – especially if they’re using a costly Apple Watch Ultra that launched just a year ago but still doesn’t have access to this new feature.
Siri’s newfound Health compatibility includes access to more than 20 different data types, with more reportedly on the way.